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^V . A . T O ^V ]S^ S TC ISr D c<sr C (> ]VI T >^ IST Y 

4 6 WALKER ST \l E E T . 
] 8 o 9 . 


Enteivil. acconliiig to Act of Congress, in the yoar IS.M). by 


In the Clerk's Otflce of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

C. A. ALVor.ll. Pl;INTKR, NTW YORK. 


7 fi. 




(L be P 111 c ail b (To 111 b of ® a s b i ii ci t o u 



Tliis "Vi-liiiTie is Declicated 

T II E A U T ir R , 



The title of this volume is so fully indicative of its character 
that scarcely a word of '' foretalk/' as tlie Saxon expresses it, 
seems necessary, except a remark that the work, without pre- 
tension to the character of a biography, presents, by the 
consecutive arrangement of facts and illusrrations, quite a 
complete picture of the Private and Domestic Life of Wash- 
ington ; for that life, from his early childhood, was associated 
with Mount Vernon. 

The following words, explanatory of the origin of the book, 
appear ])ruper. 

Early in October, 1858, I visited Mount Vernon, and en- 
joyed the hospitalities of the mansion for two or three days. 
While there I sketched many things with wliich Washington 
was associated in life, and, on my return, wrote a narrative 
of the visit for Ilaqxrs Xew Mon^ldij 2£wja--'riic^ entitled 
Mount Vernon as it Is, illustrating it by engravings from 
those sketches. 

On the appearance of that narrative, last March, the pub- 
lishers of this volume conceived the plan of a more extended 


8 P R E F A C K . 

account of Mount Yernou and its Associations, and desired 
nie to prepare it. As the possession of that estate was to 
pass, this year, from the Washington family forever, it ap- 
peared to be an appropriate time for the preparation of siicli 
a memorial, and I nndertook it. The following pages are the 

To make the work more com})lete, I visited Arlington 
House and other })laces, where I knew there were objects that 
were once at Mount Vernon, and made sketches of them. 
Those, and the drawings made for llavper''s Magazine^ and a 
few that are in my Field-Booh of the Revolution., are given 
in this work. 

To those friends who kindly afforded me facilities for form- 
ing drawings, and especially to the family of C'olonel Lee, at 
Arlingron House, and Mr. John A. Washington, at Mount 
Yernon, I here acknowledge my obligations, and tender my 


B. J. L. 

POUGIIKEEPSIE. Autjvsl, 1859. 


V 1. Portrait uf Washington (steel). 

"^ 2. Rear View of Mount Vernon in 1786 (steel). 

V 3. Frontispiece — View of Mount Vernon. 

4. Wasliington's Eook-plaie i;! 

5. Cave Castle 15 

6. Washington Mortar 1 G 

7. Washington's Seal 17 

8. Wasliington's Seal-ring. ... 17 

9. Washington's Watch-seals 17 

10. Fac-simile of signatures of Jane and Mary Wasliington 18 

11. Dutch Tile — half the size of the original 20 

12. Residence of the Washington Family 21 

1 3. Washington's Birth-place 22 - 

14. Lawrence Washington 25 

1 5. Admiral Vernon , 26 

16. The Vernon Medal 28 

17. Washington's Telescope 36 

18. Pack-saddle 39 

19. Leathern Cainp-chest 39 

20. Washington's first Head-quarters. 41 

21. The Carey in 1850 42 

22. Mary Phillipse 45 

23. Morris's House 4G 

24. Daniel Parke Custis 50 

25. Mrs. Custis's Iron Chest. . . .... 50 

26. Mrs. Washington's Children 52 

27. Mrs. Washington at the time of her Marriage 53 

28. Chairs once at Mount Vernon'. 55 



29. Custis Anns 60 

30. Washington's Gold Pen with Silver Case 6G 

31. Fac-simile of Page-headings in Washington's Iiiary 6(j 

:V2. Fae-sirnile of ]<aUry in Washington's Diary .- . . 07 

33. Mount Vernon Landing G9 

34. Ground-plan and Elevation ot Pohick Ciiureii 74 

35. Mason L. Weeins 7(5 

36. Christ Church, Alexandria 77 

37. Pohick Church in 1859 78 

38. Pulpit in Pohick Church 79 

39. Charles Willson Peale 81 

40. Washington's Military Button 81 

41. Washington as a Virginia Colonel, at tiie age of fortj- 82 

42. Fac-simile of Peale's Receipt 83 

43. John Parke Custis 84 

44. Patrick Henry 89 

45. General Charles Lee 94 

46. General Horatio Gates 90 

47. Gold Medal awarded to Washington for the Deliverance of Boston 102 

48. Hessian Flag taken at Trenton 103 

49. British Flag taken at Yorktown 104 

50. Count de Rochambeau 107 

51. Marquis de Chastellux 109 

52. Eleanor Parke Custis 114 

53. Washington's Military Clothes 119 

54. The Sword and Staff 121 

55. Washington's Camp-chest 122 

56. Silver Canip-goblet 1 24 

57. Washington's travelling Writing-case 125 

58. Washington's Tents in their Portmanteaux 126 

59. Order of the Cincinnati 129 

60. Order presented by French Officers 130 

61. Cincinnati Society — Member's Certificate 131 

62. Western Front of Mount Vernon in 1858 137 

63. Section of shaded Carriage-way ... 140 

64. General plan of the Mansion and Grounds at Mount Vernon 141 

65. Garden-house 143 

66. Century-plant and Lemon-tree . 144 

67. View in the Flower-garden at Mount Vernon — the Sago Palm 145 

68. Ruins of the Conservatory at Mount Vernon 140 

69. Ice-house at Mount Vernon 147 

I L L U S T II A T I N S . 11 


70. Summer-house at Mount Vernon 148 

71. Lafayette.— Painted by C. W. Peule, in 1778 152 

72. Masonic Apron wrougiit by llie Marcliioness Lafayette 15H 

73. Houdou's Bust of Washington 16;? 

74. Iloudon's Statue of Washington 1 G4 

75. EHzabeth Parke Custis 168 

76. Gr. W. P. Custis when a child 1 69 

77. Itnliiin Chiiniicy-pieco 172 

78. Tablet on the lefi of Chimney-pieee 173 

79. Centre Tablet 173 

80. Tablet on tlie riglit of Chimney-piece 173 

81. Porcelain Vases 1 74 

82. Oolonel David Humphreys . . 181 

83. Engraving of Louis XVI 183 

84. Washington and Lafaj'ette 1S5 

85. Washington's Destiu}^ 186 

86. Charles Tliomson 193 

87. Travelling Boot-jack 195 

88. Ancient entrance to Mount Vernon in 1858 196 

89. Bible used at tlie Inauguration of Washington 202 

90. Washington's Lepine Watch, Seal and Key 207 

91. Washington's last Watch-seal 207 

92. Washington's Dress Sword 211 

93. Secretary and Circular Ciiair . . 215 

94. Destruction of the Bastile 221 

95. Key of the Bastile 223 

96. Washington's Spy-glass 224 

97. Washington's Pistol 226 

98. Bust of M. Necker 229 

99. Bust of Lafayette 230 

100. Washington's English Coach 232 

101. Emblazon ng on Washington's Coach 233 

102. Picture of a Panel on Washington's Coacii 234 

103. Cincinnati China 240 

104. Mrs. Washington's China 241 

105. Ciiina Butter-bowl and Dish 242 ' 

106. Wine-coolers and Coaster 251 

107. Specimens of Washington's Plate 252 . 

108. The Presidential Mansion 253 

109. Martha Washington. . 261 

1 10. Nelly Cu.stis's Harpsichord 268 



111. George Washington Lafa^yette 286 

112. G. W. P. Custis at the age of seventeen years 29-1 

113. Crayon Profile of Washington 29G 

114. Crayon Profile of Mrs. Washington 297 

115. Washington's Inkstand 300 

116. Mural Candelabra 301 

117. Ancient Lantern 301 

118. Sideboard, Tea-table and Punch-bowl 303 

119. Washington's Silver Candlestick 303 

120. Morning — a Landscape by Winstanley 305 

121. Evening — a Landscape by Winstanley 305 

122. Dr. James Craik 318 

123. Bed and Bedstead on which Washington died 323 

124. Room in which Washington died 324 

125. Silver Shield on Washington's Coffin 327 

126. Washington's Bier 329 

127. The Old Vault in 1858 330 

128. General lleury Lee 332 

129. McPherson's Blue 334 

130. Bushrod Washington 337 

131. Westtbrd 338 

132. Washington's Marble Coffin 342 

133. Lid of Washington's Coffin 342 

134. Washington's Tomb 343 

135. Washington's Liquor-chest 347 

136. Washington's Mirror .347 

137. Water-mark 348 

138. Washington's Address Card 348 

139. Pitcher Portrait 350 



N many an ancient 
t/lm volume in the lib- 
lsL\ ^'^^^ ^^ Mount Yer- 
''^(^K^ jt ^(^'^h while the man- 
sion remained in the 
possession of the 
Washington family, 
was the engraved 
book-plate of the il- 
lustrious j^roprietor, 
which displayed, as 
usual, the luxme and 
armorial hearings of 
the owner. The lan- 
guage of heraldry 
learnedly describes 
the family arms of 
Washington as ^'^ argent^ two bars gxdes in chief, three mullets 
of the second. Crest, a raven, with wings, indorsed 2^ro])ei\ 
issuing out of a ducal coronet, orP All this may be in- 
interpreted, a white or silver shield, with two red bars across 



it, aiul above tliem tJiroe spur rowels, the combination ap- 
pearing very much like tlie stripes and stars on our national 
ensign. The crest, a raven of natural color issuing out of a 
golden ducal coronet. Tlie three niullets or star-ligurcs indi- 
cated the hlial distinction of the third son. 

Back into the shadowy past six hundred years and more 
we may look, and find the name of Washington presented 
with "honorable mention" in several counties in England, on 
the records of the field, the church, and the state. They were 
generally first-class agriculturists, and eminently loyal men 
when their sovereigns were in trouble. In that trying time 
for England's monarch, a little more than two hundred years 
ago, when a republican army, under the authority of a revo- 
lutionary parliament, was hunting King Charles the First, Sir 
Henry Washington, a nephew of the Duke of Buckinghnn, is 
observed as governor of AVorcester, and its able defender 
during a siege of three months by the parliamentary troops 
under General Fairfax. And earlier than this, when Charles, 
as Prince Royal, was a suitor for the hand of the Infanta of 
Spain, we find a Washington attached to his person. The 
loyal James Howell, who sufi:ered long imprisonment in 
Fleet-street Jail because of his attachment to Charles, was in 
the train of the Prince while at Madrid ; and -^rom that city 
he wrote to his "noble friend. Sir John Nortli," in the sum- 
mer of 1623, saviuij: 

" Mr. Washingio7i^ the Prince his page y lately dead of a 

Calenture, and I was at his buriall under a Figtree behind my 

Lord of BristoVs house. A little before his death one Bed 

lard, an English Priest, went to tamper with him^ and Sii 



Edmund Yarncy meeting; him coming; down the stairs ont 
of Washington's chamber, tliey fell from words to blows : bnt 
they were parted. The bnsiness ^•.•as like to gather very ill 
blond, and com to a great hight, liad not Connt Gondamar 
quasht it, which I beleeve he conld ]iot have done, nnless the 
times liad bin favorable ; for snch is the reverence they bear 
to the Chnrch here, and so holy a conceit they have of all 
Ecclesiastics, that the greatest Don in Spain will tremble to 
ofier the meanest of them any outra2:e or affront." 


From this loyal family came emigrants to America nine 
y^'ars after King Charles lost his head. Tliese were two 


M u X T V ]•: 11 X :m 

brothers, true Cavaliers, ^vllo could not brook the rule of 
Cromwell, the self-styled Lord Protector of England. They 
left their beautiful residence of Cave Castle, north of the 
ILuuber, in Yorkshire, and sought more freedom of life in the 
virgin soil of the New AYorld. And in later years the repre- 
sentatives of the AV^ashingtons and Faii'faxes, who were neigh- 
bors and friends in Virginia, found themselves, in political 
positions, opposed to those of their ancestors ; that of the 
former l)eing the great leader of a republican army, and of 
the latter a most loyal adherent of the crown. 

The AVashingtons who tirst came to America seem not to 
have been possessed of much wealth. They brought with 
them no family plate as evidences of it ; for the heiress of the 
family had given her hand and fortune to an English baronet, 
the master of the fine estate of Studley Koyal, where now the 

eldest son of the late Earl of Ripon 
resides. It is believed that there is 
only one relic of the old AVashington 
family in this country, and that is 
a small bronze mortar, having the 
letters " C. AA^.'' (the initials of Cimon 
Wasuingtox) and the date, "1664," 
cast upon it. That mortar is in In- 
dependence Hall, in Philadelphia. 

The Northamptonshire family, from whom George AVash- 
ington was descended, wore the motto seen upon his book- 
plate — ExiTus actapkobat: '"The end justifies the means;" 
and it was borne and heeded by the line from generation to 
generation, until the most illustrious of them all had achieved 
the greatest ends by the most justifiable means. 




The annexed engraving is from an impression of General 
Yrasliington's seal, bearing his family arms, attached to the 
death-warrant of a soldier executed at 
Morristown, in 1780. Below it is an 
engraving of the face of his seal-ring, 
which also bears his arms and motto ; 
and also of two watch-seals which he 
wore together in early life. Upon each 
of the last two is engraved his mono- 
gram, one of them being a fac-simile of 
his written initials. One of these was lost by "Washington 
himself on the bloody field of Monongahela, where Braddoclc 
was defeated in 1755 ; and the other by his 
nephew, in Yirginia, more than twenty-five 
years ago. Both were fomid in the year 1854, 
and restored to the Washington family.* 

Of all the volumes in the Mount Yernon 
library which contain Washington's book- 
plate none appears more interesting than 
Sir Matthew ■ Hale's Contem,])lations^ Moral 
and Divine^ printed at the beginning of the 
last century. It is well worn by frequent use ; 
for it was from that volume that "Washington's 
mother drew many of those great maxims 
which she instilled into the mind of her 
son, and which had a powerful influence in 



* Tliis statement is made on the authority of Charles J. Bushnell, Esq., of New 
York, whose investigations in numismatic science and kindred subjects have been 
careful and extensive. The ensrravings of the seals are copied, by his permission, 
from a work of his now in preparation for the press. 


MOUNT y p: R X N 

moulding his moral character. U2:»on a fly-leaf of the 
volume are written, in hold characters, the names of the 
two wives of Augustine Washington, the father of our be- 
loved Friend. Tliese were Jane Butler and Mary Bali>. 
Their names were written by themselves, the first with ink 
that retains its original blackness, and the second with a 
color that has faded to the tint of warm sepia. 


c^ /7l(U/7y /iwAt'-i 



These signatures send the thoughts on busy retrospective 
errands to the pleasant mansions and bi'oad and fertile plant- 
ations of Virginia, M'hen the (31d Dominion was as loyal to the 
second King George of England as to the second King Charles 
in the days of Berkeley, almost a hundred years before ; or 
when royal governors held vice-regal courts at Williamsburg, 
the capital of the Commonwealth twenty years after repub- 
lican Bacon's torch had laid old Jamestown in ashes. Espe- 
cially do they send the thoughts to the beautiful spot near 
the Potomac, half Avay between Pope's and Bridge's Creek, in 
Westmoreland, wdiere stood a modest mansion, surrounded by 
the liolly and more stately trees of the forest, in which lived 
Mary, the mother of the great AVashington. 


In the possession of an old Virginian family may be seen a 
picture, in which is represented a rampant lion holding a 
globe in his paw, a helmet and shield, a vizor strong, and 
coat of mail and other emblems of strength and courage; and 
for a motto the words, from Ovid, Co'lumqtie iueri. On the 
back of the picture is written : 

" The coat of arms of Colonel William Ball, who came from 
England with his family about the year 1650, and settled at 
the mouth of Corotoman River, in Lancaster county, Vir- 
ginia, and died in 1669, leaving two sons, William and 
Joseph, and one daughter, Hannah, who married Daniel Fox. 
William left eight sons (and one daughter), five of whom 
have now (Anno Domini 1779) male issue. Joseph's male 
issue is extinct. General George Washington is his grandson, 
by his youngest daughter, Mary." Here we have the Amer- 
ican pedigree of the mother of Washington. 

In that modest mansion near the Potomac, of which we 
have just spoken, a great patriot was born of a mother eight- 
and-twenty years of age, when the popular William Gooch 
was royal governor of Virginia ; and in an old family Bible, 
in Hanover county, of quarto form, dilapidated by use and 
age, and covered with striped Virginia cloth, might have been 
seen, a few years ago, the following record, in the handwriting 
of the father of that Patriot : 

" George Washington, son to Augustine and Mary his wife, 
was born y* 11th day of February, 1731-2, about ten in the 
morning, and w^as baptized the 3d of April following; Mr. 
Beverly Whiting and Captain Christopher Brooks, godfathers, 
and Mrs. Mildred Gregory godmother." 

Almost three hundred years ago Pope Gregory the Thir- 


M U N T V E R N N 

teenth ordained that ten days sliould be added to the tally of 
all past time since the birth of Jesas, to make up some frac- 
tional deficiencies in the calendar ; and twenty years after the 
above record was made, the British government ordered the 
Gregorian calendar, or new style, as it was called, to be 
adopted. Tlie deficiency was then eleven days, and these 
were added. So we date the birth of Washington, and cele- 
brate its anniversary, on the twenty-second instead of the 
eleventh of February. 

Washington's birth-place was a " four-roomed house, with a 
chimney at each end," perfectly plain outside and in. The 

d • 


only approach to ornament was a Dutch-tiled chimney-piece 
in the best room, covered with rude pictures of Scriptural 
scenes ; but around the mansion there were thrift and abun- 
dance. George was the eldest of his mother's six children, 



and only his infant years were passed nnder the roof where he 
first saw the hght ; for fire destroyed the house, and his father 
removed to an estate in Stafford county, near Fredericksburg, 
and dwelt in an equally plain mansion, pleasantly seated near 
the north hank of the Rappahannock River. 



Of the birth-place of Washington nothing now remains but^ 
a chimney and a few scattered bricks and stones; and around 
it, where the smiles of highest culture were once seen, there is 
an aspect of desolation that makes the heart feel sad. Some 
decayed fig-trees and tangled shrubs and vines, with here and 
there a pine and cedar sapling, tell, with silent eloquence, of 
neglect and ruin, and that decay has laid its blighting fingers 


MOUNT \' I'Hl N N 

upon every work of man there. Tlie vault ot" the Washington 
family, ^'herein many were buried, is so neglected that some 
of the remains exposed to view have been carried away by 
plunderers. All around it are stunted trees, shrubs, and 
briers ; and near it may be seen fragments of slabs once set 
up in commemoration of some of that honored family. 


On the spot where "Washiiigton was born, the late George 
Washington Parke Custis, a grandson of Mrs. Washington, 
placed a piece of freestone in 1S15, with the simple inscrip- 
tion : 


ON THE IIth of February, 17;J2, 
George Washington was born 

"We gathered together," says Mr. Custis, in a published 
account, " the bricks of the ancient chimney that once formed 
the hearth around which Washington, in his infancy, had 
played, and constructed a rude kind of pedestal, on which we 


reverently placed the first stone, commending it to the re- 
spect and protection of the American people in general, and 
the citizens of Westmoreland in particular." But such re- 
spect and protection have been withheld, and that stone is 
now in fragments and overgrown with brambles. 

In this vicinity lived some of the Lees, always a distin- 
guished family in Virginia ; and one of the most intimate of 
Washington's friends, in his earliest childhood, was Kichard 
Henry Lee, afterward the eminent statesman and patriot. 
They were very nearly of the same age, Lee being one month 
the oldest. I have before me a copy of a letter written by 
each when they were nine years old, and which are supposed 
to be among the earliest, perhaps the very first, epistles 
penned by these illustrious men. They were sent to me a 
few years ago, by a son of Richard Henry Lee (who then 
possessed the originals), and are as follows : 


" Pa brought me two pretty books full of pictures he got 
them in Alexandria they have pictures of dogs and cats and 
tigers and elefants and ever so many pretty things cousin bids 
me send you one of them it has a picture of an elefant and a 
little Indian boy on his back like uncle jo's sam^, pa says if I 
learn my tasks good he will let uncle jo bring me to see you 
will you ask your ma to let you come to see me. 

" Richard henry Lee." 

GEORGE Washington's reply. 

" Dear Dickey I thank you very much for the pretty pic- 
ture book you gave me. Sam asked me to show him the 


pictures and I showed liim all the pictures in it ; and 1 read 

to him how the tame Elephant took care of the master's little 

boy, and put him on his back and would not let any body 

touch his master's little son. I can read three or four pages 

sometimes without missing a word. Ma says I may go to see 

you and stay all day witli you next w^eek if it be not rainy. 

She says I may ride my pony Hero if Uncle Ben will go with 

me and lead Hero. I have a little piece of poetry about the 

picture book you gave me, but I mustnt tell you who wrote 

the poetry.* 

"G. W.'s compliments to R. H. L., 
And likes his book full well, 
Henceforth will count him his friend, 
And hopes many happy days he may spend. 

"Your good friend, 

" George Washington. 

" I am going to get a whip top soon, and you may see it 
and whip it." 

Augustine "Washington died in the spring of 1743, when 
his son George was eleven years of age, and by his last will 
and testament bequeathed his estate of Hunting Creek, upon 
a bay and stream of that name, near Alexandria, to Lawrence 
Washington, a son by his first wife, Jane Butler. It was a 

* In a letter to me, accompanying the two juvenile epistles, Mr. Lee writes : 
"The letter of Richard Henry Lee was written by himself, and, uncorrected, was 
sent by him to his boy-friend, George Washington. The poetical effusion was, 1 
have heard, written by a Mr. Howard, a gentleman who used to visit at the house 
of Mr. Washington." 



noble domain of many hundred acres, stretching for miles 
along the Potomac, and bordering the estates of the Fairfaxes, 
Masons, and other distinguished families. 


Lawrence, who seems to have inherited the military spirit 
of his family, had lately been to the wars. Admiral Yernon, 
commander-in-chief of England's navy in thaWest Indies, had 
lately chastised the Spaniards for their depredations upon 
British commerce, by capturing Porto Bello, on the isthmus 
of Darien. Tlie Spaniards prepared to strike an avenging 
blow, and the Prench determined to help them. England 
and her colonics were aroused. Pour regiments, for service 
in the West Indies, were to be raised in the American col- 


M U X T V l<; II N X 

oiiics ; and from Massacliusutts to the Carolinas, the life and 
drum of the recruiting sergeant were heard. Lawrence, then 
a spirited young man of twenty-two, was among the thou- 
sands who caught tlie infection, and obtaining a captain's 


commission, lie embarked for the West Indies in 1741, with 
between tliree and four thousand men under General Went- 
worth. Tliat officer and Admiral Yernon commanded a joint 
expedition against Carthagena, in South America, which re- 


suited in disaster. According to the best authorities not less 
than twenty thousand British soldiers and seamen perished, 
chiefly from a fatal sickness that prevailed, especially among 
the troops who were commanded by General Wentworth. 
To that scourge Thompson, in his " Summer," thus touchingly 
alludes : 

" You, gallant Vernon, saw 
, The miserable scene ; you, pitying, saw 

To infant weakness sunk the warrior's arm ; 
Saw the deep-racking pang, the ghastly form. 
The lip pale-quivering, and the beamlcss eye 
No more with ardor bright; you heard the groans 
Of agonizing ships, from shore to shore ; 
Heard, nightly jjlung'd amid the sullen waves, 
The frequent corse — while on each other fixed. 
In sad presage, the blank assistants seemed. 
Silent, to ask, whom fate would next demand." 

In the midst of that terrible pestilence the system of Law- 
rence Washington received those seeds of fatal disease against 
whose growth it struggled manfully for ten years, and then 

Lawrence returned home in the autumn of 1742, the 
provincial army in which he had served having been dis- 
banded, and Admiral Yemon and General "Wentworth re- 
called to England. He had acquired the friendship and 
confidence of both those officers. For several years he kept 
up a correspondence with the former, and received from him 
a copy of a medal struck in commemoration of the capture of 
Porto Bello by Admiral Yernon. This was preserved at 
Mount Yernon until Washington's death, and is probably in 
possession of some member of the family. The only speci- 


M U X T V E R N N 

men of the medal I have ever seen is in my own possession, 
from whieh the en";ravin"j was made. 


Lawrence intended to go to Enghind, join the regnlar army, 
and seek preferment therein ; hut love changed his resolution 
and the current of his life, for 

"Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, 
Aud man below, and saints above." 

Beautiful Anne, the eldest daughter of the Honorable Wil- 
liam Fairfax, of Fairfax county, became the object of his 
warm attachment, and they were betrothed. Their nuptials 
were al^out to be celebrated in the spring of 17-1:3, when a 
sudden attack of gout in the stomach deprived Lawrence of 
his father. But the marriage took place in July. All 
thoughts of military life as a profession passed from the mind 
of Lawrence, and, taking 230sscssion of his LI un ting Creek 
estate, he erected a plain, substantial mansion upon the 
highest eminence along the Potomac front of his domain, and 
named the spot Mouxt Yeexon, in honor of the gallant 


In that mansion Lawrence resided until his death, and but 
little change was made in its appearance from the time when 
it came into the possession of his brother George by inheri- 
tance, until the close of the Old "War for Independence. It 
has been described as a house of the first class then occupied 
by thrifty Virginia planters ; two stories in height, with a 
porch in front, and a chimney built inside, at each end, con- 
trary to the prevailing style. It stood upon a most lovely 
spot, on the brow of a gentle slope which ended at a thickly- 
wooded precipitous river bank, its summit nearly one hundred 
feet above the water. Before it swept the Potomac with a 
magnificent curve, its broad bosom swarming with the grace- 
ful swan, the gull, the wild duck, and smaller water-fowl ; 
and beyond lay the green fields and shadowy forests of Mary- 

When Lawrence was fairly settled, with his bride, in this 
new and pleasant home, little George was a frequent and 
much-petted visitor at Mount Yernon. His half-brother 
loved him tenderly, and after their father's death he took a 
paternal interest in all his concerns. Tlie social influences to 
which he was subjected were of the highest order. Tlie Fair- 
faxes held the first rank in wealth and social position, both 
in England and in Virginia ; and the father-in-law of Law- 
rence, who occupied a beautiful country seat not far from 
Mount Yernon, called Belvoir, was a man of distinction, 
having served as an ofllcer of the British army in the East 
and West Indies, and ofiiciated as governor of New Provi- 
dence, one of the Bermudas. He now managed an immense 
landed estate belonging to his cousin, Lord Fairfax, a tall, 
gaunt, rawboned, near-sighted man, upon whom had fallen 


the snows of sixty winters, and who, made shy and eccentric 
by disappointed love in early life, was now in Virginia, and 
living at Belvoir, but secretly resolving to go over the Bine 
Mountains of the West, and make his home in the deep 
wilderness, away from the haunts of men. Tliither he went 
a few years later, and in the great valley of Virginia took up 
his abode in a lodge at a spot where he resolved to build a 
manor-house, in the midst of ten thousand acres of arable and 
grazing land, call it Greenway Court, and live, a solitary lord 
over a vast domain. But the mansion was never built, and in 
that lodge (which remained until a few years ago) the lord of 
the manor lived during all the stormy days of the French and 
Indian war, and as a stanch loyalist throughout the struggles 
of the Americans for independence, until the news came one 
day that his young friend Washington had captured Corn- 
wallis and all his army. Then, says tradition, he called to his 
servant and said, " Come, Joe, carry me to my bed, for I'm 
sure it's high time for me to die ! " 

" Then up rose Joe, all at the word, 

And took his master's arm, 
And to his bed he softly led 

The lord of Greenway farm. 
Then thrice he called on Britain's name, 

And thrice he wept full sore, 
Then sighed — '0 Lord, thy will be done!' 

And word spake never more." 

It was early in 1T82, at the age of ninety-two years, that 
Lord Fairfax died at Greenway Court, loved by many for his 
generosity and benevolence. 

Lawrence Washington was also distinguished for his wealth 


and intelligence. He was adjutant-general of his district, 
with the rank and pay of major, and at this time was a popu- 
lar member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. At Mount 
Vernon and at Belvoir the sprightly boy George, who was a 
favorite everywhere, became accustomed to the refinements 
and amenities of English social life, in its best phases, and this 
had a marked influence upon his future character. 

There were other influences there which made a deep im- 
pression upon the mind of the thoughtful boy. Sometimes 
the companions-in-arms of his brother, or officers from some 
naval vessel that came into the Potomac, would be guests at 
Mount Vernon, and perils by field and flood would be related. 
In these narratives Sir William Fairfax often joined, and 
related his CKperience in the far-off Indies, in marches, battles, 
sieges, and retreats. These fired the soul of young Wash- 
ington with longings for adventure, and accordingly, we find 
him, at the age of fourteen years, preparing to enter the 
Eno-lish navy as a midshipman, a warrant having been pro- 
cui^ed.' His brother and Mr. Fairfax encouraged his inclina- 
tion and his mother's reluctant consent was obtained. A 
vess'el-of-war was lying in the Potomac, and the lad's luggage 
was onboard, when his mother received the following letter 
from her brother, in England, dated Stratford-by-Bow, 19th 
May, 1747 : 

"I understand that you are advised and have some thoughts 
of putting your son George to sea. I think he had better be 
put apprentice to a tinker, for a common sailor betore the 
mast has by no means the common liberty of the subject ; f«r 
they will press him from a ship where he has fifty shillmgs a 


month and make him take twenty-three, and cut, and slash, 
and use him like a negro, or rather like a dog. And, as to 
any considerable preferment in the navy, it is not to be ex- 
pected, as there are always so many gaping for it here who 
have interest, and he has none. And if he should get to be 
master of a Virginia shij) (which it is very difficult to do), a 
planter that has three or four hundred acres of land and three 
or four slaves, if he be industrious, may live more comfort- 
ably, and leave his family in better bread, than such a master 
of a ship can. * * * •» jjg must not be too 
hasty to be rich, but go on gently and with patience, as things 
will naturally go. Tliis method, without aiming at being a 
fine gentleman before his time, will carry a man more com- 
fortably and surely through the world than going to sea, 
unless it be a great chance indeed, I pray God keep you and 

" Your loving brother, 

" Joseph Ball." 

This letter, without doubt, made the mother decide to act 
according to the desire of her heart, for already a friend had 
written to Lawrence, " I am afraid Mrs. Washington will not 
keep up to her first resolution. « * * * I ^^^ 
that one word against his going has more weight than ten for 
it." She could not expose her son to the hardships and perils 
of the British navy, so vividly portrayed by his uncle. Her 
consent was withdrawn, and George Washington, with dis- 
appointed ambition, returned to school, fell desperately in 
love with a "lowland^ beauty" (who reciprocated not his pas- 
sion, but became the \mother ^of General Henry Lee), indited 


sentimental verses, as young lovers are apt to do, sighed for a 
time in 1,1 eat unliappiness, and then went to live with his 
brother at Mount Vernon, in partial forgetfulness that he had 
once dreamed that 

" She was his life, 
The ocean to the river of his thouglits, 
"Which terminated all." 

Xow it was that young Washington's real intimacy with 
the Fairfax family commenced, and an attachment was formed 
between himself and George William Fairfax, his senior by 
six or seven years, who had just brought his bride and her 
sister to Belvoir. 

Young Washington's heart was tender and susceptible, and 
that bride's beautiful sister tried its constancy to his first love 
very sorely. To his young friend " Eobin," he wrote : " My 
residence is at present at his lordship's, where I might, was my 
heart disengaged, pass my time very pleasantly, as there is a 
very agreeable young lady lives in the same house (Colonel 
George Fairfax's wife's sister) ; but as that is only adding fuel 
to fire, it makes me the more uneasy, for by often and un- 
avoidably being in company with her, revives my former 
passion for your Lowland Beauty; whereas, was I to live 
more retired from young women, I might in some measure 
alleviate my sorrows, by burying that chaste and troublesome 
passion in the grave of^blivion." Thus wrote George Wash- 
ington before he was (^ixteeu>y ears of age. ^ ^^ I '\ ^'-"' 

He was soon taken from these temptations. He was a tall, 
finely-formed, athletic youth, and Lord Fairf\ix, who was a 
passionate fox-hunter, though old in years, invited liim one day 



to join him in tlie cliase. His lordship was so charmed with 
his jonng friend's boldness in the saddle and enthusiastic 
pursuit of the hounds and game, that he took him to his 
bosom as a companion ; and many a hard day's ride this 
young and old man had together after that, in the forests of 

But a more noble, because a more useful pursuit than the 
mere pleasures of the chase, now offered its attractions to the 
lad. Master Williams had taught him the mysteries of sur- 
veying, and the old Lord Fairfax, having observed his prac- 
tice of the art at Mount A^ernon, and his extreme care and 
accuracy, proposed to him to go to his broad possessions 
beyond the Blue Ridge, where lawless intruders were seated, 
and prepare his domain for settlement, by running boundary 
lines between large sections. Tlie lad gladly acceded to the 
proposition, and just a month from the time he was sixteen 
years of age, he set off upon the arduous and responsible 
enterprise. And to this day a little log-house, near Battle 
Town, in Clarke county, is pointed out to the traveller, wherein 
the young surveyor lodged ; and in the same county, not far 
from Winchester, stood, a few years ago, the lodge of Green- 
way Court. 

In the wilderness, around the south branch of the Potomac, 
the future Leader received those lessons in wood-craft — that 
personal knowledge of the country and its dusky inhabitants, 
and, above all, that spirit of self-reliance which was ever a 
most marked and important trait in his character — which 
fitted him for the great duties of a commander. 

So satisfactory were young Washington's services on that 
occasion, that he received, soon after his return, the appoint- 


ment of public surveyor, and upon the records of Culpepper 
county may be read, under date of July 20tli, 1T49 (O. S.), 
that " Geokge Washington, Gent., produced a commission from 
the President and Master of William and Mary College, ap- 
pointing him to be surveyor of this county, which was read, and 
thereupon he took the usual oaths to his Majesty's person and 
government, and took and subscribed the abjuration oath and 
test, and then took the oath of a surveyor, according to law." 
Part of each year he was beyond the Alleghanies, with no 
other instruments than compass and chain, acquiring strength 
of limb and purpose for future great achievements, and put- 
ting money in his purse at the rate of a doubloon and some- 
times six pistoles a day. These expeditions he always remem- 
bered as the greatest pleasures of his youth. 

After Washington's death, more than fifty years later, the 
simple compass and chain and other mathematical instru- 
ments of his earlier and later years, were distributed among 
his family connections, but only one of them, a small library 
instrument, was mentioned in his will, as follows : 

" To David Stuart I give my large shaving and dressing 
table, and my telescoped 

Dr. Stuart married the widow of John Parke Custis, the 
son of Mrs. Washington. The telescope is now in possession 
of his granddaughter, wife of the Reverend A. B. Atkinson, 
of Germantown, Pennsylvania. 

And now another and more extended field of action opened 
before the young resident at Mount Yernon. Beneath the 
roof of that pleasant mansion, toward the spring of 1751, he 
received from acting Governor Burwell the commission of 
adjutant of his military district, with the rank and pay of 



major. It was an acceptable honor. His military si)irit was 
kindling; for it had been fanned by old Major Muse, a 
fellow-soldier with Lawrence at Carthagena, who was a fre- 


quent and welcome guest at Mount Yernon, and bj the stout 
Dutchman, Van Braam (who afterward figured ingloriously 
in history), wlio had taught him the art of fencing. 

Young Washington had scarcely taken his iuitial steps in 
the performance of his new duties when he was drawn from 
pulilic life. Dark and ominous shadows were alternating 
with tlie sweet domestic sunlight ihat smiled so pleasantly 
around Mount Yernon. They were cast by the raven wing 
of the angel of disease. A hectic glow was upon the cheeks 


of Lawrence Washington, and liis physicians advised him to 
iro to the more menial climate of Barbadoes in search of 
health. George went with him. It was in bright September, 
1Y51, when they sailed, and in dark and stormy January he 
returned to tell the anxious wife of his brother that her lovea 
one must go to Bermuda in the spring ; for the hectic glow 
was growing brighter and his manly strength less. She was 
preparing to join him there, when word came that hope's 
promises had faded forever, and that her husband was coming 
home to die. He came when the bloom of May was upon the 
land, and before the close of July he was laid in the grave, at 
the early age of thirty-four years, leaving a wife and infant 

And now George Washington, a noble youth of twenty, 
his fine manly face a little scarred by the smallpox, tliat 
seized him while he was in Barbadoes, was at Mount Yernon 
as the faithful executor of the last will and testament of his 
brother. He was also prospective heir of that whole beau- 
tiful domain, Lawrence having left it to his daughter, with 
the proviso that in the event of her death that and other lands 
should become the property of George. Tliat contingency 
soon occurred. Little Jenny died, and George Washington 
became the owner of Mount Yernon. Already, by the will 
of his father, he was the proprietor of the paternal estate on 
the Rappahannock. Now he ranked among the wealthier of 
the planters of the Old Dominion. 

Tlie development of great and stirring events soon called 
Washington to the forests, not with compass and chain, and 
rield-book, but with sword and pistol, and diplomatic com- 
mission. Then his hero-life began. 

38 M U N T V E R N N 

For a thousand years a national feud had existed between 
Gauls and Britons — French and English ; and their colonists, 
seated a little way apart in the Kew World, cherished this 
sentiment of utter dislike. It was intensified by jealousy ; for 
they were competitors for a prize no less than that of supreme 
dominion in America. 

The English were planters — the French were traders; and 
while the stations of the latter were several hundred miles in 
the interior, away from the settlements of the former, on the 
seaboard, the equanimity of both parties was quite undis- 
turbed. But when, after the capture of Louisburg by the 
English, in 1745, the French adopted vigorous measures for 
opposing the extension of British power in America ; when 
they built strong vessels at the foot of Lake Ontario ; made 
treaties of friendship and alliance with the Delaware and 
Shawnee tribes of Indians ; strengthened their fortress at the 
mouth of the Niagara River, and commenced the erection of a 
cordon of fortifications, more than sixty in number, between 
Montreal and ]^ew Orleans, the English were aroused to 
immediate and efl:ective action, in defence of the territorial 
rights conceded to them in their ancient charters. By virtue 
of these, they claimed absolute dominion westward to the 
Pacific Ocean, south of the latitude of the north shore of Lake 
Erie; while the French claimed a title to all the territory 
watered by the Mississippi and its tributaries, because they 
had made the first explorations and settlements in that region. 
The claims of the real owner — the Indian- — were not consid- 
ered. It was a significant question, asked by a messenger 
sent by sachems to Mr. Gist, agent of the English Ohio Com 
pany — "Where is the Indian's land? The English claim it 



all on one side of the river, the French on the other. Where 
does the Indian's land lie ? " 

At lenirth EnMish traders wdio went to the Ohio resfion 
were driven away or imprisoned Lj the Freneh, and the latter 
commenced bnilding forts south of Lake Eric. Governor 
Dinwiddle, of Virginia, thought these proceedings rather in- 
solent, and he sent Major "Washington, then less than twenty- 
two years of age, to carry a letter of remonstrance to the 
French commander in that region. 

Seven persons besides Major Washington composed the 
expedition, and among them was Van Braam, Washington's 
Diitcli fencing-master, who could speak French fluently, and 
went as interpreter. They assembled at Williamsburg, and 
made every preparation for a journey of several hundred 
miles on horseback, through an unbroken wilderness. They 
were furnished by the governor with horses, pack-saddles, 
tent, arms, ammunition, a leathern camp-chest, provisions, 



and every other necessar}^, and on the 31st of October, 1753, 
departed for the head-waters of the Ohio. Tlicy made a most 


perilous journey, aud, after an absence of seven weeks, Major 
"Washington again stood in the presence of Governor Din- 
widdie, his mission fulfilled to the satisfaction of all. T^yo 
days afterward he returned, first to his niotlier's home, near 
Fredericksburg, then to Belvoir, and finally to Mount Yernon, 
where he spent a greater portion of the winter and spring of 


But Major Washington was not allowed to remain long in 
seclusion. In the late expedition he had exhibited qualities 
too great and useful to be suffered to repose. War with the 
French appeared inevitable. The latter continued their hos- 
tile preparations in the Ohio region, and a colonial military 
force, to be sent thither, was organized in the spring of 1754. 
Colonel Joshua Fry was appointed its commander, and Major 
Washington his lieutenant. 

For a while Mount Yernon appeared like a recruiting 
station. At length all preparations were completed, and on 
the 2d of April, Major Washington, with the advanced corps, 
marched from Alexandria toward the Ohio. After a toilsome 
journey of eighteen days, over the Blue Eidge, they reached 
the mouth of Wills' Creek (now Cumberland), where Wash- 
ington, for the first time, occupied a house for his head- 
quarters as a military commander. It was the dwelling of a 
pioneer. It has long since passed away, but the pencil has 
preserved its features, and now, at the distance of tim.e of 
more than a hundred years, we may look upon the portrait of 
Washington's fikst Head-Quaeteks. 

It is not our purpose to trace the events of AYashington's 
life in their consecutive order. We propose to give delinea- 
tions of only such as held intimate relations with his beautiful 




liome on the Potomac, wliich, for more than forty years, was 
to him the dearest spot on the earth. 

During the war between the Freiutli and English, that com- 
menced in earnest in 1755, when Braddock came to America 
as commander-in-chief of the British forces, nntil the close of 
the campaign of 1758, when the French and their dusky 
allies were driven from the forks of the Oliio, Washington 
was almost continually in the public service, and spent but 
little time at Mount Yernon. He had been promoted to 
Colonel in 1751, but, on account of new military arrange- 
ments by the blundering, wrong-headed, narrow-minded Gov- 
ernor Dinwiddle, ho had left the service with disgust, and 
retired to the quiet of pi-ivate life at Mount Vernon, with a 
determination to spend his life there in the pursuits of agricul- 
ture — pursuits which he always passionately loved, and 
longed for most earnestly when away from them. 

General Braddock, an Irish officer of forty years' experience 


M U N T y E R N N" 

ill the army, (tame to America with two regiments early in 
1758, and called a council of royal governors at Alexandria, 
to arrange a regular campaign against the French. Brad- 
dock soon heard, from every lip, encomiums of the character 
of Colonel Washington, and he invited him to Alexandria. 
Mount Yernon was only a little more than an hour's ride 
distant, and Washington, whose military ardor was again 
aroused by preparations for conflict, was swift to obey the 
summons. From Mount Yernon he had looked upon the 
ships-of-war and transports upon the bosom of the Potomac 

that bore Braddock and his 
troops, and the thought that only 
a few miles from his dwelling, 
preparations were in progress for 
a brilliant campaign, under the 
command of one of the most ex- 
perienced generals of the British 
army, stirred the very depths of 
his soul, and made him yearn to 
go again to the field. 

At the residence of Jonathan 
Carey", where Braddock made his 
head-cpiarters, the young provin- 
cial colonel and the 'veteran gen- 
eral first met, at the close of 
March. Carey's was then the 
finest house in Alexandria, sur- 
rounded by a noble lawn that 
was shaded by lofty forest trees, and its gardens extending 
down a gentle slope to the shore of the Potomac. Now it 



btands within the city, hemmed in by buildings and paved 
streets, and forms a part of Newton's Hoteh The convention 
of governors met in it in April, and there the ensuing cam- 
l^aign was planned. 

Braddock invited Washington to join his military family, as 
aid, with the rank he had lately borne. The mother of the 
young colonel hastened to Mount Vernon to persuade him not 
to accept it. She urged the claims of his and her own affairs 
upon his attention, as strong reasons for him not to enter the 
army again, and for two days she held his decision in abey- 
ance, for filial obedience was one of the strongest sentiments 
of Washington's nature. But it was not strong enough to 
restrain him on this occasion — or, rather, God's will must be 
obeyed — and he left Mount Vernon for Alexandria, after her 
departure for the Eappahannock, and was welcomed into 
Braddock's family with joy by Captains Orme and Morris. 

On the 9th of July following we behold him upon the 
bloody field of the Monongahela, shielded by God's provi- 
dence, untouched by ball or bayonet, arrow or javelin, while 
carnage was laying its scores of victims around him, and his 
commander was borne mortally wounded from the field — we 
behold him riding from point to point, bringing order out of 
confusion, and leading away from that aceldama the shattered 
battalions of the proud army of the morning to a place of 
safety and repose. Then he returned to Mount Vernon, weak 
fi'om recent sickness and exposure in the field. In his little 
library there he wrote to his brother, then a member of the 
House of Burgesses at Williamsburg, and thus summed up 
his military career : 

"I was employed to go a journey in the winter, when 1 


believe few or none would have undertaken it, and what did 
I get by it? My expenses borne! I was then appointed, 
with trifling pay, to conduct a handful of men to tiie Ohio. 
What did 1 get by that? Why, after putting myself to a 
considerable expense in equipping and providing necessaries 
for the campaign, I went out, was soundly beaten, and lost 
all ! Came in, and had my commission taken from me ; or, in 
other words, my command reduced, under pretence of an 
order from home. I then Avent out a volunteer with General 
Braddock, and lost all my horses, and many other things. 
But this being a voluntarj'^ act, I ought not to have mentioned 
it ; nor should I have done it, were it not to show that I have 
been on the losing order ever since I entered the service, 
which is now nearly two years." 

But what wonderful and necessary lessons for the future 
had Washington learned during that time ! 

Mount Yernon saw but little of its master during the next 
four years ; for the flame of war lighted up the land from 
Acadia, and along the St. Lawrence, away down to the beau- 
tiful Cherokee country, in Western Georgia and Carolina, and 
Washington was most of the time in camp, except from 
December, 1757, until March, 1758, when he was an invalid 
at home. 

Li February, 1756, we find him, accompanied by two aides, 
journeying to Boston, to confer with General Shirley con- 
cerning military rank in Virginia. Little did he then think 
that twenty years later he would again be there directing a 
siege against the New England capital, in command of rebels 
against the crown he was then serving ! 

We find him lingering in New York, on his return. The 


young soldier, apparently invincible to the mortal weapons 
of war, was sorely smitten there by the " sly archer" concealed 
in the bright eyes, blooming cheeks, and winning ways of 
Mary Phillipse, the heiress of a broad domain, stretching 
many a mile alons^ the Hudson. The vouno- soldier lins^ered 


in her presence as long as duty would permit, and he would 
fain have carried her with him to Virginia as a bride, but his 
natural diffidence kept the momentous question unspoken in 
his heart, and his fellow aide-de-camp in Braddock's family, 
Roger Mon-is, bore away the prize. Mary Phillipse did not 
l)ecome the mistress of Mount Vernon, but reigned, as beau- 
teous queen, in a more stately mansion on the bank of the 


Harlem River, where, twenty years later, Washington, as 
leader of a host of Americans, in arms against tlie king, held 
his head-qnarters, the master and mistress of the mansion 
being proscribed as " enemies to their country ! " 


Bnt, three years later, there was a presiding angel over the 
mansion on Mount Yernon. Meanwhile the tramp of steeds, 
the clangor of arms, and every sound betokening warlike j)rep- 
arations, were heard there, and the decisive campaign ot 1758 
was opened. 

Washington went to the camp as soon as his health would 
permit ; and toward Fort du Quesne, at the confluence of the 
forks of the Ohio, quite a large army made its way. Wasting 
delays and weary marches consumed the summer time ; and 
late in autumn, having traversed deep forests and rugged 
mountains, the invading army found rest, beyond the Alle- 
ghanies. Colonel Washington, with an advanced guard, took 
possession of all that was left of Fort du Quesne, where Pitts- 
burg now stands. It had been the prize for Avhich Braddock 
contended — the nest from Avhich came the vultures that 


preyed upon the frontier settlements. Over its smoking ruins 
the red cross of St. George was unfurled, where for four years 
had waved the lilies of France. Then French dominion 
ceased southward of Lake Erie ; and the young hero, whose 
wisdom, skill, and valor had contributed so largely toward the 
accomplishment of that result, returned to Mount Yemen sick 
and wearied, fully resolved to leave the army forever, and 
seek repose and happiness, usefulness and fair fame, in do- 
mestic and civil life. 

For these Washington was now prepared. During the 
previous spring, while on his way to Williamsburg, from his 
camp at Winchester, he had been taught to love one of the 
best of Yirginia's daughters; and in the autumn, while he 
was making his toilsome march toward Fort du Quesne, 
he had been elected a delegate to the Virginia House of 

The story of Washington's love and courtship is simj)le, yet 
full of the elements of romance. No words can better tell 
that story than those used for the purpose, in after years, by a 
grandson of the lady.* "It was in 1758," he. says, "that 
Washington, attired in military undress, and attended by a 
body servant, tall and militaire as his chief, was crossing 
William's Ferry over the Pamunkey Kiver, a branch of the 
York Eiver. On the boat touching the southern or New 
Kent side, the soldier's progress was arrested by one of those 
personages who give the beau ideal of the Virginia gentleman 
of the old regime — the very soul of kindliness and hospitality. 

* The late George Washington Tarke Custis, the adopted son of Washington. 
See Custis's Recollections of Washington. New York, 1859. 

48 M U X T V K R N N 

It was in vain the soldier urged his business at AYilliamsburg, 
important communications to the governor, etc. Mr. Cham- 
berlayne, on whose domain the onilitaire had just landed, 
would hear of no excuse. Colonel Washington's was a name 
and character so dear to all the Virginians that his passing by 
one of the old. castles of the Dominion without calling and 
partaking of the hospitalities of the host was entirely out of 
the question. 

"Tlie colonel, however, did not surrender at discretion, but 
stoutly maintained his ground, till Chamberlayne bringing up 
his reserve, in the intimation that he would introduce his 
Mend to a young and charming widow, then beneath his roof, 
the soldier capitulated, on condition that he should dine — 
only dine — and then, by pressing his charger and borrowing 
of the night, he would reach Williamsburg before his Excel- 
lency could shake off his morning skunbers. Orders were 
accordingly issued to Bishop, the Colonel's body -servant and 
faithful follower, who, together with the fine English charger, 
had been bequeathed by the dying Braddock to Major Wash- 
ington, on the famed and fatal field of the Monongahela. 
Bishop, bred in the school of European discipline, I'aised his 
hand to his cap, as much as to say, ' Your honor's orders shall 
be obeyed.' 

" Tlie colonel now proceeded to the mansion, and was intro- 
duced to various guests (for Nvhen was a Virginian domicile 
of the olden time without guests?) and, above all, to the 
charming widow. Tradition relates that they were mutually 
pleased on this their first interview. IS^or is it remarkable. 
They were of an age when impressions are strongest. Tlie 
lady was fair to behold, of fascinating manners, and splen- 


didly endowed with worldly benefits. The hero, fresh from 
his early fields, redolent of fame, and with a form on which 

" ' Every god did seem to set his seal, 
To give the vs^orld assurance of a man.' 

" The morning passed pleasantly away ; evening came, with 
Bishop, true to his orders and firm at his post, holding the 
favorite charger with one hand, while the other was waiting 
to offer the ready stirrup. 

" The sun sank in the horizon, and yet the colonel appeared 
not. And then the old soldier marvelled at his chief's delay. 
"Twas strange, 'twas passing strange — surely he was not 
wont to be a single moment behind his appointments, for he 
was the most punctual of all punctual men.' Meantime, the 
host enjoyed the scene of the veteran on duty at the gate, 
while the colonel was so agreeably employed in the parlor, 
and proclaiming that no guest ever left his house after sunset, 
his military visitor was, wdthout much difliculty, persuaded to 
order Bishop to put up the horses for the night. 

" The sun rode high in the heavens the ensuing day, when 
the enamored soldier pressed with his spur his charger's side, 
and speeded on his way to the seat of government, where, 
having dispatched his public business, he retraced his steps, 
and, at the "White House, a marriage engagement took place." 

That " charming widow" was Martha Custis, daughter of 
John Dandridge, whose husband, Daniel Parke Custis, had 
been dead between two and three years. He had left her 
with two 3'onng children and a very large fortune in lands 
and money, the legal evidence of which, in the form of deeds, 
mortgages, bonds, and certificates of deposit iu the Bank of 





England, M'ere contained in a stron<)^ iron box, which is care- 
fully preserved by her de- 
scendants, at their beau- 
tiful seat at Arlington, 
on the Potomac, opposite 
Washington City. 

"And much," continues 
the writer we have (pioted, 
" hath the biographer 
heard of that marriage of 

Washington, from the grayhaired domestics who waited at 

the board where love made the feast and the Virginia colonel 

was the guest. 



" ' And SO yon remember,' I said to old Cully, my grand- 
mother's servant, when in his hundredth year — ' and so you 
remember when Colonel Washington came a-courting yonr 
young mistress ? ' 

'"Ay, master, that I do,' said Cully. 'Great times, sir, 
great times — shall never see the like again.' 

" ' And Washington looked something like a man — a proper 
man, hey. Cully ? ' 

'"Never seed the like, sir — never the like of him, though 1 
have seen many in my day — so tall, so straight, and then he 
sat on a horse and rode with such an air ! Ah, sir, he was 
like no one else ! Many of the grandest gentlemen, in the 
gold lace, were at the wedding ; but none looked like the man 
himself.' " 

The marriage of Washington occurred on the 17th of 
January, (6th Old Style), 1Y59, at the "White House," the 
residence of his bride, in New Kent county, not far from 
Williamsburg. The officiating clergyman was the Keverend 
David Mossom, Mdio, for forty years was rector of the neio-h- 
boring parish of St. Peter's. Washington was then an attend- 
ant member of the House of Burgesses, and for three months, 
while official duties detained him at Williamsburg, 'he resided 
at the "White House." When the session had ended, he 
returned to Mount Vernon, taking with him the future mis- 
tress of the mansion, and her two children, John Parke and 
Martha Parke Ciistis. 

Then commenced that sweet domestic life at Mount Yernon, 
which always possessed a powerful charm for its illustrious 
owner. He early wrote to his friend, Kichard Washington, in 
London : 




" I am now, 1 T)elieve, fixed in this seat ^\-itli an agreeable 
partner for life, and I hope to find more happiness in retire- 
ment than I ever experienced in the wide and hnstling world." 
He was then seven-and-twentv years of age, and over six feet 
two inches in height, and admirably proportioned. His hair 
was a rich dark-brown ; his eyes grayish-bine and expressive of 
deep thought ; his complexion florid, and his features regular 
and rather heavy. 

Washington's wife was tliree months younger than himself. 
She was a small, plump, elegantly formed woman. Her eyes 
were dark and expressive of the most kindly good nature ; her 
complexion fair ; her features beautiful ; and her whole face 



beamed with intelligence. Her temper, tlioiig-li quick, was 
sweet and placable, and lier manners were extremely winning. 
She was full of life, loved the society of her friends, always 


dressed with a scrupulous regard to the requirements of the 
best fashions of the day, and was, in every respect, a brilliant 
member of the social circles which, before the revolution, 
composed the vice-regal court at the old Yirginia capital. 

Washington, at this time, possessed an ample fortune, in- 
dependent of that of his wife. His estate of Mount Yemon 
he described as most pleasantly situated in " a high, healthy 
country ; in a latitude between the extremes of heat and cold, 
on one of the finest rivers in the world — a river w^ell stocked 
with various kinds of fish at all seasons of the year, and in 


the spring with shad, herrings, Luss, carp, sturgeon, etc., in 
abundance. The borders of the estate," he continued, " are 
washed by more than ten miles of tide- water ; several valuable 
lisheries appertain to it ; the whole shore, in fact, is one entire 
fishery." Such was the delightful home to which Washington 
took his bride in the spring of 1759. 

At that time, almost every manufactured article for domestic 
use, was imported from England. It is amusing and interest- 
ing to observe the difference in the items of orders sent out to 
London from Mount Vernon within the space of two years. 
First, as a bachelor, Washington orders : 

" Five pieces of Irish Linnen. 

1 piece finest Cambric. 

2 pr. fine worked ruffles, at 20s. a pr. 
2 setts compleat slioe brushes. 

^ doz. pr. thread hose, at 5.s'. 

1 compleat Saddle an"d Bridle, and 1 sett Holster caps, and 
Housing of fine Blue Cloth with a small edging of Em- 
broidering round them. 

As much of the best superfine blue Cotton Velvet as will 
make a Coat, Waistcoat, and Breeches for a Tall Man, 
with a fine silk button to suit it, and all other neces- 
sary trimmings and linings, together witli garters for the 

G prs. of the very neatest shoes, viz : 2 pr. double channelled 
pumps ; two pr. turned ditto, and two pair stitched shoes, 
to be made by one Didsbury over Colonel Beiler's last, 
but to be a little wider over the instep. 

6 prs. gloves, 3 pairs of which to be proper for riding, and 



to have slit tops ; the whole larger than the middle 

A little later, in apparent expectation of a wife at some 
future day, the careful bachelor prepares the mansion for her 
reception. In September, 1757, he wrote to Richard Wash- 
ington, saying: 

" Be pleased, ov^er and above what I have wrote for in a 
letter of the 13th of April, to send me 1 doz. Strong Chairs, of 


about 15 shillings a piece, the bottoms to be exactly made by 
the enclosed dimensions, and of three different colors to suit the 
paper of three of the bed-chambers, also wrote for in my last. 
I must acquaint you, sir, with the reason of this request. 1 
have one dozen chairs that were made in the country ; neat, 

56 M U N T V E R N N 

but too weak for common sitting, I therefore propose to take 
the bottoms out of those and put tliem into these now ordered, 
while tlie bottoms wliich yqu send will do for the former, and 
furnish the chambers. For this reason the workmen must be 
very exact, neither making the bottoms larger nor smaller than 
the dimensions, otherwise the change can't be made. ]>e kind 
enough to give directions that these chairs, equally with the 
others and the tables, be carefally packed and stowed. With- 
out this caution, they are liable to infinite damage." 

In 1759 (the year of Washington's marriage), we have 
the order of a husband instead of that of a bachelor. The 
items are quite different, and were evidently dictated by the 
sweet little wife, leaning lovingly, perhaps, upon the broad 
shoulder of her noble lord. He directs his friend in London to 
send him : 

" 1 Salmon-colored Tabby [velvet] of the enclosed pattern, 
with Sattin flowers ; to be made in a sack and coat. 

1 Cap, Handkerchief, and Tucker [a piece of lace or linen 
pinned to the top of women's stays] and Ruffles, to be 
made of Brussells lace or Point, proper to be worn with 
the above negligee; to cost £20. 

1 piece Bag Holland, at 6s. a yard. 

2 fine flowered Lawn Aprons. 
2 double handkerchiefs. 

2 prs. women's white silk hose. 

6 pr. fine cotton do. 

4 pr Tliread do. four threaded. 

1 p. black and 1 p"r. white Sattin Shoes of the smallest fives. 

4 pr Callimanco do. 


1 fashionable Hat or Bonnet. 
6 p. Women's best Kid Gloves. 
6 pr. ditto mitts. 
^ doz. Knots and Breast Knots. 
1 doz. round Silk stay laces. 
1 black Mask. 

1 doz most fashionable Cambrick Pocket Handkerchiefs. 

2 pr. neat Small Scissors. 
1 lb Sewing Silk, shaded. 

Eeal Miniken pins and hair pins, and 4 pieces Binding 

Six lbs perfumed powder. 

3 lbs best Scotch Snuff. 

3 lbs best Violette Strasbourg Snuif. 

1 pr narrow white Sattin ribbon, pearl edge. 
A puckered petticoat of a fashionable color. 
A silver Tabby velvet petticoat. 

2 handsome breast flowers. 
Hair pins — sugar candy. 

2 pr. small silver Ear-rings for servants. 

8 lbs Starch. 

2 lbs Powdered Blue. 

2 oz. Coventry Thread, one of which to be very fine. 

1 case of Pickles to consist of Anchovies, Capers, Olives. 

Salad Oil, and one bottle Ind'an Mangoes. 
1 Large Cheshire Cheese. 

4 lbs Green Tea. 

10 ffross best Corks. 

25 lbs best jar Eaisins. 

25 lbs Almonds, in the Shell. 


1 hhd best Porter. 

10 loaves double and 10 single refined Sugar. 
12 lbs best mustard. 

2 doz. Jack's best playing cards. 

3 gallons of Rhenish in bottles. 
100 lbs white Biscuit. 

1^ doz. Bell glasses for Garden. 

1 more Window Curtain and Cornice. 

2 more Chair bottoms, such as were written for in a former 

Such were Washington's orders for his house at that time. 
Tliese items were followed by others pertaining to his farming 
operations and the servants upon his estate ; and also medi- 
cines for family use. 

And now, the mansion at Mount Vernon having an accom- 
plished mistress to preside over its hospitalities, and to receive 
and entertain some of the best society of Virginia, articles 
of taste were introduced to embellish it. In the handwriting 
of the master we find the duplicate of an order, as follows : 

" Directions fok the Busts. — One of Alexander the Great ; 
another of Julius Csesar ; another of Charles XXL of Sweden ; 
and a fourth of the King of Prussia. 

" N. B. These are not to exceed fifteen inches in height, nor 
ten in width. 

" 2 other Busts of Prince Eugene and the Duke of Marl- 
borough, somewhat smaller. 

" 2 Wild Beasts, not to exceed twelve inches in height, nor 
eighteen in length. 

" Sundry ornaments for Chinmey-piece." 


These items indicate the military taste of Washington at that 
time, and show his reverence for tlie great military leaders of 
whom history had made her enduring records. Many years 
later, when Washington had become as renowned as they, the 
Great Frederick sent him a portrait of himself, accompanied 
by the remarkable words — " From the Oldest General in En- 
rope to the Greatest General in the World !" 

Two years after his marriage, Washington sent the following 
order to Robert Carey, Esq., in London : 

" For Master Custis, 8 years old. 

" 1 handsome suit of Winter Cloathes. 

A suit of Summer ditto, very light. 

2 pieces Nankeens with trimmings. 

1 silver laced hat. 

6 pair fine Cotton Stockings. 

1 pr fine worsted ditto. 

4 pr. Strong Shoes. 

1 pr. neat Pumps. 

1 p. gloves. 

2 hair bags. 

1 piece ribbon for ditto. 

1 p, silver Shoe and Knee buckles. 

1 p. Sleeve buttons. 

A Small Bible neatly bound in Turkey, and John Parke 

Custis wrote in gilt letters on the inside of the cover. 
A neat Small Prayer Book bound as above, with John Parke 

Custis, as above. 
1 piece Irish linen, at Is. 

3 pr shoes for a boy 14 y'rs old. 




3 p. Coarse Stockings for do. 
2 pr Women's Strong Shoes, size 8. 
2 p'r Stockings for do. 
50 ells Osnaburgs. 

A suit of livery Cloatlies for the above 
boy of 14. A hat for do. 
"Note. — Let the livery be suited to the 
arms of the Custis family." 

" For Miss Custis, 6 years old. 

" A coat made of fashionable Silk. 

A fashionable Cap or Fillet with bib apron. 

Ruffles and Tucker — to be laced. 

4 fashionable dresses to be made of Long lawn. 

2 fine Cambric frocks. 

A Sattin Capuchin hat and neckatees. 

A Persian quilted coat. 

1 pr. pack thread Stays. 

4 p. Calamanco Shoes, 6 pr leather ditto and 

2 p'r Sattin do. with flat ties. 

6 pr fine Cotton Stockings, 4 pr White Wors'd Do. 

12 p'r Mitts. 6 p'r Gloves, white Kids. 

1 p'r Silver Shoe buckles. 

1 pr. neat sleeve buttons. 

6 handsome Egrets* different sorts. 

6 yds Ribbon Do. 

* An Egrctte or Aigrette was an omanient for the head then much used by people 
of fashion. They were sometimes made of tufts of feathers, diamonds, etc., but more 
frequently of ribbons. In the above invoice both kinds were ordered. 


1 pr. little Scissors, 

3 M (thousand) large pins. 3 M short whites. 

3 M Minikens. 

1 Fashionable dressed Doll to cost a guinea. 1 Do. at 6s. 

A box Gingerbread, Toys & Sugar Images and Comfits. 

A neat Small Bible, bound in Turkey, and Martha Farke 
Custis wrote on the inside in gilt letters. 

A Small Prayer Book, neat and in the same manner. 

12 yards coarse green Callimanco. 

The above things to be put into a Strong Trunk — separate 
from J. P. Custis's, whose will likewise be put into a 
Trunk, each having their names. 

1 very good Spinet [a small harj)sichord], to be made by 
Mr. Plinius, Harpsichord Maker, in South Audley Street, 
Grosvenor Square. 

" It is begged as a favor that Mr. Carey would bespeak this 
instrument as for himself or a friend, and not let it be known y* 
is intended for exportation. 

"Send a good assortment of spare strings to it. 

"Books according to the enclosed List — to be charged 
equally to both John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis — 
likewise one Ream of Writing paper." 

These specimens of orders which were sent out annually to 
England, are given as glimpses of the domestic arrangements 
at Mount Vernon, and the style in which the wealthier Vir- 
ginia families, of cultivated tastes, lived before the Eevolution. 
It is evident that Washington and his family indulged in all 
the fashionable luxuries (not extravagances) of the day, per- 
taining to the table and the wardrobe ; and in the absence of 
positive proof, these invoices would afford the strongest infer- 


eiitial evidences that tliey spent mucli of their earlier years in 
the enjoyment of social pleasures. 

Washington's Diaries bear still stronger, because positive 
testimony to the fact. During some months, two or three 
times a week he records the result of a day's sport thus: 
" Went a hunting with Jacky Custis, and catched a fox, after 
three hours chase. Found it in the creek :" or, " Mr. Bryan 
Fairfax, Mr. Grayson and Phil. Alexander came home by sun- 
rise. Hunted and catched a fox with these. Lord Fairfax, his 
brother, and Colonel Fairfax — all of whom with Mr. Fairfax 
and Mr. Wilson of England, dined here." Afterward, two 
days in succession : " Hunted again with the same com- 

Still more frequently he noted the arrivall and departure of 
guests. One day the Fairfaxes, or Masons, or Thurstons, or 
Lees would be there ; and the next day he and " Mrs. Wash- 
ington, Mr. and Miss Custis " would " dine at Belvoir." And 
so the round of visiting went on. Mount Vernon was seldom 
without a guest. The hunting day, which occurred so fre- 
quently, generally ended in a dinner there or at Belvoir, a 
little lower on the P6tomac — more frequently at the former ; 
and the hospitalities of the house were kept up in a style 
which none but a wealthy planter could afford. " Would any 
one believe," Washington says in his diary of 1768, "that with 
a Tinndred a/nd one cows, actually reported at a late enumera- 
tion of the cattle, I should still be obliged to buy butter for my 
family I " 

For Mrs. Washington and her lady visitors he kept a chariot 
and four horses, with black postillions in livery ; and these 
were frequently seen and admired upon the road between 


Mount Yernon and Alexandria, or the neighboring estates. 
He took great delight in horses. Tliose of his own stable were 
of the best blood, and their names, as well as those of his dogs, 
were registered in his household books. When abroad, he 
always appeared on horseback ; and as he was one of the most 
superb men and skilful horsemen in Virginia, he must have 
made an imposing appearance, especially when fully equipped 
for the road, with the following articles, which were ordered 
by him from London, in one of his annual invoices : 

" 1 Man's Kiding-Saddle, hogskin seat, large plated stirrups, 
and everything complete. Double-reined bridle and Pel- 
ham Bit, plated. 

A very neat and fashionable Newmarket Saddle-Cloth. 

A large and best Portmanteau, Saddle, Bridle and Pillion. 

Cloak-Bag Surcingle ; checked Saddle-cloth, holsters, &c. 

A Kiding Frock of handsome drab-colored Broadcloth, with 
plain double-gilt Buttons. 

A Kiding Waistcoat of superfine scarlet cloth and gold Laxje, 
with Buttons like those of the Coat. 

A blue Surtout Coat. 

A neat Switch Whip, silver cap. 

Black Velvet Cap for Servant." 

Thus attired, and accompanied by Bishop, his favorite body 
servant, in scarlet livery, Washington was frequently seen 
upon the road, except on Sunday morning, when he always 
rode in the chaise, with his family, to the church at Pohick or 
at Alexandria. 

Like other gentlemen living near the Potomac, Washington 
was fond of aquatic sports. He kept a handsome barge, which. 


on special occasions, was manned by black oarsmen in livery. 
Pleasant sailing-boats were frequently seen sweeping along the 
surface of the river, freighted with ladies and gentlemen going 
from mansion to mansion on its banks — Mount Vernon, Gun- 
ston Hall, Belvoir, and other places— on social visits. 

Washington and his wife frequently visited Annapolis and 
Williamsburg, the respective capitals of Maryland and Vir- 
ginia. For fifteen consecutive years he was a member of the 
Virginia House of Burgesses, and Mrs. Washington spent much 
of her time with him at Williamsburg during the sessions. 
Both fond of amusements, they frequently attended the theat- 
rical representations there and at Annapolis, that entertainment 
being then a recent importation from England, the first com- 
pany of actors, under the direction of Lewis Hallam, having 
first performed in the Maryland capital in 1752. They also 
attended balls and parties given by the fashionable people of 
Williamsburg and Annapolis, and fi-equently joined in the 
dance. But after the Revolution Washington was never 
known to dance, his last performance being in a minuet, of 
which he was very fond, on the occasion of a ball given at 
Fredericksburg in honor of the French and American officers 
then there, on their way north, after the capture of Cornwallis, 
toward the close of 1781. 

But it must not be supposed, that during these years' of his 
earlier married life, Washington's time was wholly, or even 
chiefly, occupied in the pleasures of the chase and of social 
intercourse. Far from it. He was a man of great industry 
and method, and managed his large estates with signal indus- 
try and ability. He did not leave his farms to the entire care 
of his overseers. He was very active, and continually, even 


when absent on public business, exercised a general supervision 
of his affairs, requiring a carefully prepared report of all oper- 
ations to be transmitted to him weekly, for his insj)ection and 

lie was very abstemious, and while his table always fur- 
nished his guests with ample and varied supplies for theii- 
appetites, he never indulged in the least excess, either in eating 
or drinking. He was an early riser, and might be found in 
his library from one to two hours before daylight in winter, 
and at dawn in summer. His toilet, plain and simple, was 
soon made. A single servant prepared his clothes, and laid 
them in a proper place at night for use in the njorning. He 
also combed and tied his master's hair. 

Washington always dressed and shaved himself. The im- 
plements he then used have been pi-eserved, as interesting- 
relics, in the family of Doctor Stuart, who, as we have ob- 
served, married the widow of John Parke Custis, the son of 
Mrs. Washington. Though neat in his dress and appearance, 
he never wasted precious moments upon his toilet, for he 
always regarded time, not as a gift but as a loan, for which he 
must account to the great Master. 

AVashington kept his own accounts most carefully and me- 
thodically, in handwriting remarkal)le for its extreme neatness 
and uniformity of stroke. This was produced by the constant 
use of a gold jpen. One of these, with a silver case, used by 
Washington during a part of the old war for independence, lie 
presented to his warm personal friend. General Anthony Wal- 
ton White, of K'ew Jersey, one of the most distinguished and 
patriotic of the cavalry officers of that war in the southern 
campaigns. It is now in the possession of Mrs. Eliza M. 


Kvans, near Brunswick, jS\'W Jersey, the only surviving child 
of General White. In or.e end of the silver pen-case is a 
sliding tube for a common black-lead pencil, the convenient 
" ever-pointed" pencil being unknown in Washington's time. 
That was invented by Isaac Hawkins, and patented by him, in 
London, in 1802. 


From his youth Washington kept a diary. For many years 
these records of his daily experience were made on the blank 
leaves of the Virginia Ahnanac, " Printed and sold by Purdie 


and Dixon, AVillianisburg.'" They are headed respectively, as 
seen in the engraving, M'hich is a fac-simile from one of his early 
diaries after liis marriage. Under similar headings in these al- 
manacs, and in small blank pocket-books, this man of miglity 
labors kept such records, from day to day, for more than forty 
3^ears ; and he frequently noted therein minute particulars con- 
cerning his agricultural operations, in the stvlc of the sentence 
on the next page, which was copied from liis diary for March, 


Thus rainutelj journalizing his agricultural proceedings, 
keeping his own accounts, making all his own surveys, and, 
even before the Revolution, having an extensive correspond- 


fyh<:<,.^ o^^ c^-ytxie^ '^■2.-<S^-p^o c>'<^'^-tr<u-^< e<^ 



ence, Washington found much daily employment for his pen. 
Tlie labors in his library, and a visit to his stables, usuallv 
occupied the hours before breakfast. After making a frugal 
meal of Indian cakes, hone}^, and tea or coffee, he would mount 
his horse and visit every part of his estate where the current 
operations seemed to require his presence, leaving his guests 
to enjoy themselves with books and papers, or otherwise, 
according to their, choice. lie rode uj)on his farms entirely un- 
attended, opening the gates, pulling dc^wn and putting up the 
fences, and inspecting, with a careful eye, every agricultural 
operation, and personally directing the manner in which 
many should be performed. Sometimes the tour of his farms, 
in the course of the morning miglit average, in distance, twelve 
or fifteen miles ; and on these occasions his appearance was 
exceedingly plain. The late Mr. Custis, his adopted son, has 
left on record a description of him on one of these occasions, in 

68 MOUNT V 1<: R N N 

the latter years of liis life, wliieli lie ^uve to a geiiileiuan who 
was out in search of Washington : 

"You will meet, sir," said young Custis to the in<|uirer, 
"with an old gentleman riding alone, in ])lain drab clothes, a 
broud-hrimmed white hat, a hickory switch in his haiid, and 
carrying an iind)rella with a long staff which is attached to 
his saddle-l)()W — that, person, sir, is General Washington.'"* 
The umbrella was used to shelter him from the sun, for his 
skin was tender and easily affected by its rays. 

His breakfast hour was seven o'clock in summer and eight 
in winter, and he dined at three. Ke ahvays ate heartily, but 
iiyK no e])icnre. His usual bevei'age was small beer or cider, 
and Madeira wine. Of the latter he often drank several small 
glasses at a sitting. lie took tea and toast, or a little well- 
baked bread, early in the evening, conversed with or read to 
his family, when there were no guests, and usually, whether 
there was com]>any or not, retired for the night at aljont nine 

80 carefully did Washington manage his fai-ms, that they 
became very ])roductive. Ilis chief crops were wheat and 
tobacco, and these were very large — so large that vessels that 
came u]) the Potomac, took the tobacco and flour directly from 
his own wharf, a little below his deer-park in front of his man- 
sion, and carried them to England or tluj West Indies. So 
noted were these })roducts for their quality, and so faithfully 
were they })ut up, that any barrel of flour bearing the brand of 
" George Washington, Mount Veknon," was exempted from 
the customary inspection in the Ih'itish West India ])orts. 

* •'Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washiiiglon, by his Adopted Son," 
p;ige 168. 



Upon the spot v.-lierc that old Avliarf 
once stood, at the foot of a shaded ra- 
^^Ile scooped from the high hank of tli^ 
Potomac, thixmgli Avliich flows a clear stream from a spring, is a 
rickety modern strnctnre, placed there for the accommodation 
of visitors to Mount Vernon, who are conveyed thither hy a 
steamboat twice a week. There may be se^i the same ravine, 
the same broad river, the same pleasant shores of Maryland 
beyond ; bnt, instead of the barrels of flonr, the (piintals of 
fish, and the hogsheads of tobacco which appeared there in 
Washington's time, well-dressed men and women — true pil- 

70 MOUNT V !<; R N N 

g-riiiis to a halluvved shrine, or inoru idle gazers upon the burial 
])lace of a great man — throng that wharf as thej arrive and 
depart on their errands of patriotism or of curiosity. 

And now the dawn of great events, in wdiich Washington 
was to be a conspicuous actor, glowed in tlie eastern sky. 
From the Atlantic seaboard, where marts of commerce had 
begun to spread their meshes (then small and feeble) for the 
world's traffic, came a sound of tumult; and the red presages 
of a tempest appeared in that glowing orient. At iirst, that 
sound was like a low Avhisper upon the morning air, and, 
iinally, it boomed like a thunder-peal over the hills and valleys 
o^he interior, arousing the inhal)itants to the defence of the 
immunities of freemen and the inalienalde rights of man. 

Time after time, for the space of a hundred years, the decree 
had gone forth from British councils, that the Anglo-American 
colonists should be the commercial as well as political vassals 
of the crown ; and chains of restrictions upon trade had been 
forged by an unwise and unrighteous policy, and fastened 
upon the lusty arms of the young giant of the West. And 
from time to time the giant, not all unconscious of his strength, 
yet docile because loyal, had spoken out mild remonstrances 
with deferential woi'ds. These had been heard with scorn, 
and answered by renewed otl'ences. 

An extravagant administration had exhausted the national 
exchecpier, and the desperate spendthrift, too proud to borrow 
of itself by curtailing its expenditures, seemed to think nothing 
more honorable than a ])lea of bankruptcy, and sought to 
replenish its coifers by taking the money of the Americans 
without their consent, in the form of indirect taxatir)n. This 
was in violation of the great republican postulate, that 




And when the well-known stamp act was signed by the ki)i<i;, 
and its requirements and its penalties were proclaimed in 
America, the tempest of which we have spoken was aroused. 
It swept from the sea to the mountains, and from the moun- 
tains to the sea, until those who had sown the wind, weiv 
alarmed at the harvest they were reaping. 

At Mount Yernon there was a spirit that looked calmly, but 
not unconcernedly, upon the storm, and, with prophetic vision, 
seemed to perceive upon the shadowy political sky the horo- 
scope of his own destiny. Washington was a member of the 
Virginia House of Burgesses, and had listened from his seat 
to the burning words of Pati-ick Henry, when he enunciated 
those living truths, for the maintenance of which the husband- 
man of Mount Yernon drew his sword a few years later. His 
soul was fired with the sense of opp)ression and the thoughts 
of freedom, yet his sober judgment and calculating prudence 
repressed demonstrative enthusiasm, and made him a firm, yet 
conservative patriot. 

Among those who came to Mount Yernon at this time, and 
for years afterward, to consult with Washington respecting 
public afi'airs, was his neighbor and friend of Gunston Hall, 
George Mason, He was six years older than Washington, of 
large, sinewy frame, an active step and gait, locks of raven 
blackness, a dark complexion, and a grave countenance, which 
was lighted up by a black eye, whose glance was felt with 
power by those upon whom it chanced to fall. He was one of 
the most methodical of men, and most extensive of the Yir- 
ginia planters at that time ; and like Washington from Mount 
Yernon, shipped his crops from his own wharf, near his elegant 

1^2 M U N T Y K R X IST 

inausioii of Gunstou Hall. He was proiul, yet extremely 
courteous; and while no man eould be a warmer and more 
faithful friend than he, his bearing was such as to excite admi- 
ration rather than love. His strong mind was thoroughly cul- 
tivated, and he was convei'sant with the minute particulars of 
English general history, and especially witli the political his- 
tory of the English empire. His mind was quick to perceive ; 
his judgment equally quick to analyze and arrange; and these 
([ualities made him a most skilful statesman. In council he 
M'as eminently wise ; in debate he was distinguished for extra- 
ordinary ability ; and as a political writer, he was without a 
peer in his country, when the rising dispute with Great Britain 
was occupying the thoughts of men in both hemispheres. 
Such was the man with whom, at Mount Yernon and at 
Gunston Hall, AVashington held close conference for many 
years, while the flame of the Revolution was slowly kindling. 
The storm of the stamp act season passed by, but it was 
succeeded by many others. In the intervals AVashington was 
engaged in agricultural })ursuits at Alount Vernon, and the 
pleasures of social lite. In all the public atfairs of his neigh- 
borhood, he was an active participant; and as early as 1765, 
the year when the stamp act became a law, he was a vestry- 
man of both Truro and Eairfax parishes, in which Pohick in 
the country, and C'hrist Church in Alexandiia, were the re- 
spective places of worship. In that year his name is appended 
to a declaration, with others, that he w^ould "be conformable 
to the Doctrines and Discipline of the Church of England, as 
by hnv established.'- AVith his name appear those of George 
Alason, George AVilliam Fairfax, Edward Payne, Captain 
(^harles liroadwater, and more than twentv others. 


During the earlier years of his married life, Washiiio-tou 
attended Poliick church, seven miles from Mount Vernon, 
more frequently than any other. The first church of tliat 
name was a frame building, and stood on the south side of 
Pohick creek, about tM'o miles from the present edifice. 
About the year 1764, it became so dilapidated as to be no 
longer fit for use. The parisliioners were called together to con- 
sult upon the erection of a new one. Among those assembled 
was Washington, and the father of George Mason, then ad- 
vanced in years and greatly respected. AVhen the question of 
the location of the new church came up for consideration, there 
M'as a difiei-ence of opinion. Mr. Mason was in favor of the 
old site, and Washington was opposed to it. Mi-. Mason made 
a pathetic a[)})eal in favor of the old site, pleading that 
tliere was the spot where their fathers luid worshipped, and it 
was consecrated by their graves which surrounded it. Wash- 
ington and others took the ground that the spot was far less 
convenient for the pari>li than a more central one. The sub- 
ject took a shape that required more refiection, and a second 
meeting was called. Meanwhile, Washing.^on made a careful 
survey of the whole neighborhood, marking the place of every 
liouse, and the relative distances, on a distinct map. Wlien 
the second meeting was held, Mason again appealed to the 
sympathies of the people, when Washington appealed to their 
common sense, by pimply presenting his map and explaining it 
in a few words. His almost mute ai-gument prevailed, and 
the site of the present ehurcli was selected. 

Preparations were now made for the erection of the new 
church, but it was not completed until the year 1773. AVasli- 
ington drew tlie ground-plan and elevation (jf the building for 



the use of tlie arcliitect, and these (the originals) are before me 
while I write. They are very neatly sketched M'ith China ink, 
upon good drawing ])aper, and occupy a space thirteen by 
fifteen inches square. The engraving is from a carefully 


drawn copy on a small scale, but shows every, line as seen iu 
Washington's drawing. 

Of the ministers who officiated at Pohick, theic were none 


more beloved than the Eeverend Lee Massey. He was the 
companion of Washington from liis youth, and at his solicita- 
tion, and that of Mason, Fairfax, M'Carty, Chichester, and 
others of that parish, he was induced to relinquish the profes- 
sion of the law, study divinity, and become their pastor. His 
speech becoming impaired by the loss of his front teeth, he left 
the pulpit, and studied medicine as a means of affording relief 
to the poor. 

Another clergyman, who officiated occasionally at Pohick 
church, after the regular stated services of the Church of Eng- 
land had ceased there, was the eccentric Masun L. Weems, the 
earliest biographer of Washington. The style of that biogra- 
phy was so attractive to the uncultivated readers of his day, 
that it passed through some forty editions, and even now it 
tinds a sale. His character appeal's to have been a curious 
(compound of seriousness and levity, truthfulness and exaggera- 
tion, reverence and profanity. He was an itinerant in every 
sense of the word. He was a man of considerable attainments 
as a scholar, physician, and divine ; and his benevolence was 
unbounded. When a boy of fourteen years, he was found 
at night teacliing half-clad, halffed children, who gathered 
eagerly around him ; and all through life he was ready to 
share a crust with the unfortunate. He used wit and humor 
freely on all occasions. " Whether in private or public, in 
prayers or preaching," says Bishop Meade, "it was impossible 
that either the young or old, the grave or the gay, could keep 
their risible faculties from violent agitation." He would pray 
with the negro servants at night, and fiddle f )r them by the 
road-side by day. For many years he was a travelling book- 
seller, preaching when invited, hai'anguiug the people at 



courts, fairs, aiul other pultlic. <:;atlieriiigs, and selling tlie 
Bible ont of one luind and Paine's Afjc of Rcn^on. out of the 
other, alleging as an ex(uise for the latter ]>erforniance, that he 
always carried tlie antidote with the poison. His fund of 


anecdote was inexhaustible; and after giving a ])roiniscuous 
audience the highest entertainment of fun, he found them ..i 
good mood to ]>urchase liis l)ooks. At Mount Vernon he was 
always a welcome guest, for Washington loved his goodness 
of heart and overlooked his foibles. Mr. AVeems died at 
Beaufort, South Carolina, in May, 1825, at an advanced age. 

After the Revolution, for reasons not clearly seen, Washing- 
ton attended Christ Church, at Alexandria (of which he was a 
vestryman), instead of Pohick. Others of the latter ])arish fol- 
lowed, and atter a wiiile regular services ceased in that jiai't of 


< i 

the country. Washington owned a pew in Christ Cliurch from 
the estabhshment of the parish, in 1764, an<l occupied it con- 
stantly after 17^3, until his death. Some of his name have 
held ])(»ssession of it ever since. Judge Bushrod Wash in <>t on 


succeeded tlie General in its occupancy, then his uepliew, John 
A. Washington, the father of the late proprietor of Mount 
Vernon, and lastly, that ])roprietor himself. Christ Church, at 
Alexandria, Mas finislied in 1773, and Washington paid the 
liighest price for a pew in it. 

I visited Pohick Church a few years ago, and found it falling 
rapidly into decay. It stands upon an eminence north of 
Pohick Creek, on the horder of a forest that extends almost 
uninterruptedly to Mount Vernon. Around it are the ancient 
oaks of the primeval wood, interspersed with chestnuts and 
jtines. It was just at twilight when I readied the old fane, and 
after making a sketch of it, I ])assed on to seek lodgings for the 


MOUNT V 1<: K N X 

night. The next day was the Sabhath, and heing informed 
that a Methodist meeting was to be held in the ehureh, I 
repaired thither at the usual hour, and took a seat in Washing- 
ton's pew, near the pulpit. There 1 awaited the slow gathering 
of the little auditory. When all had assembled, men and 



women and children, white and black, the whole congre- 
gation numbered only twenty-one persons. I could not 
refrain from drawing a parallel with the scenes of other days 
under that venerated roof, when some of the noblest of Vir- 
ginia's aristocracy worship})ed there, while clergymen, in sur- 
plice and gown, performed the solemn and impressive ritual 
of the Clnu'ch of England. Now, a young man, with nothing 
to distinguish him from other men but a white cravat, stood as 


teacher within the old chancel by the side of the ancient coiri- 
munion-table. He talked sweetly of Cliristian charity : 

" Oil, the rarit}' 
Of Christian charity." 

and asked the little company to join with hiui in singing ihe 
liymn — 

"Come, Holy Spirit! Heavenly Dove ! " 

When the service was over, I made note, with pen and pencil, 
of all within. It was a melancholy task, for decay with its 
bnsy fingers was at work all around mc, making sure j^rophe- 
cies of the speeedy desolation of a building hallowed l)y associ- 
ations with the beloved "Washington. Upon the wall, back of 
the chancel, were still inscribed, the Law^ the C/'eed, and the 
Lord's Prayer^ upon Avhich the eyes of Washington and his 
friends had rested a thousand times. A large proportion of the 
panes of glass Avere broken from tlie windows, admitting freely 
the wind and the rain, the bats and the 
birds. The elaborately wrought jiulpit, 
placed by itself on one side of the church, 
was sadly marred by desecrating hands. 
Under its sounding-board, a swallow had 
built her nest ; and upon the book lodge 
the fowls of the air had evidently perched. 
These things brought to memory the 
words of the "sweet singer of Israel" — 
" Yea, the sparrow has found a home, and 
the swallow a nest for herself, where she 
may lay her young, even thine altar, O 
Lord of Hosts !" 


80 M U N T \ E R N X 

III the s])ring of l'i7'2 there was a stranger at Mount Yernon, 
in errand and person. lie was one-and-thirtv years of age, 
slender in form, witli a sweet and thoughtful face. He was a 
native of Maryland, and had been a saddler's a[)prentiee at 
Annapohs. the capital of tlie province. In hoyhood he luid 
been as beauti+'ul as a girl, and at twenty he was a handsome 
young man. At that age he felt spiritual aspirations for the 
life of an artist ; and when, two or three years later, he said to 
a retired painter who resided a few miles from Annapolis, 
" Show me, Mr. Hesselins, hoM' you mix such beautiful tints 
for your can\as, and I will give you the best saddle that I can 
make," a new world was opening to his enraptured vision. 
At that iuoment his true artist life began, for the generous 
painter revealed to liim the coveted secret. Then the occupa- 
tions of watchmaker, silversmith, carver, and saddler, in which 
he had severally engaged, were abandoned for the pursuit 
of art, except when stern necessity compelled him to employ 
them in earning his daily food. Thus he worked on until a 
way was opened for lum to go to England and place- himself 
under the instruction of Benjamin West, the great American 
painter, then the loved companion of the king. Two years he 
remained with West, and in 1769, Charles Willson Peale, the 
young artist referred to, returned to his native country and set 
up his easel as a pc^rtrait |)ainter at Annapolis and Baltimore 
with wonderful success. 

The fame of the young paintei* soon reached Mount Vernon, 
and he was invited there to delineate, for the first time, the 
form and features of the noble "lord of the manor." lie 
executed the commission admirably, and produced a tine 
poitrait of Washington at the age of forty years, life size, a 



little more than lialf-leiii^tU, and in the costume of a colonel ot" 
the twenty-second rciji^inient of the Virginia Militia. The coat 
is blue, with red facings, and bright metal buttons, having the 


number of the regiment ("22") cast upon them. The waist- 
coat and breeches are also red, and the sash, a faded purple. 

When, in 1797 or '98, Field, an English miniature painter 
and engraver of some eminence, visited 
Mount Vernon, he slept in a room in which 
hung Washington's old military coat. The 
painter cut (_)fF one of the buttons, and 
brought it away with him, regarding the 
transaction as a pious theft, no doubt, be- 
cause prompted by veneration for the owner. 
That button is now in the possession of John F. Watson, Escp 

WAMllN(iT()N S 



tlie venerable annalist of Philadelphia and Xew York, and at 
Ill's house in GermantoM'n the annexed sketch of it Avas made. 


Field had a pleasant countenance and fine portly figure. lie 
was, on the whole, rather fat, and loved his ease. " When at 
Centreville, on the eastern shore of Maryland, in 1798," says 
Rembrandt Peale, in a recent letter to a friend, " Field and I 
took a walk into the country, after r ain. A wide puddle of 
water covered the road beyond the feilce on both sides. 1 
climbed the fence and walked round, but Field, fat and lazy, 
in good humor paid an old negro to carry him on his shouldei*8 
over the water. In the middle of it. Field became so convuls- 
ed with laughter, that he nearly shook himself off the old 
man's back." 



Field went to Canada, studied theology a little, was ordain- 
ed a priest of the Estab- 
lished Church, and be- 
came a bishop. 

The portrait painted by 
younu; Peale, at that time, 
was the first that was 
ever made of Washing- 
ton. From the study he 
then made, he painted the 
fine picture which hung 
at Mount Vernon until 
the owner's death, and 
since that time has graced 
the walls of Arlington 
House, the home of the 
late George Washington 
Parke Cnstis. The study 
—the really first portrait, 
was afterward dressed in 
the continental costume. 
This remained in posses- 
sion of the artist and 
his family until the Peah 
gallery, in Philadelpnia, 
was sold a few years airo, 
when it was purchased by 
Charles S. Ogden, Esq., in 
whose possession it now 



M U NT V E H N () X 

While at Mount Vernon at tliat time, Peale painted a niiii- 
iature of Mrs. Washington, for her son, John Parke Custis, 
then a youth of eighteen, for which Washington, as liis 
guardian, paid ton guineas, according to a receipt in the 
hand-writing of Washington, and signed by the artist, yet 
preserved in the family. 


Peale's miniatures were exquisitely painted, and very much 
sought after. A few years later he painted a portrait, ni 
miniature, of young Ciistis, M'ho was then General Washing- 
ton's aide ; also of his wife, the second daughter of Benedict 
Oalvert, of Maryland, a descendant of Lord Baltimore. He 
also painted a portrait of that lady, life size, before her nuir- 
riage, in which she is re])resented as a beautiful yonng girl in 
equestrian costume, the riding-jacket being open in front, and 


on lier head a riding-hat witli a feather. The miniature of 
John Parke Custis, from \vliich our engraving was copied, was 
in the possession of Mrs. AYashington until her death, and is 
now the property of his granddaughter, the wife of Colonel 
Robert E. Lee, of Arlington House, Virginia.* 

A shadow fell upon Mount Vernon in the spring of 1773. 
No cliild had blessed the union of Washington and his wile, 
and her two children received the most tender parental care 
and solicitude from their step-father. He appeared to love 
them as his own. Martha was a sweet girl, of gentle temper, 
graceful form, winning ways, and so much a brunette, that she 
was called '' the dark lady," Just as she w^as blooming into 
womanhood, pulmonary consumption laid its withering hand 
upon her. For several months her strength had been failing, 
and letters filled with expressions of anxiety went frequentlv 
from her mother to Washington, who was engaged in his 
duties in the House of Burgesses at Williamsburg. At length 
a most alarming letter reached him. He had just made 
arrangements to accompany Lord Dunmore, the governor, on 
a long tour of observation M-est of the mountains, but he 
hastened to Mount Yernon. He found the dear child in the 
last moments of earthly life. His manly spirit was bowed 
with grief, and with deep feeling he knelt at the side of her 
bed and prayed most earnestly for her recovery. Upon the 
wings of that holy prayer her spirit ascended, and when he 
arose and looked upon her pale and placid face. Death had 
set its seal there. She expired on the nineteenth of June, 

* Mr. Peale painted many other portraits of Washington, life size and In minia- 
ture. For an account of these, see note to tlie chapter on Washington's Portraits, 
in Custis's Recollections and Private Memoirs of Wa'ihington. 

86 M U N T V K R N N 

when in the seventeenth year of her age. Iler departure left 
a great void in the heart of the mother, and Washington 
remained for some time at Mount Yernou, in seclusion, to con- 
sole his afflicted wife, instead of taking the contemplated 
journey with the governor. 

And now tlie flames of the Revolution were rapidly kind- 
ling all over the land. The representatives of royal authority 
had been buff'eted in Boston, and acts of parliament had been 
set at naught, in such manner, that an indignant decree went 
forth from the throne, that the port of the New England capital 
should be shut, and the entire machinery of the colonial gov- 
ernment be clogged, until the people there should show prac- 
tical signs of penitence for their political sins. The people 
defied the ministerial power, and laughed at ministerial 
anathemas. Tlien a new governor, with armed soldiers, took 
possession of Boston, and, with iron heel, crushed its commerce 
and its prosperity. 

Hot was the indignation of the colonists over the length and 
breadth of the land, and to every stroke of resistance given by 
the people of Massachusetts, tln)se of Virginia abetted and 
gave loud acclamations of applause. For ten long years the 
people, in separate communities, liad petitioned and remon- 
strated in vain. Now there was a universal desire for unity of 
action, and a Generajl Congress was pro})osed, in accordance 
with a suggestion made by Doctor Franklin. It received a 
liearty response in every colony, and the 5tli of September, 
1774, was the time agreed upon for such congress to assemble, 
and Philadelphia the place. 

For a long time AVashington had been much engaged in the 
discussion of the momentous political questions of the day. lie 


was firm in his opinion, but no enthusiast ; and witli cautious 
hut unwaverino; step, lie had walked in the path of opposition 
to ministerial measures. He heartily approved of a General 
Congress; and when, after the Virginia Assembly, of which 
he was a mend)er, had been dissolved by the governor, and 
met in informal convention, to consult upon the expedient of 
holding another council to elect representatives to a general 
congress, he was warmly in favor of the measure. And wlien 
that congress met, he was among the delegates chosen for the 
important business of conferring, in solemn earnestness, upon 
the destinies of a nation. 

Washington was now fairly embarked upon the stormy 
ocean of political life in troublous times—'' times," as Paine 
afterward said, '' that tried men's souls." Vast were the stakes 
that he pledged. Life, fortune, honor, and every social enjoy- 
ment were all imperilled ; and while his friend and neighbor 
of Gunston Hall as warmly espoused the same cause, those of 
Belvoir adhered to the crown. 

The sports of the chase, social visiting, and almost every 
amusement of life now ceased at Mount Vernon. Grave men 
assembled there, and questions of mighty import were con- 
sidered thoughtfully and i rayerfully, for Washington was a 
man of prayer from earliest manhood. 

At length the time arrived for the assembling of the national 
congress, and from all the colonies, except Georgia, the dele- 
gates began to make their way toward Piiiladelphia, some on 
horseback, others in coaches or chaises, but none by public 
conveyances, for there were few of these even in the most pop- 
ulous provinces. Some travelled ^lone, others in pairs ; and 
as they approached the Delaware or the Schuylkill, they found 


tliciiiselvcs ill eoiiipaiiies. What a sj:;lori(jiis spectacle ! From 
twelve strong viceroyalties, containing an aggregate population 
of almost three millions of people, the best and tlie wisest among 
them, obedient to the public will, were on their way, through 
vast forests, and over rugged mountains, across broad rivers, 
and broader morasses, and through richly cultivated districts, 
cheerful villages, and expanding cities, to a common goal, there 
t(» meet, deliberate, and confederate, tor the welfare, not only 
of a continent, but of the world ! It was a moral spectacle such 
as had been hitherto unrecorded by the pen of history. 

On Wednesday morning, the 31st of August, 177J:, two men 
approached Mount Vernon on h(jrseback. One of them was a 
slender man, very plainly dressed in a suit of ministei's' gray, 
and about tbrty years of age. The other was his senior in 
years, likewise of slender form, and a face remarkable for its 
expression of unclouded intelligence. He was more carefully 
dressed, more polished in manners, and much more fluent in 
conversation than his companion. They reached Mount Ver- 
non at seven o'clock, and after an exchange of salutations with 
Washington and his family, and partaking of breakfast, the 
three retired to the library and were soon deeply absorbed in 
the discussion of the great questions then agitating the people 
of the colonies. The two travellers w^ere Patrick llenry and 
Edmund Pendleton. A third, the silver-tongued Cicero of 
Virginia, Kicliard Henry Lee, was expected M^ith them, but he 
had been detained at Chantilly, his seat in Westmoreland. 

All day long these three eminent Virginians were in council ; 
and early the next morning they set out on horseback for Phila- 
delphia, to meet the patriots from other colonies there. Will Lee, 
Washington's huntsman, and favorite bodv servant, now that 




Bisliop had Lecoinc too old and infirm to l)c active, was tin- 
only attendant npon liis master. Tliej crossed tlic Potomac 
at tlie Falls (now GeoriJ^etown), and rode far on toward Balti- 
moi-e, before the twilight. On tlie 4tli of September, the day 
betbre the opening of the Congress, they breakfasted at Chris- 
tiana Ferry (now AVilmington), and dmed at Chester; and that 
m'glit Washington, according to his diary, "lodged at Doctor 
Shi])pen's, in Philadelphia, after sni)ping at the New Tavern." 
At that honse of public entertaiimient he had lodged nearly 
two years before, while on his way to New York to place 
young Custis in King's (now Columbia) College. 

At ten o'clock on Monday morning, the 5th of September, 
1774. the First Continental Congress commenced its sessions 


in Carpenter's Hall, in Phihulelpliia. The members lirst 
assembled at theCity Tavern, and marched in procession tu the 
Hall. They organized the congress by choosing Peyton Ran- 
dolph — a large, fleshy, good-looking Virginian, five-and-forty 
years of age — as president; and for secretary they ap])ointed 
C'harles Tliomson, a lean man, Avith hollow, sparkling eyes, 
hair qnite thin and gray, and a year yonnger than the president, 
though bearing marks of ])rematnre old age. Tliomson was an 
accomplished Pennsylvanian ; and, notwithstanding he aj)- 
])eared so old at the age of forty-four, he lived fifty years 
longer, while the florid, healthful-looking Ivandolph died the 
very next year, within an hour after eating a hearty dinner 
at Richard HilTs country seat, near Philadelphia. 

The business of the congress Avas opened by Patri(;k Henry, 
and the session continued until the 26th of October, when they 
had laid the foundations of a new Re})ublic, deep in tlie principles 
of Truth and Justice. They debated great questions with the 
dignity and wisdom of sages, and, l)y a large majority adopted 
the following resolution — a resolution which reafiirmed all pre- 
vious resolves of the Americans to fight for freedom rather than 
submit to inglorious political servitude: 

" Resolved^ — That this Congkess api'kove the oitosition of 


ALL America ougut to support tifem in their opposition. 

The Congress closed their important labors by putting forth 
some of the most remarkable state papers that ever appeared 


in the annals of the nations. The perusal of them drew from the 
Earl of Chatham the most enthusiastic encomiums, in a speech 
in the House of Lords. "' When your lordships," he said, 
" look at the papers transmitted to us from America ; when you 
consider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you cannot but 
respect their cause, and wish to make it your own. For my- 
self, I must declare and avow, that in all my readino- and study 
of history (and it has been my favorite study — I have i-ead 
Tliucydides, and have studied and admired the master states 
of the world), that for solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, 
and wisdom of conclusions, under such a complication of cir- 
cumstances, no nation or body of men can stand in preference 
to the Congress at Philadelphia." 

It was in a congress composed of such men that Washington 
distinguished himself. Although he did not engage in the 
public debates (for he had no talent for extempore speaking), 
and his name does not appear in the published proceedings of 
the Congress as a member of any committee during the session, 
his diary shows tliat he was assiduous in his attendance at 
Carpenter's Hall; and there is ample evidence that his mind 
had much to do in the general conduct of the business, and 
especially in the preparation of the state papers alluded to. 
When Patrick Henry was asked, on his return from Phila- 
delphia, whom he considered the greatest man in the congress, 
he replied : " If you speak of eloquence, Mr. Kutledge of South 
Carolina is by far the greatest orator ; but if you speak of 
solid information and sound judgment. Colonel Washington 
is unquestionably the greatest man on that floor." 

When the Congress adjourned, Washington returned to 
Mount Vernon, full of desires for a reconciliation with the 

92 M U N T V K R N N 

parent goveniuient, and for peaeefulness in tlie bosom of 
his family ; yet Avithout any well-grounded hope. The hand 
of inexorable circumstances was then making many and great 
changes in and around his beautiful home. The sunshine 
upon the fields, the forests and the river were as bright as ever; 
and the flowers bloomed as beautifully, and the birds sang as 
sweetly as ever, when another spring came, like the angel of 
the resurrection, to call tbrth the sleepers in the bosom of 
mother earth. But in the mansion death had left the memorial 
footsteps of its reccTit visit ; and the discord of clashing opin- 
ions had almost hushed into silence the sw^eet voices of the 
social circle in which he had been accustomed to move. His 
friend of Belvoir was a loyalist and beyond the ocean ; and 
that fine mansion, wherein the Washingtons and Fairfaxes had 
lield generous intercommunication for a quarter of a century, 
was soon afterward consumed by fii-e. Its owner never re- 
turned to America, and the social intercourse of two long-tried 
friends was closed forever. George Washington and George 
William Fairfax never met again on the earth. 

The Congress of 1774, doubtful concerning reconciliation 
with Great Britain npon terms to which the colonists could 
accede, adjourned, to meet again at the same place on the 
tenth of May following, unless the desired redress of grievances 
should speedily take place, and render another national coun- 
cil unnecessary. But the people, taught by long and bitter 
experience, expected no justice from a blinded ministry, and 
prepared for inevitable war. They aroused themselves, and 
organized into military companies for the purpose of discipline. 

Suddenly, as if by magic, a vast army was formed. It was, 
as we have elsewhere observed, "strong, determined, generous. 


and panting for action, yet invisible to the snperlicial observer. 
It was not seen in the camp, the field, nor the garrison. No 
drum was heard calling it to action ; no trumpet was sounded 
for battle. It was like electricitj, harmless when latent, but 
terrible when aroused. It was all over the land. It was at 
the plough, in the workshop, and in the counting-room. 
Almost every household was its head-quarters, and every roof 
its tent. It bivouacked in every chamber ; and mothers, wives, 
sisters, and sweethearts made cartridges for its muskets, and 
supplied its commissariat. It was the old story of Cadmus 
repeated in modern history. British oppression had sown 
dragon^s teeth all over the land, and a crop of armed men 
were ready to spring up, but not to destroy each other." * 

Washington, always covetous of rural pursuits and the quiet 
of domestic life, returned from Philadelphia with the intention 
of resuming them. But urgent calls to public duty drew him 
from them. The volunteer companies of his state sought his 
counsel, and offered him the general leadership; and he went 
from place to place, reviewing the assembled troops, and 
imparting wisdom which he had learned from his military 
experience. Meanwhile, his old companions in arms came 
frequently to Mount Yernon, for they snuiFed the smoke of 
war from afar. Among these, Doctors Hugh Mercer, of Fred- 
ricksburgh, and James Craik, of Alexandria, were the most 
welcome, for these Washington loved much. 

Other men more distinguished also made frequent visits to 
Mount Yernon. Among the most famous of these were Gen- 
eral Charles Lee and Major Horatio Gates, both of whom had 

* Lossicg^ Life of Washington, i. 470. 


il IT N T V K R N N 

been officers of distinction in the British army, and were tnen 
residents in Virginia. These frequently ac('()ni]»aiiied Wash- 
ington in his military excursions ; and during the spring of 
1775, they sj)ent much time under his roof. 


Lee was a AYelshman, and a year younger than Washington. 
He possessed fine manly physical proportions, and a fiery 
spirit which nothing, at times, could control. He had been 
engaged in the war with the French and Indians in America, 
in 1756 and a few succeeding years; and the Mohawks, who 
creatt'd him a chief among themselves, gave him the signifi- 
cant name of Boiling Waier. Restless and ambitious, he 
engaged in the continental wars of Europe, wherever he could 
find employment. At one time we find him an aide to the 


king of Poland, and then a companion of that king's ambas- 
sador to Constantinople. Then we see him in England assail- 
ing the British ministry with his sarcastic pen, and by his ill 
nature and perverse judgment, shutting every door to his own 
advancement. Disappointed and still restless, he came to 
America in 1773, and travelled through most of the Englisli 
[provinces. In Virginia he met Major Gates, and was induced 
l)y that gentleman to purchase an estate near him, in Berkeley 
county. There he was residing when the war for independence 
was fairly kindling, and he espoused the cause of the patriots 
with a zeal that commanded their greatest admiration. He 
entered the army as the first major-general under Washington, 
became very popular with the great body of the people, and 
for awhile disputed a place in their attachment with AVashing- 
ton himself. His ambition soon conquered his prudence, and 
he became insolent and insubordinate toward his superiors. 
With apparent collusion with the enemy, he became a prisoner; 
endeavored, while a captive, to betray his adopted country ; 
was I'estored to the army by exchange, but soon afterward was 
suspended from command because of bad conduct on the field 
of Monmouth ; and died in Philadelphia in comparative 
poverty, in the autunm of 1782, at the age of fifty-one yeai-s. 
He was a brilliant man in many things, but his life exhibited 
few commendable traits of (-haracter. He was bad i]i morals 
and manners; profane and extravagant in language, and feared 
and loved neither God nor man. In his will he Ijequeathed 
his soul to the Almighty and his body to the earth, saying: 
"I desire most earnestly that I may not be buried in any 
church or churchyard, or within a mile of any Presbyterian or 
Anabaptist meeting-house; for, since I have resided in this 



comitry, I luxve kept so nnieli l)a(l C()in])any when livini;:, tluit 
I do not clioose to coiitimio it ^v]lell dead/" 

Major Gates was three years the senior of Washington, and 
is snpposed to have been a natnral son ot' Horace Walpole. 
He was an officer in the British army during the French and 
Indian war, and was with Braddock in the hattle of the 
Mononirahehi, where he was severely wounded. Tie acconi- 


[)anied General Mockton to the West Indies as his aide-de- 
camp, and expected great preferment after the campaign was 
over, as he was the hearer to the king of the tidings of the 
English victory at Martinico. He was disappointed, and, in 
1772, he sold his commission of major, came to America, and 
pnrchased an estate in Berkeley county, Yirginia, beyond tlie 
Blue Ridge. 


Gates was the opposite of Lee in his social qualities, being a 
perfect gentleman in his deportment. lie, also, espoused the 
republican cause at the kindling of the war, was appointed the 
iirst adjutant-general of the continental army, and arose to the 
rank of major-general. He was ambitious and vain ; and, 
during the first half of the war, was seeking to take the place 
of Washington as supreme commander of the American armies. 

His last active military command was in South Carolina, 
in the summer of 1780, where he lost his whole army. He 
returned to his estate in Virginia, where he lived until 1790, 
and then removed to a farm on Manhattan Island, near the 
city of New York. He was a member of the New York 
legislature one term, and died in the spring of 1806, at the 
age of seventy-eight years. 

Washington was at Mount Vernon only a few weeks at a 
time, from the summer of 1771 until his retirement from the 
army in 178;>. He was in the first continental Congress, as 
we have observed, during the autumn of 1774; was absent 
upon military services much of the time during the winter of 
1775, and was a member of the Virginia Assembly in the 
spring, when Patrick Henry made his famous war speech, 
which was closed with the burning words : " What is it that 
gentlemen wish ? What would they have 'i Is life so dear or 
peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and 
slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God ! I know not what course 
others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give mk 


With these words of Henry ringing in his ears, Washington 
returned to Mount Vernon, and prepared for a journey to 
Philadelphia, there to take his seat as a member of the Second 


Continental Congress, Just at the close of a mild April day, 
while he and his neighbor, Bryan Fairfax, with Major Gates, 
were discussing the stirring events at Williamsburg, connected 
with the seizure of powder belonging to the colony, by the 
royal governor, and the bold stand taken by Patrick Henry — 
events which were then arousing every republican heart in 
Virginia to action — a messeno-er came in haste from Alex- 
andria, bearing intelligence of bloodshed at Lexington and 
Concord. That intelligence made a deep but widely ditierent 
impression upon the minds of the three friends. The gentle 
Fairfax, even then inclined to enter the gospel mhiistry, which 
he afterward adorned, ^vas drawn, by the ties of consanguinity 
and ancestral reverence, to the side of the parent country. He 
was much distressed by the tidings from the east, for he per- 
ceived the gathering of a cloud of miseries for his country, and 
the peril of all pleasant social relations. 

Gates, ambitious of military glory, and eagerly looking for 
the honors and emoluments of office, for which he liad long 
played the sycophant in London, was delighted by this opening 
of an avenue to a field of action M'herein they might be won ; 
while Washington, communing with the intuitions of his loftier 
spirit, became thoughtful and reserved, and talked little, but 
wisely, on the subject. But he resolved nobly and firmly to go 
zealously into Mdiatever conflicts might ai'ise for the defence 
of the liberties of his country. All regarded the event as the 
casting away of the scabbard, as the severing blow to colonial 

These friends })arted company on the following day, and to- 
ward the evening of the 4th of May, Benjamin JLirrison, one 
of the immortal fiftv-six who afterward si<»;ned the Declaration 


of Independence, came to Mount Vernon, supped, lodged, and 
breakfasted, and departed with Washington, early in the morn- 
ing of the 5th, for Phihidelphia. Tliej arrived at Chester on 
the 9th, and, while riding toward Philadelpliia, with otlier 
southern delegates, were met, tive or six miles from the city, 
by a cav'alcade of five liundred gentlemen. Nearer the city, 
they were met by military companies, and by tliese, with bands 
of music, were escorted into and through the city " with great 
parade." On the following day, the new England delegates 
were received in a similar manner ; and thus, in the midst of 
the homage and acclamations of the people, the representatives 
of thirteen viceroyalties assembled to confederate in the great 
work of constructing a new republic. 

With the sword of defence in one hand, and the olive-branch 
of reconciliation in the other, the Congress went on in their 
solemn labors. The military genius and experience of Wash- 
ington were continually acknowledged by his being placed as 
chairman of all the committees appointed for the conduct of 
military affairs ; and to him was entrusted the important task 
of preparing rules and regulations for an army, and devising 
measures for the general defence. 

Meanwhile, a large, but crude and ill-regulated army, had 
gathered around Boston, and was keeping the Britisli regulars 
in close confinement upon that little peninsula. It possessed 
no other cohesion than that derived from a sense of mutual 
danger. The Congress perceived this, and resolved to con- 
solidate and organize it by adopting it as a Continental army, 
with a commander-in-chief and assistant general ofiicers. That 
adoption was formally made ; and on Tiiursday, tlie loth of 
■June, two days before the battle of Bunker's Hill, George 


Wasliington was clioson coininandur-in-chiof of " all the con- 
tinental forces raised or to be raised, for the defence of Amer- 
ican liberty." The appointment was officiallj anno-unced to 
him on the following day, and modestly accepted ; and on the 
18th he wrote a touching letter to his wife on the subject, tell- 
ing her he must depart immediately for the camp ; begging 
lier to summon all her fortitude, and to pass her time as agree- 
ably as possible ; and expressing a firm reliance upon thai 
Providence which had ever been bountiful to him, not doubt- 
ing that he should return safe to her in the fall. 

But he did not so return. Darker and darker grew the 
clouds of war; and, during more than seven years, Washington 
visited his pleasant home uj)on the Potomac but once, and then 
only for three days and nights. Mrs. Wasliington spent the 
winter in camp with her husband ; and many are the traditions 
concerning lie^' beauty, gentleness, simplicity, and industry, 
which yet linger around the winter-quarters of the venerated 
commander-in-chief of the armies of the Pevolution. For 
many long years she w^as remembered wnth affection by the 
dwellers at Cambridge, Morristown, Valley Forge, Newburgh, 
and New Windsor. When, on each returning spring, she 
departed for her home on the Potomac, the blessings of thou- 
sands — soldiers and citizens — went with her, for she w^as truly 
loved by all. 

Pleasant would it be to read the scores of letters written by 
Washington to his charming wifa during all that campaigning 
period, and his subsequent services in civil life. That pleasure 
can never be enjoyed. Only one letter to her — the message 
informing her of his appointment to the command of the army 
-—is known to be in exiiftence, and that, with one to her son on 


tlie same subject, written on the following day, is carefully 
preserved at Arlington House, by her great-granddaughter, 
Mrs. Mary Custis Lee. Mrs. Washington destroyed all of 
her husband's other letters to herself, a short time before her 

It is not our design to follow Washington in his career as a 
soldier, or even as a statesman, for in these his field of action 
was far away froni Mount Vernon — the object of our illustra- 
tions. His career in each was noble ; and even in his defeats 
in battle, he never lost a particle of the dignity of his char- 
acter, nor the esteem of his countrymen. His caution and 
prudence were sometimes misunderstood, but they were always 
found to be the guaranties of success. For nearly nine months 
he cautiously watched the British army in Boston, and waited 
for strength sufiieient to attack it with success, while the 
people, and even the Congress, became impatient and clamored 
for battle. At length the proper time came, and with skill 
and energy he prepared to strike an annihilating blow. The 
enemy saw their peril, fled to their ships, and escaped to 
Halifax, while the whole continent rang with the praises of 
Washington. The Congress decreed a gold medal to the 
victor. Duvivier, of Paris, cut the die ; and to Mount Yernon 
the glittering testimonial of a nation's gratitude was afterward 
borne, upon which was inscribed : " The American Congress 
TO George Washington, commander-in-chief of its armies, 


pct to flight — Boston recovered, 17th March, 1776." 

Although excessively prudent, Washington was ever ready 
to strike a blow in the presence of greatest peril, when his 
judgment and inclination coalesced in rc^commending the per- 




formance of the act We see him with a handful of ill-dis- 
ciplined, ill-fed, ill-clad soldiers, after a prudent flight of three 
weeks before a strong pursuing enemy, crossing a rapid river 
in the midst of floating ice, and darkness, and driving storm, 
and smiting a band of mercenary Germans at Trenton, who 
had been hired out by their avaricious princes to aid the 
British soldiery in butchering their fellow subjects. Victory 
followed the blow, and a few days afterward that victory was 
repeated at Pi'inceton. Again the praises of Washington were 
upon every lip. The great Frederick of Prussia declared that 
the achievements of the American leader ahd his compatriots, 
l>etween the twenty-fifth of December 1776, and the fourth of 
January, 1777 — a space of ten days — were the most brilliant 
of any recorded in the annals of military action. A splendid 
flag, taken from the Hessians at Trenton, comjiosed of two 
pieces of heavy white damask silk, bearing devices embroid- 
ered with gold thread, and the words for ouk prince and 
COUNTRY, in Latin, exquisitely wrought in needlework, was 



presented to Washington. It was afterward hung up in the 
great hall at Mount Vernon, but only on one occasion, for 
Washington was careful 
never to make even the 
most trivial display of me- 
mentos of his own valor. 
This flag was his first 
trophy of the kind in the 
war for independence. 

And all through the war, 
prudence, sagacity, skill, 
energy, and great wisdom, 
marked the acts of Wash- 
ington. His last battle 
was at Yorktown, where 
another trophy, similar to 
that at Trenton, was se- 
cured. It was the flag of the 
seventh British regiment, 
made of heavy twilled silk, 
six feet in length and five 
feet four inches in width. The ground was blue ; the cen- 
tral stripe of the cross red; the marginal ones white. In 
the centre was a crown, and beneath it a garter, with the 
usual inscription in Notman French — Evil he to him who evil 
thinketh — enclosing a full-blown rose, the floral emblem of 
England. This flag, with another, was presented to Washing- 
ton by a resolution of the Congress, passed ten days after the 
victory, and was hung in the hall at Mount Vernon on the 
single occasion referred to. It had been sadly tattered during 




tlie conflict. Until lately it occupied a place near the Hessian 
flag, in the Museum at Alexandria, Avhere they were de- 
])Osited by the late George Washington Parke Ciistis, and 


appropriately labeled Alpha 
and OiYKfja — the first and 
the last of the tr(t])hies won 
l)y Washington. 

Lonely was the mansion 
at Mount Vernon without 
the master during the seven 
years and more that the war 
lasted. Yet it was by no 
means deserted. The onl}'' 
child of Mrs. Washington, 
John Parke Custis, with his 
wife and growing family, were there much of the time, for 
Washington had written to him a few days after his appoint- 
ment to the connnand of the army : "At any time, I hope it is 
unnecessary for me to say, that I am always pleased with your 
and Nelly's abidance at Mount Vernon, much less upon this 
occasion, when I think it absolutely necessary for the peace 
and satisfaction of your mother ; a consideration which I have 
no doubt will have due weight with you both, and recjuire no 
arguments to enforce." Neighbors and friends also came 
frequently to cheer the temporary widowhood of the mistress. 
Lund Washington, the master's relative and friend, was the 
faithful manager of the estate, and he scrupulously obeyed the 
injunction of the owner, who said : " Let the hospitality of the 


house, with respect to the poor, be kept up. Let no one go 
away hungry. If any of tliis kind of people should be in 
want of corn, supply their necessities, provided it does not 
encourage them in idleness." 

Nothing of Importance, aside from the routine of plantation 
life, occurred at Mount Vernon after the summer of 1775, 
until 1781. At the former period, Loixl Dunmore and his 
marauding followers, ascended the Potomac as far as Occo- 
quan Falls, with the intention of making Mrs. Washington a 
prisoner, and desolating the estates of Gunston Hall and 
Mount Vernon. The Prince William militia gathered in 
largp numbers to oppose him, and these, aided by a heavy 
storm, frustrated his lordship's designs, and he sailed down 
the river, after destroying some mills and other property. 

Early in September, 1781, there was great commotion at 
Mount Vernon, greater than when, a few months before, small 
British armed vessels had come up tlie Potomac, plundering 
and destroying on every hand. One of these, on that occasion, 
had approached Mount Vernon witli fire and sword, and Lund 
VV^ashington had purchased the safety of the estate by giving 
the commander refreshments and supplies. For this the mas- 
ter of Mount Vernon rebuked him, saying, "It would have 
been a less painful circumstance to me to have heard that, in 
consequence of your non-compliance with their request, they 
had burned my house and laid my plantation in ruins." 

On the 9th of September, 1781, there was an arrival more 
startling to the dwellers upon the Mount Vernon estate than 
that of an armed enemy upon the neighboring waters. It was 
the unexpected arrival of the master himself. The allied 
French and American armies were then on their march toward 


Virginia, to assist Lafayette and his coiiipatiiots in driving the 
invading Cornwall is from that state. Washington came from 
Baltimore late at night, attended only by Colonel Ilnmphreys 
(one of his aides) and faithful Billy. They had left the Connt 
dc Koehamheau and tlie Marquis de Chastellux — one at Alex- 
andria, and the other at Georgetown — to follow them in the 
moi'ning. Very soon the whole household was astir, and the 
news flew quickly over the estate that the master had arrived. 
At early dawn the servants came from every c.abin to greet 
him, and many looked sorrowfully npon a face so changed by 
the storms of successive campaigns, during more than six years 
that he had been absent. 

None came earlier than Bishop, the venerable body-servant 
of the master in the old French war, who was now too old to 
go to the camp. lie lived near the mansion, the Nestor of the 
plantations, and was overseer of (nie of the farms. No doubt 
he came, as was his cnstom on great occasions, fully equipped 
in his regimentals, made after the fashion of George the 
Second's time, to greet the man he so nmch loved. Bisho]) 
was then almost eighty years of age, with deep furrows upon 
his cheeks, a few gray locks upon his temples, and his once 
manly Ibrm bent gently by the wx'ight of years, and shrunken 
by the suns of nearly fourscore summers. 

On the morrow, the French noblemen, with their suites, ai'- 
I'ived — Rochambeau first, and De Chastellux afterward — and 
all but the chief made it a day of rest. For him there was no 
repose. He was not permitted to pass even an hour alone with 
his wife. Public and private cares were pressing heavily npon 
him. He was on his way to measure strength Avith a powerful 
enemy, and his Words of affection were few and hurried. AU 




tlie morning of tlie lOtli lie was closeted with liis nuinager, and 
before dinner lie wrote to Lafayette the first letter that he had 
dated at Monnt Vernon since early in May, 1775, saying, '-We 
are thus far on onr way to you. The Count de Rochanibeau has 
just arrived. General Chastellux will be here, and we }»ro- 
pose, after resting to-morrow, to be at Fredericksburg on the 
night of the 12th. The 13th we shall reach New Castle ; and, 
the next day, we expect to have the pleasure of seeing you 
at your encampment." These calculations were correct ; they 
arrived at the camp of Lafayette, at Williamsburg, on the 
evening of the 14th. 

Rochanibeau and Chastellux were guests worthy of such a 
host. The former was of a noble Vendome family. He was 


of medium height, slender in form, and then fifty-six years of 
age. lie had been aide-de-camp to the Duke of Orleans, five- 
andthirty years belbre, and had gained many laurels on the 
fields of battle, especially on that of Minden, wdiich occurred a 
few mouths after Washington liad taken his biide to Mount 
Vernon. A fine picture of that battle hung u})on the walls at 
Mount Vernon for many years, and is now at Arlington House. 
Whether it was there to delight the eyes of Rochambeau on 
this occasion is a question that may not now be solved. 

Rochambeau had come to America at the head of a large 
army, to assist the struggling colonists to cast off the Britisli 
yoke. He came wuth the title of lieutenant-general, but, 
according to previous arrangement by the French court, he 
was to be second to Washington in command. He assisted 
nobly at the siege of Yorktown, where, little more than a 
month after tins visit at Mount Vernon, Coi-nwallis and a 
large arriiy surrendered to the allied forces. He returned to 
France, was made a field-marshal by the king, but was called 
to much suft'ering during the French Revolution. Bonaparte 
granted him a pension and the cross of grand ofiicer of the 
legion of honor, in 1803. Four years afterward he died at the 
age of eighty-two. 

De Chastellux was a much younger man than Rochambeau, 
heavier in person, very vivacious, fond of company, and exhib- 
ited all the elegances of manner of the older French nobility, 
to which class he belonged. He came to America with Roch- 
ambeau, but seems not to have been confined to the army, 
though bearing the title of major-general ; for during the two 
years he was here, he travelled very extensively, and made 
notes and observations. These he printed on board the French 



fleet — only twentv-fonr copies — for distrilmtion amoni^ liis 
friends; but a few years afterward they were traiislnted and 
published in two volumes, by an Ena^lish traveller. 



De Chastellux was the life of every company into which he 
was introduced, while in tliis country, and he left a very 
pleasant impression at Mount Vernon. In the library there, 
where he was entertained in the autumn of 1781, Washini^ton 
Avrote to him a playful letter in the spring of 1787, after 
receiving from the marquis an account of his marriage to an 
accomplished lady, a relative of the lL)uke of Orleans. " I 
saw," wrote Washington, "by the eulogium you often made 


Oil tlie lia])})iiiess of domestic life in America, tliat you had 
swallowed the l)ait, and that you would as surely be taken, 
one day or anotlier, as that you were a philosopher and soldier. 
So your day has at length come. 1 am glad of it, with all my 
heart and soul. It is quite good enough for you. Now j^ou 
are well served for coming to light in favor of the American 
rebels, all the way across the iVtlanlic ocean, by catching that 
terrible contagion — domestic felicity — which, like the smallpox 
or plague, a man can have only once in his life." 

]Je ('hastellux died in 1793, in the midst of the terrible 
storm of the French Revolution, and by it the fortunes of 
himself and wife seem to have been swe})t away, for his widow 
a])plied to Washington, two years afterwai'd, for an allowance 
from our govei'nment, on account of the services of her 
husband, who M'as in active military duty near ISIew York, 
and was in the siege at Yorktown. Her application was 

On the second day after Washington's arrival at Mount 
Vernon — the ele^■enth of September — the fourth anniversary 
of the battle of Brandy wine — the mansion, then not nearly so 
large as now, was crowded with guests; and at dinner were 
met gentlemen and ladies from the country for miles around, 
who had not been at the festive board with the master of the 
feast since the Avar broke out. And there Avere children, too — 
tiny children, whom the master loved as his own, for they 
were the grandchildren of his wife. There were four of these. 
The eldest was a beautiful girl, five years old, who afterward 
married a nephew of Lord Ellenborough ; and the youngest 
was a boy-baby, only six months old, who was afterward 
adopted as the child of Washington, became one of the 


executors of his will, and lived until 1857. These were the 
children of Jolm Parke Oustis and his ttiir young wife, Eleanor 
Calvert, and had all been born during the absence of the 
master from his home at Mount Yernon. 

Here let us pause a moment and look with the eye of fiiith 
in the words of a fellow man, npon the person of the great 
patriot who sat at the head of the feast on that day. The year 
before, a writer in the London Chronicle (an anti-ministerial 
paper), who had seen Washington, thus vividly described him: 

" General Washington is now in the forty-seventh year of 
his age. He is a tall, well-made man, rather large-boned, and 
has a genteel address. His features are manly and bold ; his 
eyes of a bluish cast and very lively ; his hair a deep brown ; 
his face rather long, and marked with the smallpox ; his com- 
plexion sunburnt, and without much color. Plis countenance 
sensible, composed, and thoughtful. There is a remarkable air 
of dignity about him, with a striking degree of gracefulness. 
He has. an excellent understanding, without much quickness; 
is strictly just,, vigilant, and generous; an affectionate husband, 
a faithful friend, a father to the deserving soldier; gentle in 
his manners, in temper reserved ; a total stranger to relig- 
ious prejudices ; in morals irreproachable ; and never known 
to exceed the bounds of the most rigid temperance. In a 
word, all his friends and acquaintances allow that no man ever 
united in his own person a more perfect alliance of the virtues 
of a philosopher with the talents of a general. Candor, sin- 
cerity, affability, and simplicity seem to be the striking features 
of his character; and, when occasion offers, the power of display- 
ing the most determined bravery and independence of spirit.'' 

Domestic felicity and social enjoyment were, at that time, 


secondary coiisidei'atioiis with Washington, and, on the morn- 
ing; of the 12t]i of September, lie dej^arted, witii all his mili- 
tary guests, from his delightful dwelling-phice, journeyed to 
Fredericksl)urg to embrace his aged mother and receive her 
l)lessing, and then hastened on toward Yorktown, where Corn- 
wallis had intrenched himself with a view of overrunning 

There was great sorrow at Mount Vernon on the morning of 
the departure of the master. It was a grief to the devoted wife 
to part so soon from her husband, who was on his way to battle, 
perhaps to death ; but more poignant washer grief as a mother, 
for John Pai'ke Custis, her only surviving child, in whom her 
fondest earthly affections were centred, followed Washington 
to the field as his aide-de-camp. He was then in the flush of 
manhood, eight-and-twenty years of age, and full of promise, 
lie was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses, and very 
popular wherever known. He now went out to battle, for the 
first time, leaving his wife and children and his fond mother 
in the pleasant home at Mount Vernon, with every material 
comfort around them, but with hearts filled with sadness, and 
spirits agitated with anxiety and apprehension. 

Oh, how eagerly did those wives and mothers at Mount Ver- 
non watch for the courier who daily brought intelligence from 
the camp ! At length there came a messenger ^vith tidings 
which produced mingled joy and alarm. He came to tell of 
a triumph at Yorktown, and of mortal sickness at Eltham, 
thirty miles from the field where victory had been won. At 
Yorktown, the allied armies, after a siege of twelve days, liad 
compelled Cornwall is to surrender, with all his army, seven 
thousand strong. 


Joy was awakened all over the laud as intelligence of this 
glorious e-\'eut was spread, by swift couriers, truin hamlet to 
hamlet, from village to village, from city to city. The name 
of Washington was upon every lip, as the Benefactor, the Lib- 
erator, the Saviour of his country. And there was peculiar joy 
and pride at Mount Vernon, when, at early dawn on a frosty 
morning, a messenger brought the intelligence that prophesied 
of peace and the speedy return of the loved ones to the safety 
and repose of domestic life. 

But, as w^e have said, the same messenger brought intelligence 
that produced serious alarm, and preparations were immediately 
made at Mount Vernon, for a journey. Young Custis was very 
sick with camp fever at the house of Colonel Bassett, the husband 
of his mother's sister, at Eltham. His mother and wife were 
soon upon the road ; and, in an agony of suspense, they urged 
the postillion to increase the sjjeed of his horses. When they 
arrived at Eltham, all hope for the loved one's recovery had 

Washington had sent his old and faithful friend, Doctor 
Craik, to attend the sufferer, and as soon as his arrangements 
at Yorktown could be completed, the chief followed. He 
arrived at Eltham " time enough" he wTote to Lafayette, " to 
see poor Mr. Custis breathe his last." Li that hour the young 
wife was made a widow, and the mistress of Mount Vernon a 
childless woman. The great man bowed his head in deep sor- 
row, while his tears flowed freely. Then he spoke soothing 
words to the widowed mother, and said, " Your two younger 
children I adopt as my own." These were Eleanor Parke 
Custis and George Washington Parke Custis, the former two 
years and six months of age, and the latter only six months. 



They both lived bevoiid the age of threescore and ten, and 
Eleanor was considered one of the most beautiful and brilliant 
women of her day. She married Lawrence Lewis, the fsivorite 
ne})hew of Washington. The nuptials were celebrated on the 


' > — \ t\^ 


chiefs birthday, 1799. Three days before, Washington, as her 
foster-father, wrote from Mount Vernon to the clerk of Fairfax 
county court, saying: 

" Sir : You will ])lease to grant a license for the marriage of 
Eleanor Parke Custis with Lawrence Lewis, and this shall be 
yonr authority for so doing." 

Tlie portrait of this beautiful lady, from which our engraving 


is copied, was painted at Philadelphia bj Gilbert Stuart. It 
adorned the mansion at Mount Vernon for several years, and 
is preserved with care among tlie AVashington treasures of 
Arlington House. 

Late in the autumn of 1781, Washington again visited Mount 
Vernon for a brief season. It was when he was on his journey 
to Philadelphia, in November, bearing the laurels of a victor. 
He was accompanied as far as Fredericksburg by a large 
retinue of American and French officers ; and there, after an 
interview with his mother, he attended a ball given in honor 
of the occasion. The aged matron went with him to the 
assembly, and astonished the French officers by the plainness 
of her apparel and the quiet simplicity of her manners, for tliey 
expected to see the mother of the great chief distinguished by 
a personal disj^lay such as they had been accustomed to be- 
liold among the families of the great in their own country. 
They thought of the Dowager Queen of France, of the brilliant 
Mane Antoinette, and the high-born dames of the court of 
Louis the Sixteenth, and could not comprehend the vision. 

Washington retired with his mother from the gay scene at 
an early hour, for there was grief in his heart because of the 
death of his beloved Custis ; and, the next morning, attended 
by two aides and Billy, he rode to Mount Vernon. His stay 
there was brief. Public duties beckoned him forward. " I 
shall remain but a few days here," he wrote to General Greene, 
"and shall proceed to Philadelphia, when I shall attempt to 
stimulate Congress to the best improvement of our late success, 
by taking the most vigorous and eifectual measnres to be ready 
for an early and decisive campaign tlie next year." 

Happily for the country, no other campaign of active mill- 

1 1 G M U N T V E R N N 

tary operations was needed ; and, in tlie course of a few months, 
the war was virtually at an end. The desire for peace, whicli 
had long burned in the bosom of the Jintish people, now found 
such potential expression, as to be heeded by the British 
ministry. The intelligence of the fate of Cornwallis and his 
army had fallen with all the destructive energy of a bomb- 
shell in the midst of the war party in parliament. When Lord 
North, the ])remier, heard of it, he paced the room violently, 
and, throwing his arms wildly about, exclaimed, " O God ! it 
is all over ! it is all over !" The stoutest declaimer in favor of 
bayonets and gunpowder, Indian and German mercenaries, as 
lit instruments for enslaving a free people, began to talk of the 
expediency of peace ; and at length, by mutual consent, com- 
missioners were appointed by the contending parties to treat for 
peace on the basis of the independence of the United States. 
■'lliey were successful; and, early in the spring of 1783, the 
joyful news, that a treaty had been signed at Paris, reached 
America, by the French ship Trioinphe, sent for the purpose, 
by Count d'Estaing, at the request of Lafayette. 

Washington was then, with his wife, at ISTewburgh, the head- 
(puirters of the continental army, liappy in having just frus- 
trated a scheme of some officers to produce a general mutiny 
among the discontented soldiers. The intelligence came to 
him in dispatches from Robert R. Livingston, the Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs, and also in a letter from Alexander Hamilton, 
and other New York delegates in Congress. It was hailed 
by the chief with joy, and he immediately wrote the fol- 
lowing letter to Governor Clinton, wliicli is copied from the 
original manuscript, now in the archives cf the state of New 


"Head-Quarters, March 27, 1783. 
"Dear Sir : — I take the first moment of forwarding to your 
Excellency the dispatches from the Secretary of Foreio-n 
AflTairs, which accompany this. They contain, I presume, all 
the intelligence respecting Peace, on which great and glorious 
event permit me to congratulate you with the greatest 

Upon the envelope bearing the superscription, Washing 
ton wrote in large letters, wdth a broad dash under it — 

What a glorious w^ord ! What joy must have filled the 
lieart of the commander-in-chief when he wrote that woi'd I 
What dreams of repose upon the Potomac, in the quiet shades 
of his beautiful home must have been presented to his vision 
at that time ! But many weary months were yet to intervene 
before he could see his beloved Mount Yernon. 

It was not until the 1st of ISTovember following that all ar- 
rangements for the departure of the British army from our 
shores were completed. 

The American army, by a general order of Congress, on 
the 3d of November, was disbanded, except a small force 
retained under a definite enlistment, until a peace establish- 
ment should be organized ; and, on the 25th of that month, 
the British evacuated the city of JSTew York — their last 
resting-place upon the soil of the United States— went on 
board their ships, and sailed for Nova Scotia and Europe, 
with a large number of loyalists. 

On the 4th of December Washington parted with his 
oflicers at Fraunces' tavern in New York, and then proceeded 


toward Annapolis, where Congress was sitting, to resign into 
their hands his commission as commander-in-chief of the 
armies of the United States, wliich had been given him eiglit 
years and six months Lefore. He stopped at Phihidelphia. 
and presented his accounts to the proper fiscal officers, and 
arrived at Annapolis on Friday, the 19th, where lie was 
;joined by Mrs. AVashington and many warm personal friends. 
On Monday he was present at a dinner ordered by the Con- 
gress, at which more than two hundred persons were seated ; 
and tliat evening he opened a gi'and ball given in his honor, 
with Mrs. James Macubb'.n, one of the most beautiful women 
of her time. 

At twelve o'clock on the 23d Washington entered the 
hall of Congress in the old State House at Annapolis, ac- 
cording to previous arrangement, and, in the presence of a 
great concourse of people, presented his resignation to General 
Thomas Mifflin, the president of that body, accompanying the 
act by a brief speech. This M'as responded to by Mifflin. The 
great Leader of the Continental Armies, now a private citizen, 
retired, followed by the audience ; and the curtain fell upon 
the last solemn act in the great drama of the war for independ- 

Washington now hastened to Mount Yernon, accompanied 
by many friends, as an escort of honor, among whom was 
Colonel Walker, one of the aides of the Baron Steuben, by 
whose hand he sent a letter to Governor Clinton, the first 
which he wrote at his home after his retirement. In it he 
said : " The scene is at last closed. I am now a private citizen 
on the banks of the Potomac. I feel myself eased of a load of 
public cai'e. I hope to spend the remainder of my days in 



cultivating the afFections of good men, and in the practice of 
tlie domestic virtues." 

It was on Christmas eve, 1783, that Washington, a private 
citizen, arrived at Mount Vei'non, and laid aside forever the 


military clothes which he had worn perhaps through more than 
half the campaigns of the war just ended. Around them chis- 
tered many interesting associations, and they were preserved 
with care during the remaining sixteen years of his life. And 
they are still preserved, in a condition almost as perfect as 
when the illustrious owner hung them in his wardrobe for the 

120 M U N T V K U N N 

last time. They are in a glass case, with otlier ineineTitos of 
the Father of his Country, in the great model hall of the 
Patent Office at Washington city. The coat is made of deep 
blue cloth, faced with bufi, with large plain gilt buttons. The 
waistcoat and breeches a.e made of the same kind of buff 
cloth as the facings of the coat. 

On the same occasion, Washington laid aside his battle- 
sword which he had worn throughout all the later years of 
the war. It, too, hung at Mount Vernon for almost twenty 
years, and is carefully preserved in the same glass case in the 
Patent Office. It is a kind of hanger, incased in a black 
leather scabbard, with silver mountings. The handle is ivory, 
colored a pale green, and wound in spiral grooves with thin 
silver wire. It was manufactured by J. Bailey, in Fishkill, 
Dutchess county. New York, and has the maker's name 
engraved upon the blade. The belt is of white leather, 
mounted with silver, and was doubtless used by Washington 
in the old French w^ar, for upon a silver plate attached to it 
is engraved " 1757." 

With this sword, is a long, knotty, black cane, with a golden 
head, which was bequeathed to Washington by Doctor Frank- 
lin, in the following clause in the codicil to his will : 

."My fine crab-tree walking-stick, with a gold head curiously 
wrought in the form of a cap of liberty, I give to my friend, 
and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were 
a sceptre, he has merited it, and would become it. It was a 
present to me from that excellent woman, Madame de For- 
bach, the dowager Duchess of Deuxponts, connected with some 
verses which should go with it." 

These "verses" have been lost, and for them we will substi- 



tute the beautiful ode, by Moriis, alluding to these j^reeious 
relics, entitled 



"The sword of the Hero! 

The staff of the Sage ! 
Whose valor and wisdom 

Are stamp'd on ths age ! 
Time-hallowed mementos 

Of those who have riven 
The sceptre from tyrants, 

' The lightning from heaven.' 


"This weapon, Freedom! 

Was drawn by thy son, 

And it never was sheath'd 

Till the battle was won! 

No stain of dishonor 

Upon it we see ! 
'Twas never surrender'd — 
Except to the free 1 


" While Fame claims the liero 

And patriot sage, 
Their names to emblazon 

On History's page, 
No holier relics 

Will Liberty hoard. 
Than Franklin's staff, guarded 

By Washington's sword." 

In the same glass case are other interesting relics of "Wasli- 
ington, the most conspicuous of which is his camp-chest, an 
old-fashioned hair trunk, twenty-one inches in length, fifteen 
in width, and ten in depth, filled with the table furniture used 
by the commander-in-chief during the war. The compart- 


uients are so ingeniously arranged, that they contain a great 
number of articles in a small space. These consist of a 
gridiron ; a tea and coffee pot ; three tin saucepans (one 


movable handle being used for all) ; five small glaSs flasks, 
used for honey, salt, coffee, port-wine, and vinegar; three large 
tin meat dishes ; sixteen plates ; two knives and live forks; a 
(candlestick and tinder-box ; tin boxes for tea and sugar, and 
five small bottles for pepper and other materials for making 

Washington alluded to the tin plates in this camp-chest, in 
the followinii: letter to Doctor John Cochran, suri^-eon-s-eneral 
of the northern dei>artnient of the continental army, written at 
West Point on the 16th of August, 1779 : 


"Dear Doctor:—! have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. 
Livingston to dine with me to-morrow ; but am I not in lionor 
bonnd to apprise them of their tare? As I liate deception, 
even where the imagination only is concerned, I will. It is 
needless to premise that my table is large enough to hold the 
ladies. Of this they had ocular proof yesterday. To say how 
it is usually covered is rather more essential ; and this shall he 
the purport of my letter. 

''Since our arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, 
sometimes a shoulder of bacon, to grace the head of the table ; 
a piece of roast beef adorns the foot ; and a dish of beans, or 
greens, almost imperceptible, decorates the centre. When the 
cook has a mind to cut a figure, which I ])resume will be the 
case to-morrow, we have two beef-steak pies, or dishes of 
crabs, in addition, one on each side of the centre dish, dividing 
the space and reducing the distance between dish and dish to 
about six feet, which, without them, would be nearly twelve 
teet apart. Of late he has had the surprising sagacity to dis- 
cover that apples will make pies ; and it is a question if, in the 
violence of his efforts, we do not get one of apples, instead of 
having both of beef-steaks. If the ladies can put up with sucli 
entertainment, and will submit to partake of it on plates once 
tin hut now iron (not become so by the labor of scourint>-), I 
shall be happy to see them ; and am, dear doctor, vours, &c., 

" Geo. Washington." 

Later in the war, Washington had a pair of plain silver 
goblets, with his crest engraven upon them, which he used in 
his tent. These were the only examples of a departure from 
that rigid economy which he exhibited in all his personal 



SILVEIi CA.M1>-(;()1JI.1,T. 

arrangements while in the army, not because lie was parsimo- 
iiions, but because he wished to set an example of plainness 
and self-denial to all around him. These goblets are now used 

in the family of Colonel Lee at 
Arlington House. 

What a contrast do these 
simple table arrangements, and, 
indeed, all the movements and 
;^^ appointments of the great Re- 
^s^ publican Leader, present t(j 
those of the generals of the old 
world, and of those of antiquity 
in pai'ticular, whose achieve- 
ments for the benefit of mankind, placed in the scale of just 
appreciation, are small compared with his. 

After the victory at Yorktown, the manpiee and tent used 
by Washington were folded np and placed in the leathern 
portmanteau in which they were carried, and were never again 
spread upon the field in camp, siege, or battle. They were 
made by Captain Moulder, of Philadelphia, who commanded a 
corps of artillery in the battle at Princeton. The marquee 
was used for general purposes — for the reception of visitors, 
consultations of officers, dining, et cetera — and the smaller 
tent was for more private uses. Li the latter Washington 
retired for meditation, and wrote his letters and dispatches for 
his secretaries to copy ; and in one part of it M-as a dormitory, 
wherein he sle])t. It composed the private apartment of his 
canvas dwelling upon the field, and few were allowed to 
enter it. 

What a history is involved in the ex]K'rience of that tent I 


lluw many important dispatches were written within it, 
upon the little writing-case, or portfolio, that was presented to 
President Taylor by Washington's adopted son, and by him 
deposited, with other mementos of the great Leader, in the 


Patent Office, where it is well preserved ! How many anxious 
hours did that great Leader pass beneath the narrow canopy 
of that tent? How often, during that long war, did the forms 
of Reed, and Hai'rison, and Hamilton, and Tilghman, and 
Meade, and LIumphreys darken the door of that tent as they 
passed in and out with messages and dispatches to and from 
the illustrious chief! 

And in the large marquee, what a noble band of mighty 
men — mighty in moral force — among the noblest the world 
ever saw — were gathered in council from time to time, and 
determined those movements which achieved the independence 
of these states ! Li it, too, many distinguished men sat at the 
tal)le of the chief — members of the old congresses ; foreigners 
of note in diplomacy and war ; and last, Cornwallis as captive 
and guest, after his humiliation at Yorktown. It was quite 
spacious, and, when fully spread, one hundred guests might 
conveniently dine beneath its ample roof. 

That marquee and tent, wrapped in the old portmanteau, 
with the poles and cords as they were taken from the battle- 


M U N T V E R N N 

field, are at Arlington House. Tlic former has been spread 
occasionally for peaceful purposes. For several years Mr. 
CXistis, who was much interested in the improvement of the 
breeds of shee|), liad annual gatherings of the friends of 
agriculture and manufactures at a fine spring on his estate, 
near the banks of the Potomac, in the early days of May. On 

■Washington's tents in their poutmanteaux. 

these occasions the old marquee would be erected, and some- 
times nearly two hundred guests would assemble under it to 
partake of refreshments. These " sheep-shearings at Arlington 
Spring " are remembered with pleasure by the surviving parti- 

When Lafayette was in this country, in 1824 and '25, as 
the guest of the natiou, that marquee was used at Baltimore by 
the Socu'fy of the Chicinnati^ for the purpose of receiving the 
Illustrious Friend as the guest of that fraternity — a fraternity 
of which he had been a member ever since its formation on 
the banks of the Hudson, more than forty years before. On 
that occasion Colonel John Eager Howard, one of the heroes 
of the Cowpens, presided ; and Charles Carroll, who soon after- 


Maid had the proud distinction of being the last survivor of 
the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was a guest, 
xlud twice since that memorable reception, that war-tent, so 
often spread upon the line of march and on the battle-field, 
has been used in the service of the Prince of Peace. On these 
occasions it was pitched in green fields in the midst of beauty 
and repose, and thousands came and willingly paid liberal 
tribute for tlie privilege of sitting under tlie Tent of Washin(;- 
TON. Two churches were erected with the proceeds. 

We have just alluded to the Society of the Cincinnati. It 
is a fraternity originally composed of officers of the Revolution, 
and was formed a little while before the disbanding and dis- 
persion of the Continental Army. Its chief object was the 
perpetuation and occasional renewal of the long-cherished 
friendship and social intercourse which had existed between 
the officers of the army. Tlie idea originated with General 
Knox. He communicated it to Washington, who not only 
approved of it, but gave the eff'orts to form a society upon 
such a basis of i'ee^.ing, his cordial co-operation. 

It was in the spring of 1783 that the Society of the Cincin- 
nati was formed. The head-quarters of the army were then at 
ISTewburgh. A committee, composed of Generals Knox, Hand, 
and Huntington, and the accomplished Captain Shaw, was 
appointed to arrange a plan ; and, on the 13th of May, at the 
quarters of the Baron Steuben, in Fishkill, nearly opposite 
Newburgh, they reported a form which was adopted as the 
constitutional organization of the society. After referring to 
the war for independence, and the separation of the colonies 
from Great Britain, the objects of the society were stated in 
the fol'owinof words : 


" To perpetuate, therefore, as well the remeinbrance of this 
vast event, as the mutual friendships which have been formed 
under the pressure of common danger, and in many instances 
cemented by the blood of the parties, the officers of the Amer- 
ican army do hereby, in the most solemn manner, associate, 
constitute, and combine themselves into one society of friends, 
to endure so long as they shall endure, or any of their eldest 
male posterity, and in failure thereof, the collateral branches, 
who may be judged worthy of becoming its supporters and 

As the officers of the army were chiefly Americans, and were 
about to return to their citizenship, they appropriately named 
the society, in honor of the illustrious Koman, Lucius Quintius 
Cincinnatus, whose example they were about to imitate. They 
resolved that the following principles should form the basis of 
the society : 

1. " An incessant attention to preserve inviolate those ex- 
alted rights and liberties of human nature for which they 
have fought and bled, and without which the high rank of a 
rational being is a curse instead of a blessing. 

2. " An unalterable determination to promote and cherish, 
between the respective states, that unison and national honor 
so essentially necessary to their happiness and the future dig- 
nit}^ of the American empire. 

?>. " To render permanent the cordial affection subsisting 
among the officers, tliis spirit will dictate brotherly kindness in 
all tilings, and particularly extend to the most substantial acts 
of beneficence, according to the ability of the society, toward 
those officers and their families who unfortunately may be 
under the necessity of receiving it." 



For the sake of frequent communication, the association was 
divided into state societies, to meet annually on the 4th of 
Julj, or oftener if they should find it expedient. The society 
also adopted an Order l)y which 
its members should be known and 
distinguished. It is composed of 
a medal of gold with proper em- 
blems, " suspended by a deep-blue 
ribbon two inches wide, edged 
with white, descriptive of the 
union of America with France." 

A representation of the Order, 
full size, is seen in the engraving. 
The leaves of the olive branches 
are of gold and green enamel ; the 
head and tail of the eagle gold 
and white enamel ; and the sky in 
tlie centre device (which is a fac- 
simile of one of the medallions on 
the certificate of membership), is 
blue enamel. 

The French officers who served 
in the continental army presented 
to "Washington an elegant Order, 
studded with precious stones, about 
two hundred in number. The 
leaves of the olive branches and 
wreath are composed of emeralds, the berries of ruby, and the 
beak of the eagle amethyst. Above the eagle is a group of 
military emblems — flags, drums, and cannon — surrounding a 




ribbon, upon which are inscribed the words: " Pkesented, in 


General Washington." Tliis also is studded Avith precious 
stones. Above it is a bow of moire antique rihhow, of light-bhie 
color, with white edges. This jewel is at present [18r>!}J in the 
possession of the Honorable Hamilton Fish, of j^ew York, 

president of the Society of the 

The Society had a certifi- 
cate of nierubersliip engraved 
in France, l)y J. J. Le Veaii, 
from a drawing l)y Aug. Le 
Belle. It occupies a space 
thirteen and a half inches in 
width and twenty inches in 
length, and was printed on 
fine vellum. The engraving 
upon the next page is a fac- 
simile on a I'educed scale. 
The design represents Amer- 
ican liberty as a strong man 
armed, bearing in one hand 
the Union flag, and in the 
other a naked sword. Beneath 
his feet are British flags, and 
a broken spear, shield, and chain. Hovering by his side is the 
eagle, our national cnd)leni, from whose talons the lightning 
of destruction is flashing upon the British lion. Britannia, 
with the crown falling from her head, is hastening toward a 
boat to escape to a fleet, which denotes the departure of British 




'^1^ r r 
'k 5 r 


power from our shores. Upon a cloud, on tlie right, is an 
angel blowing a trumpet, from which fluttgrs a loose scroll. 
Upon the scroll are the sentences : Palam nuntiata lihertas, 
A. D. 1776. Fijedus sociale Gum Gallia^ A. D. 1778. Pax: 
libertas pai'ta^ A.I). 1783 — "Independence declared, A. T>. 
1776. Treaty of alliance with France declared, A. D. 1778. 
Peace! independence obtained, A. D. 1783." 

Upon the medallion on the right is a device representing 
Cincinnatus at his plow, a ship on the sea, and a walled town 
in the distance. Over his head is a flying angel, holding a 
ribbon inscribed : Virtutis jpratniuTn y " Reward of virtue." 
Below is a heart, with the words: Edo perj^etua j "Be thou 
l^erpetual." Upon the rim is the legend : Societas Cinoinna- 
iorum InHtiiuta A. D. MBCCLXXXIII. ; "Society of. the 
Cincinnati, instituted 1783." The device upon the medallion 
on the left is Cincinnatus, with his family, near his house. He 
is receiving a sword and shield from three senators : an army 
is seen in the distance. Upon the rim are the words : Omnia 
relinqui tservare rempxihlica'm ; " He abandons every thing to 
serve his country " (referring to Cincinnatus). 

Washington was chosen the first president-general of the 
Society of the Cincinnati, and General Henrj- Knox the secre- 
tary. The former remained in office until his death, a period 
of sixteen years, and was succeeded by General Alexander 
Hamilton. All of the certificates given to the original mem- 
bers, like the one delineated in the engraving, were filled up 
and signed by Washington, at Mount Yernon. 

We have observed that it was Clmstmas eve when Wash- 
ington arrived at Mount Yernon from Annapolis, once more a 
private citizen. What a glad Christmas was that for all in 


that pleasant home on the banks of the Potomac-'! It was a 
Christmas to be specially remembered by the retired soldier. 
It was a day long hoped for by him when engaged in the 
mighty labors of his official station. Rest, rest he often sighed 
for, and now the elements seemed to sympathize in his great 
desire. An intensely severe winter closed almost every avenue 
to Mount Vernon, and even neighborly intercourse was sus- 
pended. Washington had rest in abundance. To Lafayette 
he wrote on the lirst of February following his retirement: 
"On the eve of Christmas I entered these doors an older man 
by near nine yeai'S, than when 1 left them. Since that period, 
we have been fast locked up in frost and snow, and excluded 
in a manner from all kinds of intercourse." 

" I have not only retired from all public employments," he 
added, " but I am retiring within myself, and shall be able to 
view the solitary walks, and tread the paths of private life 
with heartfelt satisfaction. Envious of none, I am determined 
to be pleased with all ; and this, my dear friend, being the 
order of my march, I will move gently down the stream of 
life, until I sleep with my fathers." 

And yet, even in that perfect retirement, it was several 
weeks before "Washington could entirely divest his mind of the 
burden of solicitude for public affairs. To General Knox he 
wrote on the 20th of February: "I am just beginning to 
experience that ease and freedom from public cares, which, 
however desirable, takes some time to realize ; for strange as it 
may seem, it is nevertheless true, that it was not till lately I 
could get the better of my usual custom of ruminating, as soon 
as I waked in the morning, on the business of the ensuing day ; 
and of my surprise at finding, after revolving man}' things in 


my mind, that I was no longer a pul>lie man, nor had any 
thing to do with public transactions. 

" I feel now, however, as I conceive a wearied traveller 
must do, who, after treading manv a painful step with a heavy 
burden on his shoulders, is eased of the latter, having I'eached 
the haven to which all the former were directed ; and from his 
house-top is looking back, and tracing with an eager eye the 
meanders by which he escaped the quicksands and mires 
which lay in his way ; and into which none but the all-power- 
ful Guide and Dispenser of human events could have prevent- 
ed his falling." 

Never had a traveller more cause for serenity of mind and 
perfect gratitude, in the hour of calm retrospection, than 
George Washington at that time ; and also twelve years later, 
when he resigned the helm of the vessel of state into other 
hands, and sought repose for the last time in the shades of 
Mount Vernon. And when he fully realized his relief, his 
social desires, so long repressed, came into full play, and 
renewals of old acquaintance and friendly correspondence took 
place. "Freed from the clangor of arms and the bustle of a 
camp," he wrote to the wife of Lafayette, in April, after 
receiving information that the marquis intended to visit 
America soon — "Freed from the cares of public employment 
and the responsibility of office, I am now enjoying domestic 
ease under the shadow of my own vine and my own fig-tree ; 
and in a small villa, with the implements of husbandry and 
lambkins around me, I expect to glide gently down the stream 
of life, till I am entombed in the mansion of my fathers. * * * 
Come, then, let me entreat you, and call my cottage your 
home ; for your own doors do not open to yon with more 


readiness than mine would. You will see the plain manner in 
which we live, and meet with rustic eivalitj ; and you shall 
taste the simplicit}' of rui-al life. It will diversify the scene, 
and may give you a higher relish for the gaieties of the court, 
when you return to Versailles." 

"My manner of living is plain," he wrote to a friend, "and 
I do not mean to be put out by it. A glass of wine and a bit 
of mutton are always ready, and such as will be content to 
partake of them are always welcome. Those who expect more 
will be disappointed." 

But this modest dream of quietude and simplicity of life was 
not realized. Washington was the central figure of the group 
of great men who had laid the foundations of the republic. To 
him the eyes of the nation were speedily turned for counsel and 
action, for that republic and all its dependent interests were 
soon in peril. He was too great to remain an isolated citizen, 
and men of every degree, his own countrymen and strangers, 
were soon seen upon pilgrimages to Mount Vernon ; and the 
little " villa" was too small to shelter in comfort the many 
guests that often assembled under its roof. 

Washington now took a general survey of all his affairs, and 
turned his thoughts to the improvement of his farms, the en- 
largement of his mansion, and the adornment of the grounds 
around it. These improvements were commenced in tlie spring 
of 1784, and then the construction of the house, in its present 
form was resolved upon. The mansion built by Lawrence 
Washington, and called a "villa" by the general, was of the 
old gable-roofed style, with oidy four rooms upon each floor, as 
M-e have observed. It was about one-third the size of the pres- 
ent building, and in the alteration, it was made to occupy the 


central portion, the two ends having been built at the same 
time. The mansion, when completed by General Wasliington, 
(and as it now appears) was of the most substantial frame- 
work, two stories in height, ninety-six feet in length, thirty 
feet in depth, with a piazza fifteen feet in width, extending 
along the entire eastern or river front, supported by sixteen 
square columns, twenty-five feet in height. Over this piazza 
is a balustrade of a light and pleasing design ; and in tlie 
centre of the roof is an observatory with a small spire. There 
are seven dormer windows in the roof, three on the eastern 
side, one on each end, and two on the western or lawn side. 

The ground floor of the house contains six rooms, with a 
spacious passage in the centre of the building, extending 
through it from east to west. From it a massive staircase 
ascends to the chambers. The rooms and the passage are 
all wainscoted, and have large worked cornices; and they 
present to the eye the appearance of great solidity. On the 
south side of the passage is a parlor, and the library and break- 
fast-room of Washington, from which a narrow staircase 
ascends to his private study on the second floor. On the north 
side of the passage are a reception-room and parlor, and a large 
drawing-room, in which, when there was much company, the 
guests were sometimes entertained at table. These apartments 
and their present appearance and uses we will consider else- 

Near the mansion, a substantial kitchen on one side, and 
store-room and laundry on the other, were built, and these 
were connected with the dwelling by very neat open colon- 
nades, each with roof and pavement ; and, at a little distance 
from them, two other strong buildings were erected for house- 




servants' quarters. The mansion, tlie kitchen and store-house, 
with tlie connecting colonnades, and tlie servants' quarters, all 
remain, and exhibit the same external appearance which they 
bore when Washing-ton left them. Tiiese may be best seen 
from the lawn that spreads out before the western front of the 
mansion, which is first approached by visitors in carriages, 
there being no road for horses upon the grounds before the 

In the prosecution of these inqjrovements Washington was 
his own architect, and drew every plan and specification 
for the workmen with his own hand. Every measurement 


was calculated and indicated with exactness ; and in even- 
ai-rangenientfor his home, he appears to have mad^i convenicrwe 
and durability the prime objects of his care. Tlie following 
letter to Mj". William Riimnej, of Alexandria (who had been 
an aide to General Charles Lee at one time during the lievolu- 
tion), will give an idea of the carefulness and forethought of 
Washington in the management of his affairs. Mr. Rumney 
was then about to leave for England : 

"General Washington presents his compliments to Mr. Rum- 
ney — would esteem it as a particular favor if Mr. Rumney 
would make the following enquiries as soon as convenient aftei' 
his arrival in England, and communicate the result of them by 
the Packet, or any other safe and expeditious conveyance to 
this country. 

" 1st. The terms upon which the best kind of Whitehaven 
flag-stone — black and white in equal quantities — could 
be delivered at the Port of Alexandria, by the superficial 
foot, — workmanship, freight, and every other incidental 
charge included. The stone to be 2|- Inches, or there- 
abouts, thick ; and exactly a foot square — each kind. To 
have a rich polished face, and good joints so as that a neat 
floor may be made therewith. 
" 2nd. Upon what terms the common Irish Marble (black 
and white if to be had) — same dimensions, could be 
delivered as above. 
" 3rd. As the General has been informed of a verj^ cheap 
kind of Marble, good in quality, at or in the neighborhood 
of Ostend, he would thank Mr. Rumney, if it should fall 
in his way, to institute an enquiry into this also. 
" On the Report of Mr. Rumney, the Genei-al Avill take his 


ultimate determination ; for which reason he prays hiin to be 
precise and exact. The Piazza or Colonnade, for which this is 
wanted as a floor, is ninety-two feet eight inches, by twelve 
feet eight inches within the margin, or border that surrounds 
it. Over and above the quantity here mentioned, if the above 
Flags are clieap — or a cheaper kind of hard Stone could be 
had, he would get as much as would lay floors in the Circular 
Colonnades, or covered ways at the wings of the House — each 
of which at the outer curve, is 38 feet in length by 7 feet 2 
Inches in breadth, witliin the margin or border as aforesaid. 

"The General being in want of a House Joiner & Bricklayer 
who understand their respective trades perfectly, w^ould thank 
Mr. Eumney for enquiring into the terms upon which such 
workmen might be engaged for two or three years (the time 
of service to commence upon the ship's arrival at Alexandria) ; 
a shorter term than two years would not answer, because 
foreigners generally have a seasoning, wliich with other inter- 
ruptions too frequently waste the greater part of the first year 
— more to the disadvantage of the employer than the Em- 
ployed. — Bed, board & Tools to be found by the former, cloth- 
ing by the latter. 

" If two men of the above Trades and of orderly and quiet 
deportment could be obtained for twenty-five or even tliirty 
pounds sterling per annum each (estimating the dollar at 
4s. 6d.), the General, rather than sustain the loss of Time neces- 
sary for communication would be obliged to Mr, Rumney for 
entering into proper obligatory articles of agreement on his 
behalf with them and sending tliem by the first vessel bound 
to this Port. "Geo, WAsmNoxoN. 

"Mount Yernon, July 5, 1784," 


MOUNT V l'] R N N 

The pavcmcnt-stone procured 


tlirougli Mr. Rumney, in ac- 
cordance with the foregoing 
order, still exists beneath the 
grand piazza and the colon- 
nades, hut in a dilapidated 
state. Many of the blocks 
are gone, others are broken, 
and all show abrasion by 
footsteps and the elements. 
Many of the carpenter's 
tools, imported from Eng- 
land at that time by Wash- 
ington, for the use of his 
workmen, are preserved. 

Washington was very fond 
of planting trees and shrub- 
bery ; and his diaries show 
that he was much engaged 
in that business in ITS-i and 
1785. lie went to the woods 
almost every day to select 
and mark young trees for 
transplanting to the grounds 
around the mansion, and 
he generally superintended 
their removal. 

In the rear of the man- 
sion, Washington laid out a 
fine lawn, upon a level sur- 
face, which comprises about 




A The Mansion. 

B Oval Grass-plot. 

C The Lawn 

D D Flowcr-gavden. 

EE Vegetable Garden. 

F F Kitchen and Laundry 

G G House-servants" Quarters. 

II H Circular Colonnades. 

1 I Water closets. 

J J Seed-houses. 

K Carriapp-way as finally laid out. 

L Outsifle Road. 


twenty acres. Around it he made a sei'])entine carriage-way ; 
and he planted a great variety of shade trees ii})on each side of 
it. Upon one side of tlie lawn he formed a spacious flower- 
garden, and npon the other an ecpTally spacious vegetable gar- 
den, and these were })Ianted with tlie greatest care, according 
to the minute directions of the master. I have befoi-c me the 
original plan of these grounds, made by Washington's own 
hands. It is very carefully drawn. The exact position and 
the name of every tree to be planted, are laid down. With it is 
a section-drawing, on a larger scale, showing the ])r()posed car- 
riage-way around the lawn, the names of a large number of 
trees that were to adorn it, and the places of others indicated by 
letters and numerals, which are explained by a memorandum. 
Directly before the western front an oval grass-plot w^as designed, 
with a dial-post in the centre, and a carriage-way around it. 

The lawn, the oval grass-plot, and the gardens were laid out 
according to the plan drawn by Washington, and remain 
unchanged in form. Quite a large number of trees, planted 
along the margins of the carriage-%vay, at that time, are yet 
there, and are noble specimens of their kind. Many others 
have decayed and passed away ; and, in some instances, quite 
large trees now stand where others were planted by the hand 
of Washington three-quarters of a century ago. 

In each garden Washington erected small houses, of octag- 
onal form, for the storage of seeds and implements of hor- 
ticulture. These are yet standing. The lower portion of each 
is of brick, and the remainder of plank, wrought so as to 
resemble blocks of stone. These garden-houses, and water- 
closets of similar form and dimensions, standing on the borders 
of the garden near the mansion, are now [1859] fallen into 



U Ai^DliiS -IIU L'SK . 

almost hopeless decay. The massive brick walls around both 
gardens remain in perfect preservation. 

On the north side of the flower-garden Washington erected 
quite an extensive conservatory for plants, into which he col- 
lected many rare exotics. Some of them were presented to 
liim as testimonials of esteem, and others were purchased at 
the garden of John Bartram, near Philadelphia. Bartram 
was a member of the Society of Friends, and an eminent 
l)otanist. He had died during the Revolution, leaving his 
business in the able hands of his son William, who, in 1791, 
published a most interesting account of his botanical explora- 
tions through the Southern states of our Union. 



A few tropical plants found their way to the Potomac oc- 
(^asionally, upon vessels from the West Indies. Among the 
latter, on one occasion, were some fine lemon-trees of large 


growth, and from them "Washington selected two or three. 
Others were propagated from these by cuttings, until, at the 
time of his death, they had become quite a grove in one end 
of the conservatory. Only one of these now remains. It was 
standing in the flower-garden when I was there in 1858, by 
the side of a fine century-plant, which was sent to Washington 
by a gentleman at Porto Rico, in 1798. The tree is about 
fifteen feet in height ; and, though bearing fruit in abundance, 
shows signs of decay. 

At the junction of two of the principal avenues in the 




flower-garden, I saw one other plant— and only one— that had 
experienced the fostering care of Washington. It was a Sago 
Palm, an East India production, from which is obtained the 
article of domestic use known as pearl sago, a species of fecula 
or starch. It stands in a large tnh in which flowers w«re 
hlooniing; and its tufted leaves, like immense feathers, erowino- 
from the heavy stem seven feet from tlie ground, were fresh 
and beautiful. 

The Lemon Tree, the Century Plant, and the Sago Palm, 
are all that remain of the movable plants which belonged to 
Washington, and were taken from the green-house wlien it 




was destroyed by fire in December, 1835, the same night 
when the destructive element consumed more than five hun- 
dred buildings and other property valued at more than twenty 
millions of dollars, in the city of New York. Tlie fire origi- 
nated in a defective flue connected with the conservatory, and 


that building, with the servants' quarters adjoining it, was laid 
in ashes in the course of a few hours. What plants were 
saved from the flames were mostly destroyed by the frost, for 
it was one of tlie coldest nights on record. 

The conservatory was never rebuilt nor the ruins removed. 
These, now overgrown with vines and shrubs, form a pict- 
uresque garden wall, but lose some of tlieir attractiveness to 
the eye of taste, by the presence of two tall, perpendicular 
chimneys, which are seen above the shrubbery from every 
point of view in the garden. These broken walls, too, strike 
the visitor unpleasantly. Tliey are at the modern carriage 



entrance to Mount Yernon, and are tlie first olijects associated 
with Wasiiington that meet the eye on apj^roachuig the man- 
sion from t]ie public road 



Eastward of the flower-garden, and on the opposite side 
of tlie present entrance to Mount Vernon, Washington con- 
structed an ice-house, after his retirement from public life, at 
the close of his presidency. It was sometliing new in Vir- 
ginia ; indeed, ice-houses were not in very common use else- 
where at that time. It is well preserved, and is finely shaded 
by tall trees, which form a beautiful grove on the north side 
of the mansion. 

Previous to the erection of this ice-house, Washington had 
used, for the purpose of keeping meat, butter, and vegetables 
cool in summer, a large dry-well at the south-east corner of 
the lawn in front of the mansion, just on the brink of the high 
precipitous bank of the river. Into this a descent was made 



by a flight of steps, and over it he erected an elegant summer- 
house, with a spire and iron vane in the form of a crescent. The 
well and the snnnner-house are there, but a part of the walls of 
the former liave fallen in. From the summer-house fine views 



of the Potomac may be obtained, but as the staircase leading 
to it has nearly rotted away, there is difficulty and some danger 
in climbing up into it over the chasm formed by the caving in 
of the side of the well. It was from that suminer-house that 
the sketch was made of the mansion, out-buildings, and lawn, 
with the visitors, as they appear in the frontispiece to this 


I have before me a manuscript memorandum from the hand 
of Washington, in which he notes, in minute detail, the dis- 
tances and directions in feet and inches, and by points of 
compass, of various objects, such as the garden-houses, the 
dial-post, and the dry-well, from the " front door of the man- 
sion," It is interesting, as showing the extreme minuteness 
and accuracy with w^hich Washington kept a record of all his 
operations, and might serve those who are about to restore 
Mount Yernon to its original form and perfection, as an indi- 
cator of points now lost through neglect and decay. 

During the spring and sunnner of 1784, visitors flocked to 
Mount Yernon in great numbers. Many of the companions 
in arms of the beloved chief, of all grades, from general 
officers to private soldiers, went there to pay their respects, and 
enjoy once again sweet intercourse with him under whom they 
had always delighted to serve. 

At length one came who was specially a man after Wash- 
ington's own heart — a young man whom he loved as a son or 
a younger brother. He had been a friend to the Americans 
in their struggle for freedom, and was a friend of mankind. 
That visitor was the Marquis de Lafayette, a distinguished 
scion of an ancient noble family, who, in the summer of 
1776, Mdiile at the table of the commandant of Mentz, in Ger- 
many, with other French officers, heard the Duke of Glouces- 
ter, brother to the King of England, speak of the Declaration 
of Independence just put forth by the Anglo-American colo- 
nies, and of the strong measures adopted by the British 
ministry to crush the rising rebellion. The marquis was then 
just past eighteen years of age, slender in form, and a boy in 
personal appearance. But the heart of a patriot and hero beat 


beneath his coat of green, and his imagination and zeal were 
■fired by the recital of the story of a people fighting for liberty. 
He returned to Paris full of high resolves, and leaving there 
an equally enthusiastic and a cheerfully consenting young wife 
— the rich and beautiful daughter of the Duke de Xoailles — 
he came to America, volunteered to light in the cause of colo- 
nial emancipation, and, throughout the war, performed services 
in the field here, and at the court of France, of inestimable 
benefit to the country. Life, youth, fortune, the endearments 
of home, were all freely devoted to the cause, and he nuide the 
aspirations of the Americans emphatically his own, with an en- 
thusiasm that scorned all obstacles. " It is fortunate for the 
king," said the old Count Maurepas, "• that Lafayette does not 
take it into his head to strip Versailles of its furniture to send to 
his dear Americans, as his majesty would be unable to refuse it." 

Washington, governed by his intuitive perception of cliar- 
acter, which never deceived him, took Lafayette to his bosom 
on his first arrival at Philadelphia, in 1777; and from that 
hour until death severed the bond, they were friends of 
truest character. And now, the intelligence that this dear 
friend was about to visit him in his quiet home at Mount Ver- 
non gave Washington a most exquisite pleasure. The portrait 
of the marquis, painted by Charles Willson Peale, in 1778, was 
then hanging upon the wall of his parlor : it now occupies a 
prominent place among the works of art at Arlington LTouse. 

Lafayette arrived at New York on the 4th of August, 1784, 
after a passage of thirtj^-four days from France. There he 
received the congratulations of the citizens for a few days, 
and then hastened toward Mount Vernon. He was detained 
in Philadelphia two or three days, and there wrote as follows: 


"Philadelphia, Tuesday Evening. 
"My Dear General:—! liave already' had the pleasure to 
acquaint jou with mj arrival in America, and am endeavor- 
ing to reach Mount Yernon as soon as possible. My first plan 
was only to stay here two days, but the affectionate reception 
I have met with in this city, and the returning some compli- 
ments to the Assembly, render it necessary for me to stay one 
day longer. On Friday I will be at the head of Elk, the next 
day at Baltimore, and by Sunday or Monday I hope at last to 
be blessed with a sight of my dear General. Tliere is no rest 
for me until I go to Mount Yernon. I long for the pleasure 
to embrace you, my dear General, and the happiness of being 
once more with you will be so great that no words can ever 
express it. In a few days I will be at Mount Yernon, and I 
do already feel delighted with so charming a prospect. My 
best respects wait upon Mrs. Washington, and not long after 
you receive this I shall tell you myself how respectfully and 
affectionately I have the honor to be, my dear General, 

" Your most obedient, humble servant, 


" In case your affairs call you to the Springs, I beg leave 
either to go there after you, or to accompany you in your jour- 

Lafayette arrived at Mount Yernon on the 17th, and re- 
mained twelve days in the enjoyment of the most sincere 
friendship and genuine hospitality. During that time Mount 
Yernon was crowded with other guests, who came to meet the 
great benefactor of America ; and when he departed for Balti- 




more, quite a cavalcade of gentlemen accompanied him far on 
liis way. 

There was a bond of union, of peculiar strengtJi, between 
Washington and Lafayette other than that of mere personal 
friendship. They were members of the fraternity of Free and 
Accepted Masons, and both loved the mystic brotherhood sin- 
cerely. Madame Lafayette was deeply interested in every 
thing that engaged the attention of her husband ; and she had 
learned to reverence Washington with a feeling closely allied 
to that of devotion. She had corresponded with him, and 
received from him cordial invitations to the simple delights 
of rural life at Mount Vernon. She had, no doubt, earnestly 
desired to present some visible testimonial of her regard to the 



great patriot of the New World; and when her husband 
resolved to visit him in his retirement at Momit Yernon, she 
prepared, with her own hands, an apron of white satin, upon 


which she wrought, in needlework, the various emblems of the 
Masonic order. Tliis apron Lafayette brought with him, and 
presented to his distinguished brother at Mount Vernon. It 
was kept by Washington as a cherished memorial of a noble 
woman ; and, after his death, his legatees formally presented 


it to the Washington Benevolent Society of Philadelphia, in 
the following words : 

"To THE Washington Benevolent Society. 

" The legatees of General Washington, impressed with the 
most profound sentiments of respect for the noble institution 
which they have the honor to address, beg leave to present to 
them the enclosed relic of the revered and lamented Father 
of his Country. They are persuaded that the apron, which 
was once possessed by the man whom Philadelphians always 
delighted to honor, will be considered most precious to the 
society distinguished by his name, and by the benevolent and 
grateful feelings to which it owes its foundation. That this 
perishable memento of a hero, whose fame is more durable 
than brass, may confer as much pleasure upon those to whom 
it is presented as is experienced by the donors, is the sincere 
wish of the legatees. 

"October 2Qth, 1816." 

When the society to which this apron was presented was 
dissolved, the precious memento of Washington and his fair 
friend was presented to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and 
now occu^^ies a conspicuous place upon the walls of the Grand 
Master's room in Masonic Hall, Philadelphia, carefully pre- 
served under glass, in a frame. 

More than two years previous to the visit of Lafayette, 
Washington received from the late Elkanah Watson, and his 
business partner, M. Cossoul, several Masonic ornaments, ac- 
companied by the following letter : 


"To HIS Excellency, General Washington, America. 
'•''Most Illustrious and Resjpected Brother : 

" In the moment when all Euroj^e admire and feel the 
effects of your glorious efforts in support of American liberty, 
we hasten to offer for your acceptance a small pledge of our 
homage. Zealous lovers of liberty and its institutions, we 
have experienced the most refined joy in seeing our chief and 
brother stand forth in defence of a new-born nation of repub- 

" Your glorious career will not be confined to the protection 
of American liberty, but its ultimate effect will extend to the 
whole human family, since Providence has evidently selected 
you as an instrument in His hands to full 11 His eternal decrees. 

"It is to you, therefore, the glorious orb of America, we 
presume to offer Masonic ornaments, as an emblem of your 
virtues. May the Grand Architect of the universe be the 
guardian of your precious days, for the glory of the western 
hemisphere and the entire universe. Such are the vows of 
those who have the favor to be by all the known numbers, 
" Your affectionate brothers, 

" Watson & Cossoul. 

"East of Nantes, 23c? \st Month, 5782." 

Washington replied as follows, from his head-quarters at 
Newburgh : 

"State of New York, August lOth, 1*782. 

" Gentlemen : — The Masonic ornaments which accompanied 
your brotherly address of the 23d of January last, though 


elegant in themselves, were rendered more valuable by tlie 
Hattering sentiments and atfectionate manner in which they 
were presented. 

" If my endeavors to avert the evil with which the coimtry 
was threatened, by a deliberate plan of tyranny, should be 
crowned with the success that is wished, the praise is due to 
the Grand Architect of the universe, who did not see fit to 
sutler His superstructure of justice to be subjected to the 
ambition of the princes of this world, or to the rod of oppres- 
sion in the hands of any power upon earth. 

" For your affectionate vows permit me to be grateful, and 
oiFer mine for true brothers in all parts of the world, and to 
assure you of the sincerity with which I am, 

" Yours, 

" Geo. Wasuington. 

" Messrs. Watson & Cossoul, East of Nantes." 

Watson says, in relation to this gift : " Wishing to pay some 
mark of respect to our beloved Washington, I employed, in 
conjunction with my friend M. Cossoul, nuns in one of the 
convents at Nantes, to prepare some elegant Masonic orna- 
ments, and gave them a plan for combining the American and 
French flags on tlie apron designed for his use." They were 
executed in a superior and expensive style, being wrought in 
gold and silver tissue. 

This regalia was sent by Washington to Mount Yernon, 
and was afterward worn by him when he met his brethren in 
the lodge at Alexandria. The apron and collar are now in 
possession of Washington Lodge, Alexandria, to which they 
were presented by the late Geoi'ge Washington Parke Custis. 


The reverence which was felt for the person of Washington 
by individuals was expressed by public bodies, even, as in 
the example just given, before the close of the struggle which 
he conducted so nobly. The Federal Congress took the initiative 
in voting him honors, such as the senate of old Rome was 
wont to decree for their lieroes and sages. That body was in 
session at Princeton, in the summer of 1783, when arrange- 
ments for the consummation of the declared peace with 
Great Britain was in progress, and Washington, having been 
requested to make his head-quarters near, took post at Rocky 
Hill, a few miles off. Before his arrival, the Congress, on the 
7tli of August, 

'•'•Resolved (unanimously, ten states being present). That 
an equestrian statue of General Washington be erected at the 
place where the residence of Congress shall be established ;" 
and appointed Arthur Lee, Oliver Ellsworth, and Thomas 
Mifflin, a committee to propose a plan for the same. 

The committee recommended a statue of bronze, the general 
to be represented in a Roman dress, holding a truncheon in his 
right hand, and his head encircled with a laurel wreath. The 
statue was to be supported by a marble pedestal, on which 
were to be represented — the evacuation of Boston, the cap- 
ture of the Hessians at Trenton, the battle of Princeton, the 
action of Monmouth, and the surrender of York. On the 
upper part of the pedestal was to be the following inscrip- 
tion : 

"The United States, in Congress assembled, ordered this 
statue to be erected in the year of our Lord, 1783, in honor of 
George Washington, the illustrious commander-in-chief of the 
armies of the United States of America, during the war which 


vindicated and secured their liberty, sovereignty, and inde- 

It was resolved that this statue should be executed by the 
best artist in Europe, under the superintendence of the min- 
ister of the United States at Versailles (Doctor Franklin), at 
the expense of the government, and that Congress should 
transmit to the minister the best likeness of Washington that 
could be procured. 

A few months after the passage of these resolutions, two 
young artists arrived at Rocky Hill. These were Joseph 
Wright and William Dunlap. The former bore a letter from 
Dr. Franklin to Washington, and he was permitted to paint 
the portraits of the general and his wife. Dunlap, then a mere 
lad, also painted a portrait of the chief. 

Young Wright was a son of Mrs. Patience Wright, who had 
then acquired much eminence in Europe and America for her 
models in wax of living men, and he inherited some of his 
mother's peculiar faculty. Some members of the Congress, 
aware of this, conceived the idea of having him make a plaster 
cast from the face of Washington, to be sent to Europe for the 
use of the sculptor who should execute the bronze statue. It 
was proposed, and Washington consented to submit to the 
unpleasant operation of lying upon his back and having the 
wet plaster laid upon his face. What a spectacle did the great 
Republican leader present at that moment ! 

The operation was a most disagreeable one, for the manipu- 
lator was inexperienced and unskilful. lie was very anxious, 
too, to relieve Washington from his position, and, in his haste 
and trepidation, an accident occurred which made his labor 
fruitless. After the plaster had sufficiently hardened, the 


artist proceeded, as quickly as possible, to remove it, when he 
let it fall upon the floor, and it was dashed in pieces. The 
desires of Congress, strongly expressed, to have another trial, 
were of no avail. Washington would not consent, and tlie 
statue voted by that body was never made. 

Young Wright appears to have been unfortunate in his 
efl"orts to acquire fame and fortune in connection with the 
likeness of Washington. He afterward cut a die for a medal- 
lion profile of the chief, which was declared by all to be an 
exceedingly faithful picture. After striking a few impressions 
the die was broken, and the artist's labor was lost. An 
engraving on copper, of larger size, was afterward made from 
one of these impressions. A broadside edition of Washing- 
ton's Farewell Address, printed in 1796, in possession of the 
w^riter, is embellished with an impression from that engraving. 

When Washington had become a private citizen — a plain 
farmer on the banks of the Potomac — neither desiring nor 
expecting furtlier public employment, the hearts of his coun- 
trymen, beating warmly with gratitude for his services, yearn- 
ed to honor him with some testimonial of their profound 
regard. Virginia, his native state, proud to own him as her 
son, took the lead in the manifestation of this sentiment. On 
the 22d of June, 1784, the legislature of Virginia — 

'•'•Rewlved^ That the Executive be requested to take meas- 
ures for procuring a statue of General Washington, to be of 
the finest marble and best workmanship, with the following 
inscription on its pedestal : 

" 'The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia 
have caused this Statue to be erected as a Monument of Affec- 
tion and Gratitude to George Washington, who, uniting to 


the Endowments of the Hero the Virtues of the Patriot, and 
exerting both in establishing the Liberties of his Country, has 
rendered his Name dear to his Fellow Citizens, and given the 
World an immortal Example of true Glory.' " 

This inscription was written by James Madison. On the 
day when this resolution was adopted, the General Assembly 
also voted an address to General Washington, and a joint com- 
mittee of the two houses was appointed to prepare one and 
present it. The committee, with Mr. Madison at the head, 
waited upon Washington, at Mount Vernon, a few days after- 
ward, presented the address, and received the following reply : 

"Gentlemen: — With feelings ^ which are more easy to be 
conceived than expressed, I meet and reciprocate the congrat- 
ulations of the representatives of this commonwealth on the 
tinal establishment of peace. 

" Nothing can add more to the pleasure which arises from a 
conscious discharge of public trust, than the approbation of 
one's country. To have been so happy, under a vicissitude of 
fortune, amidst the difficult and ti-ying scenes of an arduous 
conflict, as to meet this, is, in my mind, to have attained the 
highest honor; and the consideration of it, in my present 
peaceful retirement, will heighten all my domestic joys, and 
constitute my greatest felicity. 

" I should have been truly wanting in duty, and must have 
frustrated the great and important object for which we re- 
sorted to arms, if, seduced by a temporary regard for fame, I 
had suffered the paltry love of it to interfere with my country's 
welfare ; the interest of wliich was the only inducement which 
carried me into the field, or permitted the sacred rights of civil 


authority, though but for a moment, to be violated and i„. 
them "^ ^°™' """"" ""^"'"^ '° "'"""' •™'' """«"" 

"For those rewards and blessings which yon bare invoked 
for me m this world, and for the fruition of that happiness you pray for in that which is to come, you have, gen- 
tlemen, all my thanks and all n,y gratitude. I wish I could 
msure them to yon, and the state you represent, a hundred. 

Senjamm Harrison was governor of Virginia when the 
t^eneral Assembly requested the executive to take measures 
for procuring a statue of Washington ; and a little more than a 
month after the date of that resolution, he wrote to Doctor 
Frankhn and Mr. Jeffei^on, then in Paris, on the subject 
requesting then, to attend to the matter, and acquainting them 
that he had ordered Mr. Peale to send them a fnll-len^th 
portrait of the general, to be used as a model for the sculptor 

The only method by which a perfect likeness of the great 
patriot might be secured, was to have the artist make a model 
from the living face; and Messrs. Franklin and Jeflei-son ac- 
cordingly engaged Hondon, a portrait sculptor, then without a 
nval in the world, to go to America for the purpose. Hondon 
was a small, active, and exceedingly industrious Frenchman- 
eareful and prudent, and disposed to make an excellent bar- 
gain for himself "The terms," Mr. Jefferson wrote "are 
twenty-five thousand livres [about $4,620], one thousand Eng- 
Mi guineas (the English gninea being worth twenty-five 
hvres), for the statue and pedestal. Besides this, we pay his 
expenses going and returning, which we expect will be 


between four and five tliousand livres ; and if lie dies on the 
voyage, we pay his family ten thousand livres. This latter 
proposition was disagreeable to us ; but he has a father, 
mother, and sisters, who have no resource but in his labor ; 
and he is himself one of the best men in the world." To 
insure the state against loss in case of his death, Mr. Jeiferson, 
through Mr. Adams, procured an insurance upon Houdon's 
life, in London, at an additional expense of five hundred livres, 
or about ninety-two dollars. 

It was more than a year after the order for the statue was 
given before Houdou arrived. He came over in the same 
vessel that brought Doctor Franklin home. On the 20tli of 
September, 1785, the Doctor gave Houdon a letter of intro- 
duction to Washington, and, at the same time, he wrote to the 
general to apprise him of the sculptor's arrival. Washington 
immediately wrote to Houdon, saying, " It will give me pleas- 
ure, sir, to welcome you to this seat of my retirement ; and 
whatever I have or can procure that is necessary to your pur- 
poses, or convenient and agreeable to your wishes, you must 
freely command, as inclination to oblige you will be among 
the last things in wliich I shall be deficient, either on your 
arrival or during your stay." 

Houdon arrived at Mount Yernon on the 3d of October, 
furnished with all necessary materials for making a bust of 
Washington. He remained there a fortnight, and made, on 
the living face of our illustrious Friend, a plaster mould, pre- 
paratory for the clay impression, which was then modelled into 
the form of a bust, and immediately, before it could shrink 
from drying, moulded and cast in plaster, to be afterward 
copied in marble, in Paris. That clay model was left at 




Mount Vernon, wliere it may be seen upon a bracket in tlie 
library, white- washed, so as to resemble marble or plaster of 

In the presence of Mr. Madison, Houdon made exact meas- 
urements of the person of Washington, and with ample mem- 
oranda concerning costume, et cetera, he returned to France. 
The statue was not completed until 1789, when to the inscrip- 
tion upon the pedestal were added the words: "Done in the 
year of Christ one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, 
and in the year of the connnonwealth, twelve." 

Houdon's statue stands iu the rotunda of the capitol at 
Kichmond. It is of fine Italian marble, size of life. The 
costume is the military dress of the Eevolution. The right 





hand of the general rests upon a staif ; the left is upon the 
folds of a military cloak thrown over the end of a bnndle of 
fasces, with which are connected a sword and plough. Gouver- 
iieur Morris, who was in Paris when the statue was executed, 
stood as a model for the person of Washington. " Of what 
use," says Dunlap, " his person could be to the artist I cannot 
conceive, as there was no likeness, in form or manner, between 
him and the hero, except that they w^ere both tall men." Yet 
such was the fact. Morris, in his diary, under date of " June 
5, 1789," says : " Go to M. Houdon's. He's been waiting for 
me a long time. I stand for his statue of General Washington, 
being the humble employment of a manikin. Tliis is literally 
taking the advice of St. Paul, to be all things to all men." 

The foregoing facts are presented in contrast with the 
creations of fancy which an orator recently put forth as 
the forms of real history, in the following words : " Houdon, 
after taking a mould of Washington's face, persisted to make a 
cast of his entire person. * * * * The hero and the sage — 
the man of supreme dignity, of spotless purity and the most 
veiled modesty, laid his sacred person bare and prone before 
the eyes of art and affection ! * ^ * * The cast of the body 
was left to the care of his workmen, but that of the head was 
reserved in his own hands." All this is utterly untrue. The 
workmen of Houdon, it is known, never joined him, and no 
such scene as above described ever occurred at Mount Vernon. 

Six months before Houdon's arrival at Mount Yernon, 
another artist was domiciled there. It was Eobert Edge 
Pine, a very small, morbidly irritable Englishman, who came 
to America in 1784, with the rare reputation of "king's 
painter," and with the lofty design of procuring portraits of 


tlie most distinguished men of the Kevohition, as materials for 
a series of historical paintings of the war then just ended. 
His wife and daughters, who came with him, were as diminu- 
tive as himself, and the family appeared almost like pigmies. 

Pine had been a student of art under Sir Joshua Reynolds. 
He was highly esteemed by that artist, and was popular with 
a large number of influential men in England. He brought 
letters of introduction to Francis Hopkinson, of Philadelphia ; 
and the first portrait that he painted after his arrival in this 
country, was of that gentleman. It was finished early in 
1785, and was first well engraved by Longaere, and published 
in the American Portrait Gallery. Robert Morris also pat- 
ronized him, and built a studio for him in Eighth street, in 

Pine's republican proclivities made him unpopular with the 
ministerial party at home, and gave him corresponding sym- 
pathy in America. He foundi constant employment for his 
pencil in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Annapolis, and in several 
places in Virginia. He went to Mount Yernon in May, 1785, 
with a letter of introduction to Washington from Francis Hop- 
kinson, in which the chief was requested to give the painter 
sittings, in furtherance of his grand design of composing 
scenes of the War for Independence. He was cordially re- 
ceived, and remained there three weeks. During that time 
Washington wrote as follows to Mr. Hopkinson, dated at 
Mount Yernon, May 16, 1785 : 

" Deak Sir : ' In for a jienny in for a pound,' is an old 
adage. I am so hackneyed to the touches of the painter's 
pencil, that I am now altogether at their beck, and sit, like 


Patience on a monument, wliilst tliej are delineating tlie lines 
of my face. 

" It is a proof among many others of wliat habit and custom 
can effect. At first I was as impatient at the request, and as 
restive under trie operation, as a colt is of the saddle. The 
next time I submitted very reluctantly, but with less flouncing. 
Now no dray moves more readily to the thill than I do to 
the painter's chair. It may easily be conceived, therefore, that 
I yielded a ready obedience to your request, and to the views 
of Mr. Pine. 

" Letters from England, recommendatory of this gentleman, 
came to my hand previous to his arrival in America, not only 
as an artist of acknowledged eminence, but as one who had 
discovered a friendly disposition toward this country, for 
which it seems he had been marked." 

While at Mount Vernon Pine painted the portraits of two 
of Mrs. Washington's grandchildren. These were Elizabeth 
Parke Custis, then about nine years of age, who afterward 
married Mr. Law, a M'ealthy English gentleman ; and George 
Washington Parke Custis, the last survivor of his family, who 
died at Arlington House, on the Potomac, in the autumn of 
1857. The pictures are exquisitely painted, and, like all of 
Pine's productions, the colors retain their original vividness. 

Elizabeth is represented as a beautiful girl, with rich brown 
hair lying in careless curls, and in great profusion, upon her 
head and neck, her bosom covered with very light drapery, 
and having lying upon it the miniature of her father, John 
Parke Custis (printed on page 84 of this volume), suspended 
by a ribbon around her neck. 




The brother was then between four and fiv^e years of age. 
He is represented as a fair-haired child, with loose summer 
garments, and carrying in his hand a branch with two or 
three leaves upon it. These pictures now occupy a con- 
spicuous place upon the walls of the drawing-room at Arling- 
ton House. 

Pine's grand design was never carried out. He died four 
or five years after his visit to Mount Vernon, and his family 
returned to England. The portraits which he had painted 
were &old and scattered. That of Washington was afterward 
found in Montreal, and jiurchased by the late Henry Brevoort, 
of Bedford, Long Island, and is now in possession of his son, 
J. Carson Brevoort. 




A few weeks after Pine left Mount Vernon, and while the 
plasterers were at work ornamenting the ceiling of the great 
drawing-room of the mansion, then jnst completed, there was 
an arrival at the home of Washington of an extraordinary 
character. It was a pack of French hounds, sent to him by 
Lafayette. On the 1st of September Washington wrote to the 
marquis, saying : " The hounds which you were so oblimn^ as 
to send, arrived safe, and are of promising appearance. To 
Monsieur le Comte Doilliamson (if I miscall him, your hand- 
writing is to blame, and in honor you are bound to rectify the 
error), and in an especial manner to his fair Comtesse, my 
thanks are due for this favor. Tlie enclosed letter, which I 


give you the trouble of forwarding, contains my acknowledg- 
ment of their obliging attention to me on this occasion." 

While Washington thanked Lafayette and his friends for 
their kindly offices, he certainly did not feel sjDecially thankful 
for the hounds. Daring the war, his hunting establishment, 
which had been perfect, had been almost broken up, and he 
felt no disposition to renew it. His kennel, which was situated 
very near the site of the present tomb of Washington, was 
quite dilapidated ; and the paling which enclosed it and a fine 
spring of water, had almost disappeared. Vulcan and True- 
love, Ringwood and Sweetlips, Singer and Forester, Music 
and Rockwood — hounds of note on the master's register when 
he left Mount Yernon for the senate — were missing or were 
too old for service when he returned, and for only about three, 
years afterward did he keep an}' hounds at all. Those sent by 
Lafayette were of great size and strength. Because of their 
fierce disposition they were kept closely confined ; and, a few 
months after their arrival, Washington broke up his kennel, 
gave awa}' his hounds, bade adieu to the chase forever, and, 
for his amusement, formed a fine deer-park below the mansion, 
upon a beautiful slope extending to the river. 

The late Mr. Custis has left on record the following anec- 
dote: "Of the French hounds, there was one named Vulcan, 
and we bear him the better in reminiscence, from having often 
bestrid his ample back in the days of our juvenility. It hap- 
pened that upon a large company sitting down to dinner at 
Mount Yernon one day, the lady of the mansion (my grand- 
mother) discovered that tlie ham, the pride of every Yii'ginia 
housewife's table, was missing from its accustomed post of 
honor. Upon questioning Frank, the butler, this portly, and 


at tlic same time the most polite and accomplislied of all 
butlers, observed that a ham, yes, a very fine ham, had been 
prepared, agreeably to the Madam's orders, but lo and behold ! 
who should come into the kitchen, while the savory ham was 
smoking in its dish, but old Vulcan the hound, and without 
more ado fastened his fangs into it ; and although they of the 
kitchen had stood to such arms as they could get, and had 
fought the old spoiler desperately, yet Vulcan had finally 
triumphed, and bore off the ]3i"ize, aye, ' cleanly, under the 
keeper's nose.' The lady by no means relished the loss of a 
dish which formed the pride of her table, and uttered some 
remarks by no means favorable to old Vulcan, or indeed to 
dogs in general ; while the Chief, having heard the story, com- 
municated it to his guests, and, with them, laughed heartily at 
the exploit of the stag-lioundP 

Almost simultaneously with the arrival of the French 
hounds, came a magnificent present from Samuel Yaughan, a 
wealthy resident of London, who had conceived a passionate 
admiration for the character of "Washington. Tlie object pre- 
sented was a very beautiful chimney-piece, wrought in Italy, 
from the finest white and Sienite marbles, for Mr. Vaughan's 
own use. At the time of its arrival in England that gentleman 
was informed of the improvements in the mansion then in 
progress at Mount Yernon, and, without unpacking it, he sent 
it directly to Washington. It is exquisitely wrought in every 
part. Upon three tablets of tiie frieze, under the highly orna- 
mented mantel, are sculptured, in very high relief, in white 
marble, pleasant domestic scenes in agricultural life. Upon 
the centre tablet, which is the largest, is an evening scene. A 
husbandman, with his wife and little child, is returning from the 




fields, driving a cow and a flock of sheep. Many of the latter 
are seen going into a fold for the night, and beyond the en- 
closure is seen the setting sun. On the left of the central 
tablet is represented a boy, harnessing a span of horses, to be 
attached to a plough. On the right is a cottage. The house- 
wife, having just drawn a bucket of water from the well, is 
pouring it into a tub for the cleansing of vegetables, which are 
seen lying by the side of it. Her little girl has her apron full. 








and is eating a turnip, while a pig is coming out of a rickety 
sty near by. 

The fire])lace is an enonnoiis iron grate, capal)le of contain- 
ing several bushels of coal ; and the hearth is of white marble, 
inlaid with ornaments of ])olished maroon-colored marble, or 
encanstic tile. Upon the shelf are two small dark-blue vases, 
covered with flowers, delicately painted ; and between these 
are two bronze candelabra. The whole present a most pleas- 
ing picture to the eye ; and the interest is increased by the 
associations which cluster around these objects, for they were 
there sixtv years ao:o, when WashinG;ton received his o-nests in 
the spacious drawing-room, of which that chimney-piece is the 
greatest ornament. 


With the elegant chimney-piece Mr. Yaughan sent three larger 
and more beautiful porcelain vases, than those which now stand 


upon the slielf. They were made in India, and ornamented in 
London. Tlie ground is a dark bhie, with delicate gilt scroll 
and leaf ornaments, with landscapes painted upon one side and 
animals upon the other. These are now at Arlington House. 

Washington appears to have received other presents from 
Mr. Yaughan. On the 30th of November, 1785, he wrote to 
his London friend, saying: "I have lately received a letter 
from Mr. Vaughan (your son), of Jamaica, accompanied by a 
puncheon of rum, which he informs me was sent by your order 
as a present for me. Indeed, my dear sir, you overwhelm 
me with your favors, and lay me under too many obligations 
to leave a hope remaining of discharging them." He had 
attempted to do so in a degree, for in the same letter, he says : 
" Hearing of the distress in which that island, with others in 
the West Indies, is involved by the late hurricane, I have 
taken the liberty of requesting Mr. Vaughan's acceptance, for 
his own use, of a few barrels of superfine flour of my own 

Two or three months later than the date of this letter, an- 
other present for Washington reached Mount Yernon, of more 
intrinsic value than all that he had received since his retire- 
ment from the army. It consisted of three asses, a jack and 
two jennies, selected from the royal stud at Madrid, and sent 
to him as a compliment from the king of Spain. His " Catholic 
Majesty" having been informed that Washington Avas endeav- 
oring to procure these animals of the best breed in Europe, for 
the purpose of rearing mules on his estates, made him this 
present, and sent over Avith them a person acquainted with 
the mode of treating them, who arrived at Portsmoutli, in 
New Hampshire, and journeyed to Mount Yernon by land. 


According to a statement of the late Mr. Custis, the jack, 
called the Royal Gift, was sixteen hands high, of a gray color, 
heavily made, and of a sluggish disposition. " At the same 
time," says Mr. Custis, "the Marquis de Lafayette sent out a 
jack and jennies from the island of Malta. This jack, called 
the Knight of Malta, was a suberb animal, black color, with 
the form of a stag and the ferocity of a tiger. Washington 
availed himself of the best qualities of the two jacks by cross- 
ing the breeds, and hence obtained a favorite jack, called 
Com'pound, which animal united the size and strength of the 
Gift with the high courage and activity of the Knight. The 
General bred some very superior mules from his coach mares. 
In a few years the estate of Mount Yernon became stocked 
with mules of a superior order, some of them rising to the 
height of sixteen hands, and of great power and usefulness. 
One wao;on team of four mules sold at the sale of the Gen- 
eral's effects for eight hundred dollars." 

Washington, through Florida Bianca, the prime minister of 
Spain, most sincerely thanked his majesty for a present so 
truly valuable, in connection with his country's industrial 
operations ; and in answer, that functionary replied, " It will 
give pleasure to his majesty, that opportunities of a higher 
nature may offer, to prove the great esteem he entertains for 
your Excellency's personal merit, singular virtues, and char- 

At the close of 1785, Washington had completed the enlarge- 
ment of his house, and was prepared for the accommodation of 
the increasing number of his visitors. He found his time so 
much occupied with these, and his equally increasing corre- 
spondence, that he resolved to employ a secretary, who should, 


at the same time, perform the duties of instructor of his adopted 
children. He addressed General Lincoln on the subject, who 
warmly recommended Tobias Lear, a young gentleman of 
Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, who had recently graduated 
at Harvard University. In reply, Washington said : 

" Mr. Lear, or any other who may come into my family in 
the blended character of preceptor to the children and clerk or 
private secretary to me, will sit at my table, will live as I live, 
will mix with the company who resort to the house, and will 
be treated in every respect with civility and proper attention." 

A satisfactory arrangement was made, which proved a hap- 
py one. Mr. Lear went to Mount Vernon, and resided there 
much of the time afterward, until death removed the master. 
Washington became very fond of him. He married, and 
lost his wife there; and in his will, Washington wrote: "To 
Tobias Lear 1 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 his life." 
We shall meet Mr. Lear again under solemn circumstances 
beneath the roof of Mount Vernon mansion. 

Li his letter to General Lincoln respecting Mr. Lear, Wash- 
ington expressed his expectation that his correspondence would 
decline, for he had resolved to remain strictly a private citizen. 
On the contrary, circumstances which speedily arose, caused 
his correspondence to greatly increase, and the retired soldier 
soon found himself borne out upon the turbulent waves of 
political life. He was too patriotic to shrink from duty when 
his country demanded his services, and therefore events soon 
drew him from the coveted pleasures of his quiet home. 

Washington, with other sagacious men, had watched the 



course of public affairs since the close of the war with the 
deepest solicitude, for he perceived imminent dangers on every 
side. The country had become impoverished by the struggle, 
and was burdened with an enormous debt, domestic and foreign ; 
and the Congress possessed no executive powers adequate to a 
provision of means for the liquidation of those debts by direct 

For a long time it had been clearly perceived that, while 
the Articles of Confederation entered into by the respective 
states, formed a sufficient constitution of government during 
the progress of the war, they were not adapted to the public 
wants in the new condition of an independent sovereignty in 
which the people found themselves. There appeared abund- 
ant necessity for a greater centralization of power, by which 
the general government could act more efficiently for the pub- 
lic good. 

As early as the summer of 1782, the legislature of New 
York, on the suggestion of Alexander Hamilton, had recom- 
mended to each state " to adopt the measure of assembling a 
GENEKAL CONVENTION OF THE STATES, Specially authorized to 
revise and amend the Confederation j''^ and in the spring of 
1786 a strong desire was felt in many parts of the country to 
have such convention. 

To a great extent the people had lost all regard for the 
authority of Congress, and the commercial affairs of the 
country had become wretchedly deranged. Every thing 
seemed to be tending toward utter chaos ; and many were 
the anxious councils held by Washington and others under the 
roof of Mount Yernon, when the buds and the birds iirst 
appeared in Yirginia in the spring of 1786. His correspond- 


ence with his compatriots in other states on the subject became 
quite extended ; and his letters at this time, full of the impor- 
tant topic, are remarkable for their words of wisdom and tone 
of caution. 

" I often think of our situation, and view it with concern," 
he wrote to John Jay in May. " From the high ground we 
stood upon, from the plain path which invited our footsteps, to 
be so fallen, so lost, is really mortifying." He saw the ten- 
dency toward ruin of the fair fabric which his wisdom and 
prowess had helped to raise, and his faith in public men had 
become weakened. " My fear is," he said, " that the people 
are not sufficiently misled to retract from error. To be plainer, 
I think there is more wickedness than ignorance mixed in our 
councils. Under this impression I scarcely know what opinion 
to entertain of a general convention." 

Time and circumstances work out many changes in human 
opinions. Washington's were modified by the logic of events, 
and he soon favored a convention of the states. He received 
letters from all parts of the country upon the subject of public 
affairs, and his answers, widely circulated, had a commanding 
influence. In his quiet home at Mount Vernon he was silently 
wielding the powers of a statesman, and his opinions were 
eagerly sought. 

In 1785, commissioners appointed by Virginia and Mary- 
land, to form a compact relative to the navigation of the 
waters belonging to them in common, had visited Mount 
Vernon to consult with the retired soldier ; and suggestions 
were then made and discussed concerning a stronger federal 
government, which led to important results. It led, primarily, 
to a general discussion by the people of the subject of the inef- 


ticiency of the federal government ; then to a convention of 
delegates from a few states at Annapolis, in Maryland, in 
September, 1786 ; and, finally, to a more important conven- 
tion the following year, on the recommendation of the Con- 
gress. The latter convention, composed of delegates from 
every state in the union except New Hampshire and Rhode 
Island, commenced its session in Philadelphia toward the 
close of May, 1787. 

Washington was put at the head of the Virginia delegation, 
hut for some time he refused to accept the position, having 
solemnly declared that he would never appear in public life 
again. But on all occasions that great man yielded private 
considerations to the public good. After consultations with 
friends he consented to serve, and on the 9th of May he set 
out in his carriage from Mount Vernon on a journey to Phila- 
delphia. He was chosen president of the convention by 
unanimous vote, and for nearly four months he presided over 
the deliberations of that august assembly with great dignity. 
The convention adjourned on the 12th of September. On that 
day the present Constitution of the United States was 
adopted, as a substitute for the Articles of Confederation. 
That constitution was submitted to the people for ratification. 
Toward the close of 1788 the majority of the states having 
signified their approval of it, the people proceeded to choose 
a chief magistrate of the republic. 

For more than two years Washington kept a vigilant and 
anxious eye upon the movements of the public mind in rela- 
tion to the federal constitution. Day by day his correspond- 
ence increased, and he found himself again upon the sea of 
political life. Meanwhile the hospitable mansion at Mount 


Yernon was frequently filled mth visitors ; and one Mdioui 
Washington loved, as a soldier and as a friend, was invited 
there as a guest, with a request that he should remain as long 


as the house should be agreeable to him. That guest was 
David Humphreys, a native of Derby, Connecticut, and then 
about thirty five years of age. He had received the diploma 
of Bachelor of Arts at Yale College in 1771, when the eminent 
Doctor Daggett was president. His cotemporaries there were 
Dwight, Trumbull, and Barlow, a triad of poets, with whom 
he was associated in paying court to the muse of song. Hum- 
phreys was a tutor in the family of the lord of Fhillipse's 
manor, on the Hudson, for awhile, and then entered the con- 
tinental army as a captain. He rose to the rank of lieutenant- 
colonel during the war, and toward the close became one of 
Washington's favorite aides. He went abroad in 1784, as 


secretary to the commission for negotiating treaties of com- 
merce with foreign powers. He was abroad two years, and 
on his return made qnite a protracted visit at Mount Vernon. 
That was in 1786 ; and one evening in August, while reclining 
on the bank of the river, in the shadow^s of its wooded slopes, 
he began the composition of an ode entitled ''■Mount Vernon,'''' 
commencing with the following stanza : 

"By broad Potowmack's azure tide, 
Where Vernon's Mount, in sylvan pride. 

Displays its beauties far, 
Great Washington, to peaceful shades, 
Where no unhallow'd wish invades, 

Retir'd from fields of v^-ar." 

Humphreys brought with him from France, at the special 
request of the king, a token of his "most Christian majesty's" 
regard for Washington. It was an engraving of a full-length 
portrait of the king, Louis XVI., in his state robes, enclosed in 
a superb gilt frame, made expressly for the occasion. At the 
top, surrounded by appropriate emblems, are the royal arms 
of France, and, at the bottom, the arms of the Washington 
family. In the corners are the monograms of the king and 
Washington—" L. L. XVI." and " G. W." These— the arms 
and the emblematic ornaments — are in relief. The picture, in 
its original frame, is at Mount Vernon, dimmed and darkened 
by age and neglect. 

In 1788, Humphreys, as we have just observed, became a 
resident at Mount Vernon ; and there he wrote a Life of 
General Israel Putnam. Humphreys had been a member of 
that officer's military family in the war for independence ; and 




just before his departure for Mount Vernon, he visited the 
veteran at Ids home in Connecticut, and received from his own 
lips many of the stirring narratives recorded in that biograph3\ 
At Mount Vernon Humplirejs translated, from the French 
of M. Le Mierre, the tragedy of The Widow of Malahar^ 
which was first brought out at the theatre in Philadelphia, by 
Hallam and Wignel (heads of the old American company of 
players), in May, 1790. The prologue, written by John Trum- 


bull, author of M'-Fingall^ was spoken on tliat occasion by 
Mr, Ilallam, and the epilogue, written by Humphreys, was 
spoken by Mrs. Henry. 

While Colonel Humphreys was at Mount Vernon in the 
autumn of 1788, distinguished visitors were entertained there 
for a few days. These were the Count de Moustier, the French 
minister, a handsome and polite man ; his sister, the Mar- 
chioness de Brienne — wdio was illnaturedly described by Gen- 
eral Armstrong as a " little, singular, whimsical, hysterical old 
woman, whose delight is in playing with a negro child and 
caressing a monkey" — and her son, M. Dupont. They had 
made a long journey from New Hampshire, by way of Fort 
Schuyler (now Utica) on the Mohawk River, where they en- 
joyed the spectacle of an Indian treaty. 

The Marchioness de Brienne was quite an accomplished 
writer and skilful amateur artist; and in the evening of the 
day when Washington was inaugurated the first President of 
the United States, the following year, the front of her brotlier's 
house was beautifully decorated with paintings by her own 
hand, suggestive of the past, the present, and the future in 
American history. Tliese were illuminated by borderings of 
lamps upon the doors and vdndows. 

In the autumn of that year the marchioness persuaded 
President Washington to sit to her for his portrait in minia- 
ture. In his diary, on Saturday, the 3d of October, he re- 
corded : 

" Walked in the afternoon, and sat about two o'clock for 
Madam de Brehan [Brienne] to complete a miniature profile 
of me, which she had begun from memory, and which she 
had made exceedingly like the original." 



The marchioness made several copies ot this picture, one of 
which Washington presented to Mrs. Bingham, of Philadel- 
phia. From another, an engraving was afterward made in 
Paris, and several impressions were sent to Washington. She 


also painted on copper, in medallion form, the profiles of Wash- 
ington and Lafayette, in miniature, within the same circumfer- 
ence, and j^resented the picture to Washington. It is now at 
Arlington House. 

Another foreign lady, the wife of Peter J. Yon Berckel, of 
Rotterdam, the first embassador from Holland to the United 
States, was a great admirer of the character of Washington, and 
painted an allegorical picture in testimony of her reverence for 
the Liberator of his country. It was executed upon copper, 
eighteen by twenty inches in size. The design, intending to be 
complimentary to Washington, was well conceived. Upon the 
top of a short, fluted column, was a bust of Washington, crowned 





with a niilitaiy and civic wreatli. This stood near the entrance 
to a cave where the Parcse or Fates — Clotho the Spinster, Lach- 
esis the Allotter, and Atropos the UnGJiangeable — were seen, 
busy with tlie destinies of the patriot, Clotho was sitting with 
her distaff, spinning the thread of Ids life, and Lachesis was 
receiving it. Atropos was just stepping forw^ard with open 
shears to cut it, when Innnortality, represented as a beautiful 
youth, seized the precious thread, and gave it to Fame, a 
winged female, with a trumpet, in the skies, who bore it on 
to future ages. The latter thouglit was beautifully expressed 


bj Thomas Moore, many years later, when he thus sang of a 
poet's immortality : 

" Even so, though thy memory should now die away, 
'Twill be caught up again in some happier day, 
And the hearts and the voices of Erin prolong. 
Through the answering Future, thy name and thy song."' 

This picture was presented to "Washington by Mr. Yon Berck- 
el, with the following lines, composed by the fair artist : 

"In vain the sisters ply their busy care, 
To reel off years from Glory's deathless heir: 
Frail things shall pass, his fame shall never die, 
Rescued from Fate by Immortality." 

After the death of Mrs. Washington, the painting became the 
property of the late G. W. P. Custis, who presented it to the 
venerable General C. C. Pinckney, of South Carolina, to whose 
military family he had belonged. While on a visit at Arling- 
ton House, a few years ago, Mr. Custis described the picture to 
the writer, at the same time illustrating his description by a 
rude pencil sketch, of which the accompanying engraving is 
a fac-simile on a smaller scale. Such was the impression of 
the picture upon the memory of that venerable man, after a 
lapse of fifty years. 

Soon after the departure of the French minister and his party 
from Mount Vernon, two other French gentlemen, with letters 
of introduction, visited Washington, These were M. de War- 
ville, and M. St. Frie, who, Washington said, were " intelligent, 
discreet, and disposed to receive favorable impressions of Amer- 
ica." Brissot de Warville was young, handsome, and full of 
enthusiasm. In his letter of introduction, Lafayette said, " He 


is very clever, and wishes much to be presented to you. He 
intends to write a history of America, and is, of course, desir- 
ous to have a peep into your papers, which appears to me 
a deserved condescension, as he is fond of America, writes 
pretty well, and will set matters in a proper light." 

Brissot de Warville did not write a history of America, but 
during the French revolution that soon followed this visit, he 
became quite a conspicuous object in the history of his own 
country. He was intensely democratic, and when he returned 
to France, he appeared in the streets of Paris in the garb of a 
Philadelphia Quaker, with which he was enamored. In the 
French revolution he became a Girondist leader. He finally 
made himself obnoxious to Robespierre and his party by refus 
ing to vote for the execution of the king, and was doomed to 
suffer death on the guillotine. He fell on the 30th of October, 
1793, and the surviving Girondists were called Brissotins. 

In his letters, Brissot de Warville spoke with enthusiasm of 
America, and after his visit at Mount Yernon, he wrote of Mrs. 
Washington, saying, " Every thing about the house has an air 
of simplicity ; the table is good, but not ostentatious, and no 
deviation is seen from regularity and domestic economy. She 
superintends the whole, and joins to the qualities of an excel- 
lent housewife, the simple dignity which ought to characterize 
a woman whose husband has acted the greatest part on the 
theatre of human affairs, while possessing that amiability and 
manifesting that attention to strangers which makes hospitality 
so charming." 

As the year 1788 drew to a close, Washington felt well as- 
sured that he would be called by the voice of the nation to 
the important position of Chief Magistrate of the Republic. 


Early in September it had been ascertained that a sufficient 
number of states had ratified the Federal Constitution, to make 
it the organic law of the land, and on the 13th, Congress passed 
an act, appointing the first Wednesday in January, 1T89, foi- 
the people to choose electors of a President, according to the 
provisions of that constitution; the first Wednesday in Feb- 
ruary following for the electors to meet and make a choice ; 
and the first Wednesday in March for the new government to 
be organized in the city of ]S"ew York, 

The hearts of all were now turned toward Washington as 
the man to whom the helm of state should be given, and his 
friends, well knowing his reluctance to re-enter public life, 
commenced writing persuasive letters to him. To all of them 
he expressed sentiments such as he wrote to Lafayette, when 
he said of the proff*ered oflice — " It has no fascinating allure- 
ment for me. At my time of life and under my circumstances, 
the increasing infirmities of nature and the growing love of 
retirement do not permit me to entertain a wish beyond that 
of living and dying an honest man on my own farm. Let 
those follow the pursuits of ambition and fame who have a 
keener relish for them, or who may have more years in store 
for the enjoyment of them," 

The election was held at the appointed time, and Washington 
was chosen President of the United States for four years from 
the 4th of March ensuing. He now again yielded his own 
wishes to the claims of his country, and prepared to leave his 
beloved home. Meanwhile, office-seekers were sending him 
letters by scores, and sometimes they came in person to solicit 
favor for themselves or friends. He had already expressed his 
fixed determination to enter upon the duties of his office " not 


only unfettered by promises, but even uncbargeable witb cre- 
ating or feeding the exi3ectation of any man living" for his 
"assistance to office." By this declaration applicants soon 
learned tlie wisdom of silence. 

But there were men who sought the influence of his position, 
upon whom he not only looked with favor but with delight. 
These were they who had schemes which, though cherished by 
themselves for selfish purposes, would be of great advantage 
to the industrial interests of the country. One of these visited 
Mount Yernon at the close of March, 1789, to lay before the 
President elect some facts concerning the introduction of the 
manufacture of glass into America. A gentleman of Alex- 
andria, in a letter to a friend, thus describes the event : 

" I am just returned from Mount Yernon, where I was 
present at a scene which made every patriotic pulse vibrate 
with the most pleasurable sensations, 

" This, sir, was a tribute of a new citizen of the United 
States to their illustrious President. Mi*. John F. Ameburg, 
a native of Germany, and an artist of considerable eminence, 
emigrated to tins country with a large family and extensive 
fortune, and having contemplated the said commerce, etc., he 
selected, with great prudence, a central situation for the 
establishment of a manufactory of the first magnitude and 
importance, in which he has succeeded beyond all hope and 
expectation. Through his vast exertions he is now enabled to 
supply the United States with every species of glass, the 
quality of which is equal, if not superior, to that imported, 
while he actually undersells all foreign traders in that article 
in our own markets. To the testimony of the ablest connois- 
seurs and characters of taste and respectability, it only remain- 


ed for Mr. Ameburg to court the patronage of the great 
patriot; and I had the good fortune to be present at an 
offering to his excellency of two capacious goblets of flint 
glass, exhibiting the general's coat-of-arras, etc. 

"The conversation naturally embraced and discussed our 
manufacturing interests, and was managed with such delicate 
address, as to pay a compliment to the ingenuity and labors 
of this celebrated artist, who has supported, without intermis- 
sion, three hundred hands these three years past, with the 
utmost order and character. Kew Bremen, which gives ap- 
pellation to this manufactory, is situated on Monococy, con- 
tiguous to the waters of the Potomac, by which he may in 
time supply the seaport towns of the eastern and southern 
states, and thus give domestic circulation to an immense quan- 
tity of specie remitted annually for this article alone to the 
foreign merchants." 

"Washington had already been apprised of the existence of 
this establishment, for in a letter to Jefferson, in February 
preceding, he said : "A factory of glass is established upon a 
large scale on Monococy river, near Fredericktown, in Mary- 
land. I am informed it will this year produce glass of various 
kinds, nearly to the amount of ten thousand pounds value." 

So tardily did the members of the Federal Congress assem- 
ble, that a quorum was not present at the capital in New 
York until the beginning of April, when the votes of the 
electoral college were counted, and "Washington was declared 
to be elected President of the United States by the unanimous 
voice of the people. That delay was a source of pleasure to 
him. In a letter to General Knox, he compared it to a 
reprieve ; " for," he said, " in confidence I tell you (with the 


world it would obtain little credit), that my movements to tlie 
chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not 
unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his 
execution." "I am sensible," he continued, "that I am em- 
barking the voice of the people, and a good name of my own 
on this voj'age, but what returns will be made for them 
heaven alone can foretell. Integrity and firmness are all I 
can promise. These, be the voyage long or short, shall never 
forsake me, although I may be deserted by all men ; for of the 
consolations which are to be derived from these, under any 
circumstances, the world cannot deprive me." 

The Senate of the United States was organized on the 6tli of 
April, and John Langdon, a representative therein from New 
Hampshire, was chosen its president jwo temjpore. As soon as 
the votes of the electoral college were opened and counted, he 
wrote a letter to the illustrious farmer at Mount Vernon, 
notifying him of the fact of his election. Tliis letter, with an 
official certificate, was conveyed to the chief magistrate elect 
by the venerable Secretary Thomson, who arrived at Mount 
Vernon on Tuesday, the 14th, between ten and eleven o'clock 
in the morning. Washington was making the usual tour of 
his farms, and the secretary was cordially received by Mrs. 
Washington, who had enjoyed his friendship and the hospitali- 
ties of his house at Philadelphia. 

On his return from the fields at a quarter before one, Wash- 
ington greeted Mr. Thomson with much warmth, for their 
friendship was most sincere. They had gone through a long 
struggle for their country's liberation hand in hand, one in the 
field, the other in the senate; and the bond of sympathy, 
strengthened by retrospection, was powerful. Thomson was 



soon invited to the library, where he revealed the object of his 
visit, and delivered the letter of President Langdon. Public 
affairs at once became the topic of conversation, and long did 


the two patriots linger at the table that day, after Mrs. Wash- 
ington, Colonel Humphreys, Mr. Lear, and two or three guests 
had withdrawn. Only for a few minutes were they separated, 
when Washington, in his private study in an npper room, 
wrote the following letter to Mr. Langdon, and placed it in 
the hands of a servant to be conveyed to the post-office at 
Alexandria : 

"Mount Vernon, lAth April, 1789. 

" Sir : I had the honor to receive your official communica- 
tion, by the hand of Mr. Secretary Thomson, about one o'clock 
this day. Having concluded to obey the important and flat- 



tering call of my country, and having been impressed with the 
idea of the expediency of my being with Congress at as early 
a period as possible, I propose to commence my journey on 
Thursday morning, which will be the day after to-morrow." 

Toward evening Washington left Mount Vernon on horse- 
back, accompanied by Billy, and rode rapidly toward Fred- 
ericksburg, where his aged and invalid mother resided. He 
went to embrace her and bid her farewell before leaving for 
the distant seat of government. She was suffering from an 
^acute disease, and the weight of more than fourscore years 
was upon her. The interview between the matron and her 
illustrious son was full of the most touching sublimity. " The 
people, madam," said Washington, " have been pleased, with 
the most flattering unanimity, to elect me to the chief magis- 
tracy of the United States; but before I can assume the func- 
tions of that office, I have come to bid you an aftectionate 
farewell. So soon as the public business which must neces- 
sarily be encountered in arranging a new government can be 
disposed of, I shall hasten to Virginia, and — " Here she 
interrupted him, saying, " You will see me no more. My 
great age, and the disease that is rapidly approaching my 
vitals, warn me that I shall not be long in this world. I trust 
in God I am somewhat prepared for a better. But go, George, 
fulfil the high destinies which Heaven appears to assign yoa ; 
go, my son, and may that Heaven's and your mother's blessing 
be with you always." 

The mother and son embraced for the last time, for before 
he could return to Virginia, she was laid in the grave. 

Washington returned to Mount Vernon on the evening of 
the 15th, and found every thing in preparation for the journey 



toward New York the following morning. Nothing essential 
to the master's comfort and convenience was omitted by the 
faithful Billy. 

There was a great stir at Mount Yernon on the morning of 
the 16th. Before sunrise a messenger had 
come fi'om Alexandria, and departed ; 
and that evening Washington wrote in 
his diary : " About ten o'clock I bade 
adieu to Mount Yernon, to private life, 
and to domestic felicity, and with a mind 
oppressed with more anxious and painful 
sensations than I have words to express, 
set out for New York, in company witli Mr. Thomson and 
Colonel Humphreys, with the best disposition to render service 
to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of 
answering its expectations." 

Washington's neighbors and friends at Alexandria, had in- 
vited him to halt and partake of a public dinner on the way. 
This manifestation of friendship touched his heart ; but still 
deeper were his tenderest emotions awakened, when, as he and 
his travelling companions ascended a little hill about a mile 
from his home, and came in view of the lodges at his gate, he 
saw a cavalcade of those friends, waiting to escort him to the 
town. The scene was one of marvellous interest. It was the 
first of a series of ovations that awaited him on his journey. 
The sun was shining with all the warmth and brightness of 
mid- April in Yirginia, the smiles of cultivation were on every 
hand, and the song of birds and the perfume of early flowers 
fell gratefully up'on the senses. 

Alas ! how changed is now the aspect of that ancient entrance 





to Mount Yernon ! Stately trees are near as in tlie clays of old, 
but the voices of labor are no more heard. All is silence and 
desolation, except when the bird sings, the squirrel chirps, or 
the echo of the huntsman's gun startles tlie solitary pedestrian, 
for the road, tilled or gullied by the winds and rains, is scarcely 
passable for beast or vehicle. The old lodges, wherein once 
rang the merry laugh of children, are utterly deserted, and 
fast falling into hopeless decay ; and all around them a thick 
forest stands, where the wheat, the corn, and the tobacco once 

Washington was anxious to proceed to New York with as 



little parade as possible, but the enthusiasm of the people could 
not be repressed. His journey was like a triumphal march. 
At Alexandria he partook of a public dinner, when the mayor 
said, " The first and best of our citizens must leave us ; our 
aged must lose their ornament, our youth their model, our agri- 
culture its improver, our commerce its friend, our infant acad- 
emy its protector,* our poor their benefactor." ***** 
" Farewell !" he said, turning to Washington, " Go, and make 
a grateful people happy ; a people who will be doubly grate- 
ful when they contemplate this new sacrifice for their in- 

Washington's feelings were deeply touched. He could say 
but little. " Words fail me," he said, " unutterable sensations 
must, then, be left to more expressive silence, while from an 
aching heart I bid all my affectionate friends and kind neigh- 
bors — farewell." 

The president was greeted by the Marylanders at George- 
town ; and at Baltimore he was entertained by a large number 
of citizens at a public supper. When leaving the city the next 
morning, at half-past five, he was saluted by discharges of 
cannon, and attended by a cavalcade of gentlemen who rode 
seven miles with him. At the frontier of Pennsylvania, he 
was met early on the morning of the 19th, by two troops of 
cavalry, and a cavalcade of citizens, at the head of whom 
were Governor Mifflin and Judge Peters; and by them he was 
escorted to Philadelphia. Upon that frontier, Washington left 
his carriage, and mounting a superb white charger, he took 

* Washington had given funds for the establishment of an academy at Alexan- 
dria, and was its patron. 


position in the line of procession, with Secretary Thomson on 
one side, and Colonel Humphreys on the other. 

At Gray's Ferry, on the Schuylkill, they were joined by 
an immense number of citizens, led in order by General St, 
Clair. A triumphal arch was erected on both sides of the 
river covered with laurel branches, and approached through 
avenues of evergreens. As Washington passed under the last 
arch, Angelica Peale, daughter of the eminent artist, and a 
child of rare beauty, who was concealed in the foliage, let 
down a handsomely ornamented civic crown of laurel, which 
rested upon the head of the patriot. The incident caused a 
tumultuous shout. The procession moved on into the city, its 
volume increasing every moment. At least twenty thousand 
people lined its passage-way from the Schuylkill to the city ; 
and at every step the President was greeted with shouts of 
" Long live George Washington !" " Long live the Father of 
his country !" 

The President was entertained at a sumptuous banquet, given 
by the authorities, at the City Tavern, and the next morning the 
military were paraded, to form an escort for him to Trenton. 
But heavy rain frustrated their designs, Washington was com- 
pelled to ride in his carriage, and he would not allow an escort 
of friends to travel in the rain. 

When the President and suite approached Trenton in the 
afternoon, the clouds had disappeared, and in the warm sun- 
light, he crossed the Delaware amid the greetings of shouts, 
and cannon-peals, and they<??<^ de joie of musketry. His route 
lay across the same bridge over the little stream which flows 
through the town, where, twelve years before, he had been 
driven across by Cornwallis, on the evening previous to the 


battle at Princeton. Upon that bridge, where he was thus 
humiliated, was now a triumphal arch, twenty feet in height, 
supported by thirteen pillars twined with evergreens. It was 
the conception and work of the women of New Jersey, under 
the general direction of Annis Stockton ; and upon the side 
of his approach, over the arch, were emblazoned the words : 

"the defkndee of the mothers will be the protectok of 
the daughters." 

Tlie arch was otherwise beautifully decorated, and as Wash- 
ington approached, many mothers with their daughters appeared' 
on each side of it, all dressed in white. As he passed, thirteen 
young girls, their heads wreathed with flowers, and holding 
baskets of flowers in their hands, while they scattered some in 
his way, sang the following ode, written for the occasion by 
G-overnor Howell : 

"Welcome, mighty chief, once more 
"Welcome to this grateful shore; 
Now no mercenary foe. 
Aims again tl\e fatal blow. 
Aims at thee the fatal blow. 

" Virgins fair, and mothers grave. 
Those thy conquering arm did save, 
Build for thee triumphal bowers. 
Strew, ye fair, his way with flowers I 
Strew your hero's way with flowers." 

With joyous greetings at every step, Washington proceeded 
through New Jersey, over which he had once fled with a half 



starved, half-naked army, before a closely pursuing foe ; and 
at Elizabetlitown Point, he was met, on the morning of the 23d, 
by a committee of both houses of Congress, and several civil 
and military officers. They had prepared a magnificent barge 
for his reception, which was manned by thirteen pilots, in white 
uniforms, commanded by Commodore Nicholson. In ISTew 
York harbor, the vessels were all decked with flags, in honor 
of the President, and gayly dressed small boats swarmed upon 
the waters, filled with gentlemen and ladies. The Spanish 
ship-of-war Galveston, Iji^^g ii^ the harbor, was the only vessel 
of all nations, that did not show signs of respect. The neglect 
was so marked, that many words of censure were heard, when, 
at a given signal, just as the barge containing Washington was 
abreast of her, she displayed, on every part of her rigging, 
every flag and signal known among the nations. At the same 
moment she discharged thirteen heavy guns, and these were 
answered by the grand battery on shore. In the midst of this 
cannonade, and the shouts of the multitude on land and water, 
the President debarked, and was conducted by a military and 
civic procession to the residence prepared for his use, at No. 
10 Cherry-street, near Franklin Square. 

Such was the reception of the first President at the capital 
of the Union. The demonstrations of joy and loyalty were 
most sincere and universal, and yet the pen of wit and the 
pencil of caricature had been busy. As early as the Yth of 
April, John Armstrong wrote to General Gates, from New 
York, saying: 

" All the world here are busy in collecting flowers and sweets 
of every kind to amuse and delight the President in his ap- 
proach and on his arrival. Even Roger Sherman has set his 


head at work to devise some style of address more novel and 
dignified than ' Excellency.' Yet in the midst of this admira- 
tion, there are skeptics who doubt its propriety, and wits who 
amuse themselves at its extravagance. The first will grumble, 
and the last will langh, and the President should be prepared 
to meet the attacks of both with firmness and good nature. A 
caricature has already appeared called ' The Entry,' full of 
very disloyal and profane allusions. It represents the general 
mounted on an ass, and in the arms of his man Billy — Hum- 
phreys leading the Jack, and chanting hosannahs and birth-day 
odes. The following couplet proceeds from the mouth of the 
devil : 

' The glorious time has come to pass, 
"When David shall conduct an ass.' " 

On Tliursday, the 30tli of April, 1789, Washington was in- 
augurated the First President of the United States. The cere- 
monies were preceded by a national salute at Bowling Green, 
the assembling of the people in the churches to implore the 
blessings of Heaven on the nation and the President, and a 
grand procession. The august sjDectacle was exhibited upon the 
open gallery at the front of the old Federal Hall at the head of 
Broad-street, in the presence of a vast assemblage of people. 
"Washington was dressed in a suit of dark-brown cloth, and 
white silk stockings, all of American manufacture, with silver 
buckles upon his shoes, and his hair powdered and dressed in 
the fashion of the time. Before him, when he arose to take the 
oath of ofiice, stood Chancellor Livingston, in a suit of black 
broadcloth ; and near them were Vice-President Adams, Mr. 
Otis, the Secretary of the Senate, who held an open Bible upon 


a ricli crimson cushion, Generals Knox, St. Clair, Steuben, and 
other officers of the army, and George Clinton, the Governor 
of the state of New York. 


Washington laid his hand upon the page containing the fif- 
tieth chapter of Genesis, opposite to wliich were two engrav- 
ings, one representing The Blessing of Zehulon, the other The 
Prophecy of Issachar. Chancellor Livingston then waved his 
hand for the multitude to be silent, and in a clear voice, read 
the prescribed oath. The President said "I swear," then bowed 
his head and kissed the sacred volume, and with closed eyes as 
he resumed his erect position, he continued with solemn voice 
and devotional attitude, " So help me God !" 

" It is done ! " exclaimed the Chancellor, and, with a loud 
voice, shouted, " Long live George Washington, President of 
the United States ! " The people echoed the shout again and 
again ; and as the President moved toward the door, the first 
congratulatory hand that grasped his was that of his early and 
life-long friend, Richard Henry Lee, to whom in childhood, 
^Imost fifty years before, he had written : 

" I am going to get a whip-top soon, and you may see it and 
whip it." 


How many human whip-tops had these stanch patriots 
managed since they wrote those chiklish epistles ! 

Tliat Bible is now in the pc session of St. John's Lodge, in 
New York. Upon each cover is a record, in gilt letters, con- 
cerning the Lodge; and on the inside, beautifully written upon 
parchment, in ornamental style, by G. Thresher, surmounted 
by a portrait of Washington, engraved by Leney, of New 
York, is the following statement : 

" On this Sacred Volume, on the 30th day of April, 5789, 
in the city of New York, w^as administered to George Wash- 
ington, the first President of the United States of America, 
the oath to support the Constitution of the United States. 
This important ceremony was perfoi-med by the Most Wor- 
shipful Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons of the 
state of New York, tlie Honorable Robert R. Livingston, 
Chancellor of the state. 

" Fame stretched her wings and with her trumpet blew, 
' Great Washington is near, what praise is due ? 
What title shall he have ?' She paused, and said, 
'Not one — his name aloue strikes every title dead.' '' 

Mrs. Washington did not journey to New York with her 
husband. Her reluctance to leave Mount Yernon and the quiet 
of domestic pursuits was quite equal to his. She loved her 
home, her family, and friends, and had no taste for the excite- 
ments of fashionable society and public life. She was, in 
every respect, a model Virginia housekeeper. She was a very 
early riser, leaving her pillow at dawn at every season of the 
year, and engaging at once in the active duties of her house- 
hold. Yet these duties never kept her from daily communion 

204 MOUNT vp:rnon 

with God, in the sohtude of her closet. After breakfast she 
invariably retired to her chamber, where she remained an 
hour reading the Scriptures and engaged in thanksgiving and 
prayer. For more than half a century she practised such 
devotions in secret ; and visitors often remarked that when she 
appeared after the hour of spiritual exercises, her countenance 
beamed with ineffable sweetness. 

All day long that careful, bustling, industrious little house- 
wife kept her hands in motion. "Let us repair to the old 
lady's room," wrote the wife of Colonel Edward Carrington to 
her sister, a short time before Washington's death, while on a 
visit to Mount Yernon — "Let us repair to the old lady's 
room, which is precisely in the style of our good old aiunt's — 
that is to say, nicely fixed for all sorts of work. On one side 
sits the chambermaid, with her knitting ; on the other a little 
colored pet, learning to sew. An old decent woman is there, 
with her table and shears, cutting out the negroes' winter 
clothes, while the good old lady directs them all, incessantly 
knitting herself. She points out to me several pair of nice 
colored stockings and gloves she had just finished, and 
presents me with a pair, half done, which slie begs I will finish 
and wear for her sake. It is wonderful, after a life spent as 
these good people have necessarily spent theirs, to see them, 
in retirement, assume those domestic habits that prevail in our 

Mrs. Washington always sjjoke of the time when she was in 
public life, as wiftj of the President of the United States, as 
her " lost days." She was compelled to be governed by the 
etiquette prescribed for her, and she was very restive under it. 
To the wife of George A. Washington, the General's nephew, 


who had married her niece, and who was left in charge of 
domestic affairs at Mount Vernon when her husband assumed 
the presidency, she wrote from New York, saying : 

" Mrs. Sims will give you a better account of the fashions 
than I can. I live a very dull life here, and know nothing 
that passes in the town. I never go to any public place — 
■indeed I think I am more like a state prisoner than any thing 
else. There are certain bounds set for me which I must not 
depart from ; and, as I cannot do as I like, I am obstinate and 
stay at home a great deal." 

At that time the etiquette of the President's household was 
not fully determined on. In his diary, on the 15th of Novem- 
ber, Washington wrote : " Received an invitation to attend 
the funeral of Mrs. Roosevelt (the wife of a senator of this 
state [New York], but declined complying with it — first, 
because the propriety of accepting any invitation of this sort 
appeared very questionable — and secondly (though to do it in 
this instance might not be improper), because it might be 
difficult to discriminate in cases which might tliereafter 

The establishment of precedents and the arrangements of 
etiquette were of more importance than might at first thought 
appear. The plan of having certain days and hours when the 
President would receive calls, was a measure of absolute 
necessity, in order that the chief magistrate might have the 
control of his time ; and yet it ofiended many who were of the 
extremely democratic school. 

The precedents of monarchy might not be followed in a 
simple republic, and yet a certain dignity was to be preserved. 
The arrangement of official ceremonies, connected with the 


President personally, was finally left chiefly to Colonel Hiim- 
plireys, who had been abroad, and was a judicious observer of 
the phases of society under every aspect. The customs which 
were established during Washington's administration concern- 
ing the levees — the President not returning private visits, et 
cetera — have ever since prevailed ; and the chief magistrate of 
the republic is never seen in the position of a private citizen. 

In the letter just quoted, Mrs. Washington wrote: "Dear 
Fanny, I have, by Mrs. Sims, sent you a watch. It is one of 
the cargo that I have so long mentioned to you that was 
expected. I hope it is such a one as will please you. It is of 
the newest fashion, if that has any influence on your taste. 
The chain is Mr. Lear's choosing, and such as Mrs. Adams, 
the Vice-President's lady, and those in polite circles use. It 
will last as long as the fashion, and by that time you can get 
another of a fashionable kind." 

The watch mentioned in this letter was a flat gold one, 
manufactured by Lepine, "watchmaker to the king." Wash- 
ington purchased one for his own use at the same time, it 
being much more agreeable in the pocket than the old-fash- 
ioned bulky English watch. That watcli, with the key and 
seals, became the pro23erty of Bushrod Washington, the Gen- 
eral's nephew, who inherited Mount Yernon, and was by him, 
in the following clause in his will, given to a friend : 

" My gold watch I give to my friend Robert Adams, of 
Philadelphia, knowing that he will appreciate the gift, not for 
the intrinsic value of the article, but because it was worn by 
the Father of our Country, and afterward by his friend. After 
the death of the said Robert Adams, I give the said watch to 
his son Bushrod." 


20 ( 

On tlie 23d of March, 1830, the watch was forwarded to Mr. 
Adams by Jolm A. "Washington, who inherited Mount Yernon 
from his nncle Bnshrod. It is now in the possession of Bush- 
rod "Washington Adams, of Phila- 
delphia, and is preserved with the 
greatest care as a precious memento 
of the beloved patriot. Our en- 
graving shows the watch, ribbon, 
seal, and key, on a scale one-third less 
than the objects themselves. Tlie 
picture of the impression of the seal, 
exhibiting the "Washington arms and 
motto, is the size of the original. 
The stones of the seal and key are 
cornelian ; the former white and the 
latter red, and polygonal in form. 
The dial is of white enamel; the 
seconds figures carmine red. The 
case is standard gold, the alloy cop- 
per, giving it the red appearance of 
jeweller's gold. 

In the letter from which we have 
just quoted, Mrs. "Washington exhibits the care and frugality 
which she always practised at home. To 
Fanny she wrote : 

" I send to dear Maria a piece of cTiene to 
make her a frock, and a piece of muslin which 
I hope is long enough for an apron for you. 
In exchange for it, I beg you will give me a 

ITT 1 1.1 Washington's last 

workea muslm apron you have, like my gown watch-seal. 



that I made just before I left home, of worked muslin, as 1 
wish to make a petticoat to my gown of the two aprons." 

It should be remembered that the writer was in the midst 
of the gay life of New York, then the federal metropolis ; the 
wife of the presiding chief magistrate of the republic, receiving 
visits from the great of many lands and the most notable of 
her own, and having her own and her husband's large fortune 
at command. Some may call her practice the development of 
a parsimonious spirit. It was not so. Hers was the " liberal 
hand " that devised " liberal things " for the poor and unfor- 
tunate. It was only an exhibition of economy in the use of 
articles and the management of affairs, whicli American house- 
wives would do well to imitate. 

Mrs. Wasliington left Mount Yernon for N^ew York on the 
19th of May, in her chaise, accompanied by her grandchildren, 
Eleanor Parke and George Washington Parke Custis, and a 
small escort on horseback. She was clothed tidily in manufac- 
tures of our own country entirely. She lodged at Baltimore 
the first night of her journey. When she approached that city 
she was- met by a cavalcade of gentlemen and escorted into the 
town. In the evening fireworks were displayed in her honor ; 
and after supper she was serenaded by a band of musicians, 
composed of some gentlemen of the city. 

When she approached Philadelphia she was met, ten miles 
from the town, by the president of the state and the speaker 
of the assembly, accompanied by two troops of dragoons and a 
large cavalcade of citizens. Some miles from the city she was 
met by a brilliant company of women, in carriages. They 
attended her to Gray's Ferry, on the Schuylkill, where they all 
partook of a collation ; and from that place to the city, Mrs. 


Robert Morris occupied a seat bj the side of tiie President's 
wife, resigning lier own carriage to Master Custis, then a boy 
a little more than eight years of age. The procession entered 
the city at two o'clock, when the beloved lady was greeted by 
thirteen discharges of cannon, and the shouts and cheers of a 
great multitude. While in the city she was the guest of Mrs. 

On Monday morning, the 26th of May, Mrs. Washington 
left Philadelphia for ;N'ew York, accompanied by her hostess. 
The military paraded for the purpose of forming an escort as 
far as Trenton, but, as on the morning when her husband left 
the same city a month before, rain prevented the performance. 
After proceeding a short distance they took a respectful leave 
of lier, and returned. She slept at Trenton that night, and on 
Tuesday night she and her family were guests of Governor 
Livingston, at Elizabethtown. 

On Wednesday morning Washington proceeded, in his 
splendid reception-barge, to Elizabethtown Point to meet his 
family, accompanied by Eobert Morris and several other dis- 
tinguished men. The barge was manned as on the occasion of 
the reception of the President. When it approached White- 
hall, on its return, crowds of citizens thronged the wharves; 
and from the grand battery the voices of thirteen cannon, in 
quick succession, uttered a greeting. 

On the day after Mrs. Washington's arrival, the President 
entertained a few guests at a family dinner. These consisted of 
Yice-President Adams, Governor Clinton, the Count du Mous- 
tier (French minister), Don Diego Gardoqui (Spanish minister), 
Mr. Jay, General St. Clair, Senators Langrlon, Wingate, Izard, 
and Few, and Mr. Muhlenburg, Speaker of the House of Eep- 



/ s . 

' rosentatives. The dinner was plain ; and Washington, standing 
at the head of the tahle, aslced a blessing. After the dessert, 
a sino;le cjlass of wine was offered to each of the 2:uests. The 
President then arose, and led tlie way to tlie drawing-room, 
and the company departed without ceremony. 

On the following day, Mrs. Washington held her first draw- 
ing-room. It was attended by a very numerous company, of 
the highest respectabilit}'. Unlike the levees at the Presiden- 
tial mansion in our time, they were attended only by persons 
connected with the government and their families, the foreign 
ministers and their families, and others who held good positions 
in fashionable and refined society, either on account of their own 
merits or their social relations. All were expected to be in full 
dress, on these occasions. Mrs. Washington, though averse 
to all ostentatious show and parade, fully appreciated the dig- 
nity of her station, and was careful to exact those courtesies to 
which she was entitled. 

She was also careful not to allow public ceremonies to inter- 
fere with some of the life-long habits of herself and husband. 
ITe usually stood by her side, for awhile, on these occasions, 
and received the visitors as they were presented. But he did 
ni)t consider /if/rtw//" visited. He was a private gentleman; 
and when the visitors were assembled, he moved among the 
company, conversing with one and another, with the fa- 
miliarity that marked his manner in his own drawing-room 
at Mount Vernon. On these occasions he usually wore a 
l)rown cloth coat, with bright buttons, and had neither hat nor 

The reception was never allowed to last beyond the ap- 
pointed hour, which was from eight to nine. When the clock 



in the liall was striking the latter liour, Mrs. Washington would 
say to those present, with a most complacent smile, " The Gen- 
eral always retires at nine, and I usually precede 
him.'' In a few minutes the drawling-room would 
be closed, the lights extinguished, and the presi- 
dential mansion would he as dark and quiet 
before ten o'clock, as tlie house of any private 

The President held his levees or receptions, on 
Tuesdays, I'rom three to four o'clock in the after- 
noon, and these were very numerously attended, 
but by gentlemen only. On these occasions, 
alter the seat of government was removed to 
Philadelphia, he was always dressed in a suit of 
black velvet, black silk stockings, silver knee and 
shoe buckles, and having his hair powdered, and 
tied in a black silk bag or queue behind. lie 
wore yellow gloves, and held a cocked hat with 
a cockade upon it, the edges adorned with a black 
feather about an inch deep. lie also wore an 
elegant dress-sword which he bore with the utmost 
grace. This sword had a finely-wrought and 
polished steel hilt, which appeared at the lett hij). 
The scabl)ard was white polished leather. The 
coat was worn over the sword, the point of the 
scabbard only appearing below the skirt. 

At his levees in New York the President also 
wore a dress-sword, but less elegant than the one Washington's 
worn in Philadelphia, wliich an eye-witness has ^"^^^^-s^'^^i*- 
described to me. The sword used in New York is i)reserved 


at Mount Vernon, it having fallen to the lot of Bushrod Wash- 
ington, in the distribntion of several similar weapons, disposed 
of by the following clause in Washingtoirs u'ill : 

'"To eaeli of ni_v ne})he\vs, AVilHani Augustine Washington, 
Greorge Lewis, George Ste|>toe Washington, Bushrod Wash- 
ington, and Samuel Washington, 1 give one of the swords or 
couteaux, of which I may die possessed ; and they are to choose 
in the order they are named. Tliese swords are accompanied 
with an injunction not to unsheatli them for tlie purpose of 
shedding blood, except it be for self-defence, or in defence of 
their country and its i-ights ; and in the lattei- case to keep 
them unsheathed, and prefer falling with them in tlieir hands, 
to the relinquishment thereotV 

This sword appears in Stuart's full-length jiortrait of Wash- 
ington, p»ainted for the Martpiis of Landsdowne. It has a tine 
silver-gilt hilt, and black leather scabbard, silver-gilt mounted. 
On one side of the blade are the words kkctk face ice — "Do 
what is right;" on the othei", nkmink timkas — "Fear no 

At his receptions in PhiladeljJiia the President always 
stood, says an eye-witness, "in front of the fireplace, with liis 
l^ice toward the door of entrance. The visitor was conducted 
to hiui, and he I'equired to have the name so distinctly pro- 
nounced that he could hear it. lie had the very uncommon 
faculty of associating a man's name and pei'sonal appearance 
so durably in his memory as to be able to call any one l)y 
name who made him a second visit. lie received his visitor 
with a dignified bow, while his hands wei-e so disposed as to 
indicate that the salutation was not to be accompanied with 
shaking hands. This ceremou}- never occurred in these visits. 


even with the most intimate friends, that no distinction mig]it 
Le made. 

"As visitors came in, they formed a circle around the room. 
At a quarter past three the door was closed, and the circle 
was formed for that day. He then began on the right, and 
spoke to each visitor, calling him by name, and exchanging a 
few woi'ds witli him. When he had completed his circuit, he 
resumed liis first position, and the visitors approached him in 
succession, bowed, and retired. By four o'clock this ceremony 
was over."' 

In New York the President occupied the mansion at No. 10 
Cherrv- street, for about nine months, and then moved to a more 
spacious house on the west side of Broadway, between Trinity 
Church and the Bowling Green, where the French minister, M. 
de Moustier, had resided. It was a very pleasant house, with 
a warden extendinij:; to the shore of the Hudson. An Eno;lish 
gentlenum, who visited the President at that time, described 
the drawing-room as "lofty and spacious, but," he added, "the 
furniture was not beyond that found in the dwellings of 
opulent Americans in general, and might be called plain for 
its situation. The upper end of the room had glass doors, 
which opened upon a balcony, commanding an extensive view 
of the Hudson River, and the Jersey shore opposite." 

Some of the furniture here alluded to, was purchased of the 
French minister. Under date of February 1, 1790, Washing- 
ton recorded in his Diary—" Agreed, on Saturday last to take 
Mr. McComb's house, lately occupied by the Minister of France, 
for one year froiu and after the 1st day of May next ; and 
would go into it immediately, if Mr. Otto, the present posses- 
sor, could be accommodated. This day I sent my Secretary to 


examine the rooms to see how my fui-niture would be adapt- 
ed to the respective apartments." 
Two days afterv'ard he recorded : 

''Visited the apartments in the house of Mr. McCombs — 
made a disposition of the rooms — tixod on furniture of the 
Minister's (which was to be sold, and was well adapted to par- 
ticular public I'ooms) — and directed additional stables to be 

"^One piece of the French minister's furniture "fixed upon" 
and purchased at that time, was a writing-desk, or secretary, 
and also an easy chair that was used with it. These Washing- 
ton took with liim to Philadelphia, and afterward to Mount 
Vernon ; and in his will they were disposed of as follows : 

"To niy companion in arms and old and intimate friend, 
Dr. Craik, I give my bureau (or as cabinet-n)akers call it 
tand)Our secretary), and the circular chair, an appendage of 
my study." 

That secretary is now in the possession of a grandson of 
Dr. Craik, the Reverend James Craik, of Louisville, in Ken- 
tucky. Tlie engraving is from a pencil-sketch by Mr. Alex- 
bander Casseday. 

; The seat of the federal government was removed from New 
York to Philadelphia in 1790, by act of Congress. That body 
\ adjourned on the 12th of August, and Washington imme- 
diately thereafter made a voyage to Newport, Rhode Island, 
for the lieneiit of his health. Close application to public 
business had caused a nervous prostration, that threatened con- 
sequences almost as serious as those with which he had been 
menaced by a malignant carbuncle the year before. He had 
also suffered severely from a violent inflammation of the lungs. 




nie sea voyage was beneficial, and on the 30tli of August 
the President and liis family set out for Mount Yernon, there 
to spend, the few months before the next meeting of Con- 
gress at Philadelphia. They left New York for Elizabethtown 
in the splendid barge in which they had arrived, amid the 
thunders of cannon and the huzzas of a great multitude of 
l>eople. Washington never saw New York again. Having 
no fin-ther use for his barge, lie wrote to Mr. Pandall, the 


(^liairmaii of tliu cumuiittee tlirougli whom lie had received it, 
, saying: 

"As I aiu at this moment about commeneing my journey to 
Virginia, and consequently will have no farther occasion for 
the use of the Large, I must now desire that you will return it, 
in my name, and with my best thanks, to the original proprie- 
tors ; at the same time I shall be much obliged if you will 
have the goodness to add, on my part, that in accepting their 
beautiful present, I considered it as a pledge of that real 
ui'banity which, I am happy in declaring, I have experienced 
on every occasion during my residence among them ; that I 
ardently wish every species of prosperity may be the constant 
portion of the respectable citizens of New York ; and that 1 
shall always retain a grateful reuRMubrance of the polite atten- 
tions of the citizens in general, and of those in ])articular to 
whom the contents of this note are addressed." 

A few days after this, Washington was again beneath the 
roof he loved so well, at Mount Vernon, but the coveted 
enjoyment of his home was lessened by the weight of ])ublic 
cares that pressed upon him. The old feeling of deep resi)on- 
sibility, which it was so difhcult for him to lay aside at the 
(dose of his military career, returned; and in his library, where 
he loved to devote his morning hours to reading and the 
labors of the pen in recording facts connected with his pursuits 
as a farmer, he might be seen with state pa})ers, maps, plans, 
and every thing that iiulicated the vreighty cares of a public 

The Congress then just closed had been a most im])oi"tant 
one, and the labors of every conscientious officer and employee 
of the government had been \ery severe. Upon them had 


been laid the responsible and inonientous task of putting in 
motion the machinery of a new government, and hijing the 
foundations of the then present and future policy of that gov- 
ernment, domestic and foreign. As the chief magistrate of the 
republic, the chief officer of the government, tlie chief archi- 
tect of the new superstructure in progress, Washington felt the 
solemnity of his position, and the inqwrtance of the great 
trusts which the people had placed in his hands ; and the 
sense of all this denied him needful repose, even while sitting 
within the quietude of his home on the banks of the Potomac. 

Just before Congress adjom-ned, Washington received a 
curious present, which he carried with hiin to Mount Vernon. 
It was the key of the Bastile, that old state prison in Paris, 
which had become a strong arm of despotism. It was first a 
]"oyal castle, completed by Charles V. of France, in 1383, for 
the defence of Paris against the English, but in the lapse of 
time it had become a fortress, devoted to the seltish purposes 
of tyranny. It was hated by the people. 

During the preceding year, the slumbering volcano of revo- 
lution burning in the hearts of the people, upon which for a long 
time, royalty and the privileged classes in France had been 
reposing, showed frequent signs of inquietude, which ])roph- 
esied of violent eruption. The abuses of the government, under 
the administration of the ministers of a well-meaning but weak 
monarch, had become unendurable, and the best friends of 
France had spoken out boldly against them. 

Among these the boldest was Lafayette. He had made a 
formal demand for a National Assembly. " What !" said the 
Count d' Artois to him on one occasion, " Do you make a mo- 
tion for the States General?" "Yes, and even niorethati that," 


Lafayette replied ; and tliat more was nothing less than a char- 
ter from the king, by which the pnblic and individual liberty 
should be acknowledged and guarantied by the future States 

That body opened their session at Vei'sailles in May, and 
soon constituted themselves a National Assenil)ly. Their hall 
was closed by order of the king, on the 20tli, and from that 
time until early in July, Paris was dreadfully agitated. Every 
one felt that a terrible stoi'm was ready to burst. The king, 
surrounded by bad advisers, attempted to avert it l)y means 
which precipitated it. lie placed a cordon of troops around 
Paris, to overawe the opposers of government. The Assembly, 
supported by tlie people, organized a militia within the city. 
The number required was forty-eight thousand. In two days, 
two hundred and seventy thousand citizens enrolled them- 
selves. A state mayor was appointed by the toAvn assem- 
bly, and tlie Marquis La Salle w^as named commander-in-chief. 

The armed people intercepted the court dispatches by arrest- 
ing the royal couriers ; and an immense assemblage went to 
the Hospital of the Invalids, on the lOth of July, and demand- 
ed of the governor to deliver up to them all the amns depos- 
ited there. He refused, and they seized thirty thousand mus- 
kets and twenty pieces of cannon. They also seized all the 
arms in the shops of the armorers, and those of the Garde- 
Meuble. Tlie tumult throughout the city became terrible in 
strength and intensity, and the National Assembly sent a dep- 
utation to the king to inform him of the disturbances, and to 
point to the cause — the surrounding troops. The king, under 
advice, refused to make a change, haughtily declaring that he 
alone had the right to judge of the necessity of public measures. 


On the iiiglit of the 13th, Paris was comparatively quiet. 
It was the hill before the bursting of the storm. The dismissal 
of M. Necker from the post of minister of finance, had greatly 
exasperated the inhabitants. The streets were ban-icaded. 
The people formed themselves into a National Guard, and 
chose Lafayette as their commander. Each assumed some 
sort of military dress, and laid liold of gun, sabre, scythe, or 
whatever weapon lirst fell in their way. Multitudes of men 
of the same opinion, embraced each other in the streets as 
brothers ; and in an instant, almost-, a National Guard was 
formed, consisting of a hundred thousand determined men. 

It was believed that the Bastile contained a large quantity 
of arms and ammunition, and thither the people repaired on 
the morning of the l-ith. A parley ensued, the gates were 
opened, an(,l about forty citizens, leaders of the people, were 
permitted to go in. The bridges were then drawn, and a 
firing was heard within ! 

That moment marks the opening of the terrible drama of 
the French revolution. The fury of the jjopnlace was excited 
beyond all control. That firing fell upon their ears as the 
death-knell of their friends who had gone within the walls of 
the hated prison. With demoniac yells they dragged heavy 
cannon before the gates, in the face of a storm of grape shot 
from the fortress. They quailed not before the stoiiu, l>ut 
attacked the stronghold of Des])otism with tiger-like ferocity. 
The alarmed governor, Delaunay, soon displayed a M'hite flag, 
and the firing ceased. 

A second deputation was now sent to the governor. The^' 
shared the fate of the former. With redoubled fury the 
people again assailed the walls, made a breach, rushed in. 

220 M U X T V E 1! X X 

sci/ed tlie governor and other officers, and conducting them in 
triunipli to the Place de Grrace, lirst cut oft' their hands, and 
then their heads. The latter were then paraded upon pikes 
through the streets, and the great iron key of the Bastile was 
carried to the /lotel de VUle, or town hall. The Kational 
Assend)l_v decreed its demolition. Seven prisoners who had 
been confined in its dungeons since the reign of Louis the 
Fifteenth (three of whom had lost their reason) were set at 
liberty, and the old fortress was demolished soon afterward. 

Upon its. site is now the Place de Bastile, within which 
stands the Coluinv of July, erected by order of Louis Philippe, 
in commemoration of the events of the menioral)le Three Days 
t)f July, 1S3U, which placed him upon the throne of France. 

The National Assembly, by unanimous vote, now elected 
Lafayette commander-in chief of the National Guard of all 
France, a corps of more than four millions of armed citizens. 
lie accepted the appointment, but, imitating the example of 
AVashington, he refused all remunei'ation ft)r his services, not- 
withstanding a salary of ftfty thousand dollars a year was 
voted. The king approved of his appointment, and the mon- 
arch, being deserted by his had advisers, threw himself upon 
the National Assembly. " He has hitherto been deceived," 
Lafayette proclaimed to the people, '' but he now sees the 
merit and justice of the popular cause." The people shouted 
" Vive le roi ! " and for a moment the revolution seemed to l)e 
at an end. 

The key of the Bastile was placed in the hands of Lafayette, 
and in March following he sent it to Thomas Paine, then in 
London, to be forwarded as a present to Washington, together 
with a neat drawing, in pencil, representing the destruction of 




222 M U N T V E K N N 

the prison. A copy of that isketeli is given on page 221. 
With these Lafayette enclosed a letter to Washington, dated 
the ITtli of March, in wliich he gave hini a general picture of 
nffairs in France, and added : 

"After I have confessed all this, I will tell yon, with the same 
candor, that we have made an admirable and almost inci'edible 
destrnction of all abuses and prejudices; that every thing not 
directly useful to or coming from the people has been levelled ; 
that in the topographical, moral, and political situation of 
France, we have made more changes in ten months than the 
most sanguine patriots could have imagined ; that our internal 
troubles and anarchy are much exaggerated ; and tliat, upon 
the wliole, this revolution, in which nothing will be wanting 
l)ut energy of government, as it was in America, will im- 
plant liberty and make it flourish throughout the world ; 
while we must wait for a convention, in a few years, to mend 
some defects, which are not now perceived by men just es- 
caped from aristocracy and despotism." 

lie then added ; 

"Give me leave, my dear general, to present you with a 
picture of the Bastile, just as it looked a few days after I 
ordered its demolition, with the main l^ey of the fortress of 
despotism. It is a tribute which I owe as a son to my adopted 
father— as an aide-de-camp to my general — as a missionary of 
liberty to its patriarch." 

After considerable delay, Paine forwarded the key and 
drawing to Washington, with a letter, in which he said : 

" I feel myself happy in being the person through whom the 
Marquis has conveyed this early trophy of the sj)oils of despot- 
ism, and the first ripe fruits of American principles trans- 



planted into Enropc, to ]iis great master and patron. When lie 
mentioned to me the present he intended for you, my lieart 
leaped Avith joy. It is something so truly in character, that 
no remarks can iilusti-ate it, and is more 
happily expressive of his remembrance 
of ]iis American friends than any letters 
can convey. That the i)rinciples of 
America opened the Bastile is not to be 
doubted, and therefore tlic key conies to 
the right place. * -jf * * 

"I should rejoice to be tlie direct 
l)earer of the marquis's present to your 
excellency, but I doul)t I shall not be 
able to see my much-loved America till 
next spring. I shall therefore send it 
by some American vessel to Xew York. 
I have permitted no drawing to be taken here, though it has 
l)een often requested, as I think there is a propriety that it 
should first be preseiited. But Mr. West wishes Mr. Ti-umbull 
to make a painting of the j^resentation of the key to you." 
On the 11th of August Washington wrote to Lafayette : 
"I have received your affectionate letter of tlie 17th of 
March by one conveyance, and the token of the victorv 
gained by liberty over despotism by another, for both which 
testimonials of your friendship and regard I pray you to 
accept my sincerest thanks. In this great subject of triumph 
for the New World, and for humanity in general, it will never 
be forgotten how conspicuous a part you bore, and how mucli 
lustre you reflected on a country in which you made the first 
displays of your cliaracter.'' 


224 M U N T V K R N N 

The key of the JJastile, and the drawing representing tlie 
demolition of the fortress, are at Mount Vernon. The former 
is preserved in a glass case, and the latter hangs near it, in the 
same relative position in which they were originally placed by 
Washington, in the great passage of the mansion. 

Directly opposite the key, in the great passage, hangs the 
spy-glass used by Washington in the Revolution, and after- 


ward at Mount Vernon. This was always carried by Billy, 
his favorite body-servant, to be used in reconnoitring at a 
distance. Mr. C^ustis, in his J?eeoUections of Washington, 
gives the following anecdote in connection with this spj^-glass, 
or telescope, on the field of Monmouth : 

"A ludicrous occurrence varied the incidents of the 28th of 
June. The servants of the general officers were usually well 
armed and mounted. Will Lee, or Billy, the former hunts- 
man, and favorite body-servant of the Chief, a square, mus- 
cular figure, and capital horseman, paraded a corps of valets, 
and, riding pompously at their head, proceeded to an eminence 
crowned by a large sycamore-tree, from whence could be seen 
an extensive portion of the field of battle. Here Billy halted, 
and, having unslung the large telescope that he always carried 
in a leathern case, with a martial air applied it to his eye, and 
reconnoitred the enemy. Washington having observed these 
manoeuvres of the corps of valets, pointed them out to his 


officers, observing, 'See those fellows collecting on yonder 
height; the enemy will tire on theui to a certainty.' Mean- 
while the British were not nnmindful of the assemblage on the 
height, and perceiving a burly ligure well mounted, and with 
a telescope in hand, they determined to pay their respects to 
the group. A shot from a six-pounder passed through the 
tree, cutting away the limbs, and producing a scampering 
among the corps of valets, that caused even the grave coun- 
tenance of the general-in-chief to relax into a smile." 

The pocket telescope used by Washington throughout tlie 
war was presented to President Jackson, by the late George 
Washington Parke Custis, en the 1st of January, 1830. To 
this interesting memorial Mr. Custis had affixed a silver })late, 
with the following inscription : 

'"'•Erat Aucforis, ed conservatoris, Lihertatis. 1775 — 1783." 

On presenting the gift, Mr. Custis observed that, "Although 
it was in itself of but little value, there was attached unto it 
recollections of the most interesting character. It had been 
raised to the eye of the departed Chief, in the most awful and 
momentous periods of our mighty conflict ; it had been his 
companion from '75 to '83, amid the toils, i)rivations, the 
hopes, the fears, and the final success of our glorious struggle 
for inde})endence ; and, as the memorial of the hero wdio 
triumphed to obtain liberty, it is now^ appropriately bestow^ed 
upon the hero who triumphed to preserve it. Mr. C. recpiest- 
ed that, as he (the General) was childless, he w^ould be pleased, 
at his decease, to leave the telesco])e as Alexander left his 
kingdom — ' to the most worthy.' " 




President Jackson accepted the present and tlie compliment, 
and made a brief response, ^\^letller lie left it " to the most 

w<n*thy," at his decease, or 
where it is now, we have no 

Washington carried with 
him to Mount Yernon, with 
the key of the Bastile, a 
pair of elegant pistols, which, with 
equally elegant holsters, had been 
presented to him by the Count de 
Moustier, the French minister, as a 
token of his personal regard. These 
weapons, it is believed, are the ones pre- 
sented by Washington to Col. Samuel Hay, 
of the tenth Pennsylvanian regiment, wdio 
stood high in the esteem of his general. 
They bear the well-known cipher of Wash- 
ington, and were purchased at the sale of 
Colonel Hays' effects, after his death, toward 
the close of 1803, by John Y. Baldwin, of 
Newark, in New Jersey. Mr. Baldwin ])re- 
sented them to Isaac I. Greenwood, of 
Brooklyn, New York, in 1825, in whose 
possession one of them remains, the other 
having been lost on the occasion of a fire 
which destroyed the residence of Mr. Green- 
wood's mother. Our engraving represents the preserved one. 

A son of Mr. Baldwin relates an anecdote in connection 
with these pistols : — "-When I was a boy," he says, "my father 

vvasiii,n(;ton's pistol. 


would frequently take up the Aurora, a magazine then pub- 
lished in Philadelphia, and marking off about twenty lines, 
would say, 'Now, Josepli, if you read those correctly, and 
without a single mistake, you shall fire off one of Washing- 
ton's pistols.' Such a promise was a high incentive, and if the 
task was fairly accomplished, my mother would take off her 
thimble to measure the charge, and my father, having loaded 
the pistol, I Avould go to the backdoor with an exulting 
heart, and lifting the weapon on high, tightly grasped with 
both hands, j)ull the trigger." 

While at Mount Vernon in the autumn of 1790, Washino-ton 
received from the Count D'Estaing a small bust of M. Xecker, 
the French minister of finance, or comptroller-general, when 
the French Revolution broke out in 1789. James Necker 
was a native of Geneva, in Switzerland. He went to France 
as ambassador for the republic, where, in 1765, he obtained the 
office of syndic to the East India Company, and in 1775 was 
made director of the royal treasury. He exhibited such 
virtue of character, and such eminent abilities, that twice, 
though a foreigner, he was made prime minister of France. 
He was popular with the people at the breaking out of the 
French Revolution, but that storm was so variable and fickle, 
that he returned to Switzerland, where he remained until his 
death, which occurred in 180-1, at the age of seventy -two years. 
His daughter married Baron de Stael Holstein, a Swedish 
ambassador at the court of France. She was the Madame de 
Stael so well known in the world of letters. 

The little bust of ISTecker sent by D'Estaing to Washing- 
ton, is upon a bi'acket over the fireplace in the library at 
Mount Vernon, M'here the President placed it himself. Upon 


the tall pedestal are two brass plates, bearing inscriptions, and 
also a small plate upon the lower part of the bust itself. On 
the latter is only the name of 

Upon the upper plate on the pedestal are the words : 


Upon the second or lower plate is inscribed : 






GEORGIA, BY AN ACT OF 22d FEB., 1785, 


Count D'Estaing, who had twice commanded a French fleet 
on our coast, in co-operation with American land forces, be- 
came a member of the Assembly of Notables in the early part 
of tlie French Revolution, and being suspected of an unfriendly 
feeling toward the Terrorists, he was destroyed by the guillo- 
tine, on the 29th of April, 1793. 



In a letter to Tobias Lear, (then in New York,) dated at 
Mount Vernon on the 3d of August, 1790, Washington requests 
him, when able to get at Count D'Estaing's letters (which, 
with others, had been packed for removal from New York 
to Philadelphia), to send him a transcript of what the Count 
says of a bust of M. Necker he had sent to him, together 
with a number of prints of 
Necker and Lafayette. 

Upon another bracket in the 
library at Mount Vernon, not 
far from the little head of 
Necker, is a full-size bust of 
Lafayette, a copy ot the one in 
the capitol at Richmond made 
by Houdon, by order of the 
legislature of the state of Vir- 
ginia, in 1786, which was exe- 
cuted under the direction of 
Mr. Jeiferson, then American 
minister in Paris. The legisla- 
ture of Virginia also ordered a copy to be made and pre- 
sented to the city of Paris. This fact was made known to 
the authorities there, by Mr. Jeiferson, in the following 
words : 


" Tlie legislature of the state of Virginia, in consideration of 
the services of Major-General the Marquis de Lafayette, has 
resolved to place his bust in their capitol. This intention of 
erecting a monument to his virtues, and to the sentiments with 
which he has inspired them, in the country to which they are 



indebted for his birtli, lias induced a hope that the city of 
Paris ^vonld consent to become the depository of a second 
proof of their gratitude. Charged by the state with the 


execution of this resohition, I have the honor to solicit the 
Prevot des Marchands and municipality of Paris to accept the 
bust of this brave officer, and give it a situation where it may 
continually awaken the admiration and witness the respect of 
the allies of France. 

^'Thos. Jefferson. 

'Dated [at Paris] Vlth September. 1786." 

The Prevot soon received a letter from the Baron de Bre- 
teuil, minister and secretary of state for the department of 
Paris, informing him that the king, to whom the proposition 
had been submitted, approved of the bust being erected in the 


city. The council accordingly assembled on the 28th of Sep- 
tember, and Mr. Short, of Yirgiiiia, representing Mr. Jefferson, 
(who was confined to his room by illness), went to the Hotel 
de Ville to present the bust, which Houdon had satisfactorily 
executed. The proceedings of the meeting were opened by M. 
Pelletier de Morfontaine, counsellor of state and Prevot des 
Marchands, by stating its object. M. Veytard, the chief 
clerk, read all the documents connected with the matter, after 
which M. Ethit de Corny, attorney-general and knight of 
the order of Cincinnatus, delivered an address, in which he 
recounted the services of Lafayette in America, the confidence 
of the army in him, and the attachment of the people to him. 
In his official capacity he then gave the requisite instructions 
for the reception of the bust, agreeably to the wishes of the 
king. It was accordingly placed in one of the galleries of the 
Hotel de Ville, wdiere it remains to this day. 

Tliis was a most rare honor to be paid to a young man, only 
twenty-nine years of age. It M-as as unexpected to Lafayette 
as it was grateful to his feelings ; and it was an additional link 
in the bright chain of memories and sympathies which bound 
him to this country. 

Soon after his arrival in New York to assume the duties of 
the presidency, "Washington imported a fine coach from Eng- 
land, in which, toward the close of the time of his residence 
there, and while in Philadelphia, he often rode with his 
family, attended by outriders. On these occasions it was gen- 
erally drawn by four, and sometimes by six fine bay horses. 
The first mention of a coach, in his diary, in which he evident- 
ly refers to this imported one, is under the date of December 
12, 1789, where he records as follows: 


II U X T y K R N X 

" Exercised in the coach with Mrs. Wasliington and the two 
children (Master and Miss Custis) between breakfast and din- 
ner — went the fourteen miles round." Previous to this he 

W \Mll\(.lt)N o IN(.llslI CO^CH 

mentions exercising in "a coach" (probably a hired one), and 
in "the post-chaise" — the vehicle in which he travelled from 
Mount Vernon to New York. 

This coach was one of the best of its kind, heavy and sub- 
stantial. The body and wheels were a 'cream color, with gilt 
mouldings ; and the former was suspended upon heavy 
leathern straps which rested upon iron springs. Portions of 
the sides of the upper ])art, as Avell as the front and rear, were 
furnished with neat green Yenotiun blinds, and the remainder 
was enclosed with black leather curtains. The latter might be 
raised so as to make the coach quite open in fine weather. 



The blinds afforded shelter from the storm while allowing 

ventilation. The coach was lined with bright black leather; 

and the driver's seat was trimmed with the same. The axles 

were wood, and the curved 

reaches iron. 

Upon the door Washing- 
ton's arms M^ere handsomely 

emblazoned, having scroll 

ornaments issuing from the 

space beUveen the shield and 

the crest ; and below was a 

ribbon with his motto upon 


Upon each of the four 
panels of the coach was an 
allegorical picture, emblem- 
atic of one of the seasons. These were beautifnllj painted 
upon copper bv Cipriani, an Italian artist. The ground was 
a very dai'k green— so dark that it appeared nearly black; 
and the allegorical figures were executed in bronze, in size 
nine and a half by ten inches. One of them, emblematical of 
spring, is I'epresented in the engraving. 

Washington and his family travelled from Elizabethtown to 
Philadelphia in this coach when on their way from New York 
to Mount Vernon, in the early autumn of 1789. Dunn, his 
driver, ajjpears to have been quite incompetent to manage the 
six horses with which the coach was then drawn ; and almost 
immediately after leaving Elizabethtown Point, he allowed 
the coach to run into a gully, by which it was injured. At 
Governor Livingston's, where they dined, another coachman 





was emplojed. In a letter to Mr. Lear, written at a tavern in 
Maryland, wliile on liis way to Mount Vernon, Washington 
said : 

" Dunn has given such proof of his want of skill in driving, 
that I find myself under the necessity of looking out for some 
one to take his place. Before we reached Elizabethtown we 
were obliged to take him from the coach and put him on the 
wagon. This he turned over twice, and this morning he was 
found much intoxicated. He has also got the horses into the 
habit of stopping." 


In a letter to Mr. Leur soon after arriving at Mount Vernon, 
Washington mentions the fact that he had left his coach 
and harness with Mr. Clarke, a coach-maker in Philadelphia, 
for repairs, and requests him to see that they are well done, 
when he shall reach that city, Mr. Lear being then in 'New 
York. Clarke built the coach in England, came over with 
it and another precisely like it (which was imported by 
Mrs. Powell, of Philadelphia), and settled in business in that 

On the 31st of October, Washington again writes about his 
coach, in a letter to Mr. Lear. He appears to have had the 
emblazoning changed at that time, and instead of his entire 
coat-of-arms upon the doors, he had the crest only retained. 
He tells Mr. Lear that he thinks a wreath around the crests 
would better correspond with the seasons which were to re- 
main on the panels, than the motto ; and suggests tliat the 
motto might be put upon the plates of the harness. He leaves 
the whole matter, however, to the taste and judgment of Mr. 
Lear and the coach-maker. 

This English coach was purchased by the late Mr. Custis, 
of Arlington, when the effects of the general were sold, after 
Mrs. Washington's death ; and it finally became the property 
of the Eight Eeverend William Meade, now Bishop of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia. Of this vehicle, the 
bishop thus writes : 

" His old English coach, in which himself and Mrs. Wash- 
ington not only rode in Fairfax county, but travelled through 
the entire length and breadth of the land, was so faithfully 
executed, that at the conclusion of that long journey, its build- 
er, who came over with it, and settled in Alexandria, was 


proud to be told hj the general, that not a nail or screw had 
failed. It so happened, in a way I need not state, that this 
coach came into my hands ahont fifteen years after the death 
of General Washington. In the course of time, from disuse, 
it being too heavy for these latter days, it began to decay and 
give away. Becoming an object of desire to those who delight 
in relics, I caused it to be taken to pieces and distributed 
among the admiring friends of Washington who visited my 
house, and also among a number of female associations for 
benevolent and religious objects, which associations, at their 
fairs and other occasions, made a large profit by converting 
the fragments into walking-sticks, picture-frames, and snufi- 
boxes. About two-thirds of one of the wheels thus pro- 
duced one hundred and forty dollars. There can be no 
doubt that at its dissolution it yielded more to the cause of 
charity than it cost its builder at its first erection. Besides 
other mementos of it, I have in my study, in the form of a 
sofa, the hind seat, on which the general and his lady were 
wont to sit."* 

From Mount Yernon, during the recess, Wasliington wrote 
several letters to Mr. Lear, who was charged with the removal 
of the cff'ects of the President from New York, hiring a house 
for his residence in Philadelphia, and arranging the furniture 
of it. Previous to Washington's arrival in Philadelphia from 
New York, the corporation of the latter city had hired for his 
use the house of Robert Morris, in Market street, on the south 
side of Sixth street — the best that could be procured at that 
time. Washington had examined it and found it quite too 

* Meade's Old GhurcJies, Ministers^ and Families in Virginia, II, 237. 


8111 all to accommodate his liousehold as he could wish, even 
with an addition that was to be made. " There are good sta- 
bles," he said, "but for twelve horses only, and a coach- 
liouse which will hold all my carriages." There was a fine 
garden, well enclosed by a brick wall, attached to the man- 

The state legislature, had, at about the same time, appropri- 
ated a fine building for his use on South Ninth street, on the 
grounds now covered by the University. But he declined ac- 
cepting it, because he would not live in a house hired and fur- 
nished at the public expense. 

There were other considerations, without doubt, that caused 
"Washington to decline the liberal offers of the state and city 
authorities, to relieve him of any private expense for the sup- 
port of his personal establishment. The question of tlie per- 
manent locality of the seat of the federal government was not 
then fairly settled, and the Philadelphians were using every 
means in their power to have it fixed in their city. Wash- 
ington was aware of this, and as he was more favorable to a 
site farther south, he was unwilling to afford a plea in favor 
of Philadelphia, such as the providing of a presidential man- 
sion would afford. 

This matter appears to have given Washington considerable 
anxiety. He was willing to rent Mr. Morris's house on his 
own account, and, with his accustomed prudence, he directed 
Mr. Lear to ascertain the price ; but up to the middle of JSTo- 
vember his secretary was unsuccessful in his inquiries, though 
they were repeatedly made. Washington was unwilling to 
go into it, without first knowing what rent he had to j^ay. 
" Mr. Morris, has most assuredly," he said, " formed an idea 


of what ought to be the rent of the tenement in the condition 
he left it ; and with this aid, the committee [of the Philadel- 
phia city council] ought, I conceive, to be as little at a loss 
in determining what it should rent for, with the additions 
and alterations which are about to be made, and which ought 
to be done in a plain and neat and not by any means in an 
extravagant style ; because the latter is not only contrary to 
my wish, but would really be detrimental to my interest 
and convenience, principally because it would be the means 
of keeping me out of the use and comforts of a home to a late 
period, and because the furniture and every thing else would 
require to be accordant therewith." 

Washington was convinced that the committee was delaying 
with the intention of having the rent paid liy the public, to 
which he would not consent ; and he Avas not Milling to have 
the place fixed and furnished in an extravagant manner, and 
thus be subjected to pay extortionate prices for the same. 

"I do not know," he said, "nor do I believe that any thing 
unfair is intended by either Mr. Morris or the committee ; but 
let us for a moment suppose that the rooms (the new ones I 
mean) were to be hung with tapestry, or a very rich and costly 
paper, neither of which would suit my present furniture ; that 
costly ornaments for the bow windows, extravagant chimney- 
pieces and the like were to be provided ; that workmen, from 
extravagance of the times, for every twenty shillings' worth of 
work would charge forty shillings; and that advantage would 
be taken of the occasion to newly paint every part of the 
house and buildings ; would tliero be any propriety in adding 
ten or twelve-and-a-half per cent, for all this to the rent of the 
house in its original state, for the two years that I am to hold 


it? If the solution of tliese questions is in the negative, 
wherein lies the difficulty of determining that the houses and 
lots, when finished according to the proposed plan, ouglit to 
rent for so much. 

" When all is done that can be done, the residence will not 
be so commodious as that I left in ^ew York, for there (and 
the want of it will be found a real inconvenience at Mr. 
Morris's) mj^ office was in the front room, below, where 
persons on business immediately entered; whereas, in the 
present case, they will have to ascend tAvo pairs of stairs, and 
to pass by the public rooms as well as the private chambers to 
get to it." 

In making suggestions to Mr. Lear about the proper ar- 
rangement of the furniture, even in minute detail, Washington 
said: "There is a small room adjoining the kitchen that might, 
if it is not essential for other purposes, be appropriated to the 
Sevres china, and other tilings of that sort, which are not in 
common use." He undoubtedly referred to the sets of china 
which had been presented, one to himself, and the other to 
Mrs. Washington, by the officers of the French army. The 
former was a dull white in color, with heavy and confused 
scroll and leaf ornaments in bandeaux of deep blue, and hav- 
ing upon the sides of the cups and tureens, and in the bottoms 
of the plates, saucers, and meat dishes, the Order of the Cin- 
cinnati, held by Fame, personated by a winged woman with 
a trumpet. These designs were skilfully painted in delicate 

These sets of china were presented to Washington and his 
wife, at the time when the elegant and costly Order of the 
Cincinnati (delineated on page 130) M'as sent to him. That 



Order, I omitted to mention in the proper place, cost three 
tliousaud dollarti. The whole of the eagle, except the beak and 
eye, is composed of diamonds. So, also, is the group of mili- 
tary emblems above it, in which each dnim-head is composed 
of one laro-e diamond. 


Several pieces of the Cincinnati china, as it is called, are 
preserved at Arlington Ilonse. In the engraving is shown a 
group composed of a large plate, a sonp tureen, custard cup, 
and teapot. 

The set of china presented at the same time by the French 
officers to Mrs. Washington, was of similar material, but more 
delicate in color than the general's. Tlie ornamentation was 
also far more delicate, excepting the delineation of the figure 
and Cincinnati Order on the former. Around the outside of 
each cup and tureen, and the inside of each plate and saucer. 




is painted, in delicate color, a chain of thirteen large and 
thirteen small elliptical links. Within each large link is the 
name of one of the original thirteen states. On the sides ot 
the cups and tureens, and in the bottom of each plate and 
saucer, is the interlaced monogram of Martha Washington — 
M- W. — enclosed in a beautiful green wreath, composed of the 
leaves of the laurel and olive. Beneath this is a ribbon, upon 
which is inscribed, in delicatelj-traced letters, Decus et tutam 
ENABiLLO. From the wreath are rays of gold, which give a 
brilliant appearance to the pieces. There is also a delicate- 
colored stripe around the edges of the cups, saucers, and 
plates. A few pieces of this set of china are preserved at 
xirlington House. The engraving represents a cup and saucer, 
and plate. 

Mrs. Atkinson, of Gennantown, granddaughter of Dr. David 
Stuart, who owns Washington's telescope, already mentioned. 





has a single piece of porcelain ware that belonged to the 
household goods of Mount Yernon. It is a white china butter- 
bowl and dish, with a cover. It is entirely white, with the 
exception of a gold stripe along the edges of the bowl and 

dish, and the knob of the 
lid. Tlie bowl and dish are 

At that time the china 
like that presented by the 
French officers was only 
made at the Sevres manufactory, the art of decorating porce- 
lain or china-ware with enamel colors and gold being then 
not generally known. The colors used are all prepared from 
metallic oxides, which are ground with fluxes, or fusible glasses 
of various degrees of softness, suited to the peculiar colors with 
which they are used. When painted, the goods are placed in 
the enamel kiln, when the fluxed colors melt and fasten to 
the glazed surface, forming colored glasses. The gold, which 
is applied in the form of an amalgam, ground in turpentine, 
is afterward polished with steel burnishers. 

The first Monday in December was the day fixed upon for 
the assembling of Congress. The seat of government, as we 
have observed, had been transferred to Philadelphia, not per- 
manently, but temporarily. As early as December, 1788, the 
legislature of Virginia had offered to present to the United 
States a tract of land ten miles square, anywhere within the 
bounds of that commonwealth, for the permanent seat of gov- 
ernment. Maryland made a similar offer. The citizens ot 
New Jersey and Pennsylvania asked to have it upon the 
Delaware, within a tract of land ten miles scpiare, to be ceded 


to the United States. The people of Trenton, in New Jersey, 
petitioned to have it there ; those of Lancaster, in Pennsyl- 
vania, wished to have it there, while, as we have observed, 
the Philadelphians were extremely anxious to have their city 
remain the federal capital, as it had been most of the time 
since the commencement of the Revolution. 

States and towns perceived great local advantages to be 
derived from a political metropolis in their midst, and were 
ready to make heavy sacrifices to obtain the boon. It is 
amusing to observe, in the correspondence and public proceed- 
ings of the times, how strongly local prejudices were engaged 
in the consideration of the matter. Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, 
eager to have the Congress fix on that city as its future home, 
wrote to one of the Pennsylvania representatives, saying : "1 
rejoice in the prospect of Congress leaving New York ; it is a 
sink of political vice ;" and advised tearing it away from that 
city " in any wayP A Yirginian declared that, in his opinion, 
New York was the best situation in the Union for the federal 
capital, it being superior to any place within his knowledge, 
" for the orderly and decent behavior of its inhabitants ;" while 
the South Carolinians objected to Philadelphia, on account of 
the Quakers, who, they declared, were " eternally dogging 
Southern members with their schemes of slave emancipation." 

It was finally agreed by both Houses of Congress, that the 
federal capital should be upon the " Potomac River, between 
the eastern branch and Conogocheague," and that Philadelphia 
should be the federal city for ten years, until the one upon 
the Potomac should be laid out, and proper public buildings 
erected. The selection of the exact site was left to the Presi- 


This action dissatisfied the New Yorkers, and ehited the 
Philadelpliians, for they considered a " half loaf better than no 
bread." Kobert Morris had been chiefly instrnmental in secur- 
ing the residence of the government at Philadelphia for the 
ten years, and wit and satire pointed their keenest arrows at 
him. A caricatm-e was issued " in which," says Griswold, 
" the stout senator from Pennsylvania was seen marching oiF 
with the federal hall upon his shoulders, its windows crowded 
with members of both houses, encouraging or anathematizing 
this novel mode of deportation, while the devil, from the roof 
of the Paulus' Hook ferry -liouse, beckoned to him in a patron- 
izing manner, crying, ' This way, Bobby.' " 

Freneau, who had written many pungent poems during the 
Revolution, used his pen upon the topic of the removal with 
considerable vigor, in prose and verse. In a political epistle, 
he makes a New York housemaid say to her friend in Phila- 
delphia : 

"As for us, my dear Nauny, we're much iu a pet, 
And hundreds of houses will be to be let ; 
Our streets, that were just iu a way to look clever, 
Will now be neglected and nasty as ever ; 
Again we must fret at the Dutchifled gutters 
And pebble-stone pavements, that wear out our trotters. 

This Congress unsettled is, suie, a sad thing — 

Seven years, my dear Nanny, they've been on tlie wing ; 

My master would rather saw timber, or dig 

Than see them removing to Conogocheague — 

Where the houses and kitchens are yet to be framed, 

The trees to be felled and the streets to be named." 

There were some Philadelpliians who were as afflicted 


because Congress was coining there, as New Yorkers were 
in having the government leave their city. As soon as it was 
ascertained that the government would reside there ten years, 
rents, and the prices of every kind of provisions and other 
necessaries of life, greatly advanced. "Some of the blessings," 
said a letter-writer at Philadelphia, quoted by Griswold, " an- 
ticipated from the removal of Congress to this city, are already 
beginning to be apparent. Rents of houses have risen, and I 
fear will continue to rise shamefully ; even in the outskirts 
they have lately been increased from fourteen, sixteen, and 
eighteen pounds to twenty -five, twenty-eight, and thirty. Tliis 
is oppression. Our markets, it is expected, will also be dearer 
than heretofore." 

It was a view of these changes, and anticipated extortion, 
that made Washington so anxious to know beforehand how 
much rent he must pay for his house in Philadelphia, and to 
avoid furnishing it in an extravagant manner, as he did not 
expect to remain there more than two years. He was resolved 
to continue the unostentatious way of living he had com- 
menced in l^ew York, not only on his own account, but for 
the benefit of those connected with the government who could 
not afford to spend more than their salaries. And that resolu- 
tion, well carried out, was most salutary in its effects. When 
Oliver Wolcott, of Connecticut, was appointed first auditor 
of the treasury, he, like a prudent man, before he would 
accept the office, went to ISTew York to ascertain whether he 
could live upon the salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year. 
He came to the conclusion that he could live upon one thou- 
sand dollars a year, and he wrote to his wife, saying : " The 
example of the President and his family will render j^ai'ade 


and expense improper and disreputable." This sentence speaks 
powerfully in illustration of the republican simplicity of Wash- 
ington's household in those days. 

The rent of Morris's house was fixed at three thousand dollars 
a year, and on the 22d of November, Washington left Mount 
Vernon for Philadelphia, accompanied by Mrs. Washington 
and Master and Miss Custis, in a chariot drawn by four horses. 
They were allowed to travel quietly, without any public pa- 
rade, but receiving at every sropping-place the warm welcome 
of many private citizens and personal friends. None gave 
the President a heartier shake of the hand on this occasion, 
and none was more welcome to grasp it, tlian Tommy Giles, a 
short, thickset man, of English birth, who kept a little tavern a 
short distance from the Head of Elk (now Elkton), on the road 
from Baltimore. His tavern-sign displayed a rude portrait of 
Washington ; and the President on his way to and from Mount 
Vernon, never passed by until he had greeted the worthy man. 

Tommy had been a fife-major in the Continental army, and 
had been employed a long time by Washington as his confi- 
dential express in the transmission of money from one point to 
another. In this business he was most trustworthy. Mrs. 
Giles was a stout Englishwoman, but republican to the core. 
Washington always shook hands with her as heartily as with 
her husband, and frequently left a guinea in her palm. 

On these occasions, when the President had passed. Tommy 
would array himself in his Continental uniform, and hasten to 
Holliugsworth's tavern, in Elkton (where Washington slept, 
or took a meal and fed his horses), to pay his respects in a 
formal manner to his beloved General. Washington always 
treated him with the greatest consideration, and for several 


days after such interviews, Toinniy would be the greatest man 
in the village. 

Tommy was appointed postmaster at Elkton, by Washing- 
ton, and was for several years crier of the Cecil county court. 
He always deported himself with dignity ; and, regarding his 
acquaintance with Washington and his ojficial position as suf- 
ficient claim to profound personal respect, he sometimes as- 
sumed an authoritative manner quite amusing. In a recent 
letter to me, an old resident of Philadelphia, speaking of Tom- 
my, remarks ; " I was once obliged to attend court as a witness, 
and one day went home, a distance of twenty-two miles. 1 
returned the following morning in a snow-storm^ in the month 
of April, and reached the court-house a few minutes after nine 
o'clock, when Mr. Giles was making his proclamation for me 
to appear. As I dismounted from my horse, my nose com- 
menced bleeding, and I called across the street to say I would 
be in court as soon as it stopped. Tommy rejoined shortly 
and authoritatively, • You have no business to let your nose 
bleed when the court wants you !' The court was more in- 
dulgent, and readily excused me." 

The President and his family reached Philadelphia on Sat- 
urday, the 28th of ]^ovember, and found their house in read- 
iness for them. Mr. Lear had brought on the furniture from 
New York, purchased some in Philadelphia, and ai-ranged the 
house much to the satisfaction of the President and his wife. 
Yet it was some time before they were ready to see company, 
and the first of Mrs. Washington's public receptions was on 
Friday evening, the 25th of December — Christmas-day. It 
is said that the most brilliant assemblage of beautiful, well- 
dressed, and well-educated women that had ever been seen in 


America, appeared at that levee. The Vice-President's wife 
mentioned in a letter that " the dazzlino- Mrs. Binp;hani and 
her beautiful sisters [Misses Willing], the Misses Aliens, the 
Misses Chew, and in short, a constellation of beauties," were 

The season opened very gajly, and balls, routs and dinners 
of the most sumptuous kind, succeeded each other in rapid 
succession. " I should spend a very dissipated winter," wrote 
Mrs. Adams, " if I were to accept one-half the invitations I 
receive, particularly to the routs, or tea-and-cards." Phila- 
delphia had never seen or felt any thing like it, and the wdiole 
town w'as in a state of virtual intoxication for several weeks. 
But Washington and his wife could not be seduced from their 
temperate habits, by the scenes of immoderate pleasure around 
them. Tliey held their respective levees on Tuesdays and 
Fridays, as they did in New York, without the least ostenta- 
tion ; and Congressional and official dinners were also given 
in a plain way, without any extravagant displays of plate, or- 
nament, or variety of dishes. 

Having furnished his house as a permanent residence while 
be should remain President, Washington had indulged in 
some things which would insure congruity, that were not seen 
in New York. He had ordered through Gouvernenr Morris, 
then in Paris, some articles for his sideboard and table. 
Among them were some silver-plated wine-coolers, the cost 
of wdiich rather startled him. He had received an invoice 
of them, before he left Mount Vernon, and in a letter to Mr. 
Lear, he wrote : 

" Enclosed I send you a letter from Mr. Gouvernenr Morris, 
with a bill of the cost of the articles he was to send me. The 


prices of the plated ware exceed — far exceed — the utmost 
bounds of my calculation ; but as I am persuaded he has 
done what he conceives right, I am satisfied, and request you 
to make immediate payment to Mr. Constable, if you can 
raise the means." 

He then spoke of wine-coolers, that had been sent, an article 
that he had never used, and says : " As these coolers are 
designed for warm weather, and will be, I presume, useless in 
cold, or in that in which the liquors do not require cooling, 
quere^ would not a stand like that for casters, with four aper- 
tures for so many different kinds of liquors, each aperture just 
sufiicient to hold one of the cut decanters sent by Mr. Morris, 
be more convenient for passing the bottles from one to another, 
than the handing each bottle separately, by which it often 
happens that one bottle moves, another stops, and all are in 
confusion? Two of them — one for each end of the table, with 
a flat bottom, with or without feet, open at the sides, but with 
a raised rim, as caster-stands have, and an upright, by way of 
handle, in the middle — could not cost a great deal, even if 
made wholly of silver. Talk to a silversmith, and ascertain 
the cost, and whether they could be immediately made, if re- 
quired, in a handsome fashion. 

" Perhaps the coolers sent by Mr. Morris may afford ideas 
of taste ; perhaps, too (if they prove not too heavy, when 
examined), they may supersede the necessity of such as I have 
described, by answering the purpose themselves. Four double 
flint bottles (such as I suspect Mr. Morris has sent), will weigh, 
I conjecture, four pounds ; the wine in them when they are 
filled will be eight pounds more, which, added to the weight 
of the coolers, will, I fear, make these latter too unwieldv to 


pass, especially by ladies, which induces me to think of the 
frame in the form of casters." 

Mr. Lear was pleased with Washington's suggestions, and 
ordered a silversmith to make two of the caster-like frames, 
of solid silver, and these were used upon the President's table 
on the occasion of the first dinner which he gave to the offi- 
cers of government and their families, foreign ministers and 
their families, and other distinguished guests. Their lightness 
and convenience commended them, and from that time they 
became fashionable, under the appropriate title of coasters. 
Thenceforth the wme-cooler was left upon the sideboard, and 
the coaster alone was used for sending the wine around the 
table. For more than a quarter of a century afterward, the 
coaster might be seen upon the table of every fashionable 
family in Philadelphia. Few persons, however, are aware 
that Washington was the inventor c>f it. 

The coolers sent over by Mr. Morris, were eight in number, 
four large and four smaller ones, the former holding four 
bottles, and the latter two. Two of the larger ones were 
presented by Washington to General Hamilton, and are now 
in possession of Mrs. Holley, of Washington city, a daughter of 
the latter. Tlie others were taken from Philadelphia to Mount 
V^ernon, and after the death of Mrs. Washington, passed into 
the possession of her grandson, George Washington Parke 
Custis. They now belong to Mr. Custis's daughter, at Arling- 
ton House. Tliey are both elliptical in form at top, the larger 
one nine inches in height, and the smaller one eight inches. 
The silver coasters are also at Arlington House. They are four- 
teen inches in height, and each is composed of four baskets 
united to a handle in the centre, made of strong wire. There 




is a roller under the centre of each basket, bj which the coast- 
er is more easily sent around the table. A specimen of each 
of these articles is seen in the engraving upon the next page. 

Washington took his family plate with him when he went 
to New York in 1789, and there had it made over into more 
elegant and massive forms. Several pieces were also added 
to it, and this service graced his table and sideboard in Phil- 
adelphia. Several pieces of this plate are now in use at 
Arlington House. The engraving shows five of them, namely, 
a round salver, an elliptical tray, a coffee-pot, teapot, and 
sugar-bowl. All of these have Washington's crest neatly en- 
graven upon them. The tray with handles, all of massive 
silver, is plain, except a beaded rim. It is twenty-two inches 
in length, and seventeen and a half inches in breadth. This, 



with tlie waiter, was used at all tlie levees and drawing-rooms 
of the President and Mrs. Washington, during the eight years 
of their public life in New York and Philadelphia, and served 


the purposes of hospitality afterward, at Mount Yernon. How 
many eyes, beaming with the light of noble souls, have looked 
upon the glittering planes of that tray and salver ! How many 
hands that once wielded mighty swords, and mightier pens, 
in the holy cause of universal freedom, long since mouldereO 
into native earth, have taken from them the sparkling glass, 
while health and long life were invoked for "Washington ! 

Mr. Custis once related to me a pleasing circumstance con- 
nected Avith the use of that tray. Gushing from a rocky bank 
beneath the trunk of a huge oak-tree — a genuine Anak of the 
primeval forest — near the bank of the Potomac, on his estate, 
is a cojiious spring, and around it stands a beautiful grove, 



wherein parties from Alexandria, Washington city and George- 
town, have picnics in the summer months. For the accommo- 
dation of these, Mr. Custis generously erected, near the spring, 
a kitchen and dancing-hall ; and he frequently attended the 
joyous gatherings, and lent servants to wait upon the ladies. 

On one occasion, a party of military, accompanied by ladies, 
went over to Arlington spring, from Washington city, for a 
day's recreation. Mr. Custis sent his favorite servant, Charles, 
to wait upon the company at table. He also sent down the 
precious silver tray for their use. Placing a dozen glasses of 
ice cream upon it, Charles carried it to the visitors, and said, 
" Ladies, this waiter once belonged to Greneral Washington, 
and from it all the great ladies of the Revolution took wine." 
The young ladies, as if actuated by one impulse, immediately 
arose, crowded around Charles, and each in turn, kissed the 
cold rim of the salver, before touching the cream. 

The session of 1790-91, was the third of the first Congress, 

and ended by limitation on 
the 3d of March ; but Wash- 
ington did not depart from 
Philadelphia for Mount Yer- 
non, until Monday the 21st. 
On that day, at twelve 
o'clock, he and his family 
left his residence on Market- 
street, in his English coach, 
drawn by six horses, accompanied by Mr. Jefferson and Gen- 
eral Knox (two of the heads of departments), who escorted 
them as far as Delaware. Major Jackson was also of the 
party. He accompanied Washington to Mount Yernon, and 



tliroughout an extensive tour through the Southern states, 
which the President commenced a few days afterward. 

That tour had occupied Washington's thoughts from time to 
time, for several months. Many leading men of the South 
invited him to visit their respective states. He had made a 
tour eastward, and it was deemed expedient that the Southern 
states should be honored by his presence. Their invitations 
generally expressed a desire, that the President, in the event 
of his making such tour, should honor the writers by a resi- 
dence with them, while he remained in their respective neigh- 
borhoods. Among others who proffered the hospitalities of 
his house was Colonel William Washington, the heroic cavalry 
officer in the southern campaigns under Greene, who was then 
residing in Charleston. But his invitation, like all others of 
the same kind, was declined for reasons which Washington 
frankly stated : 

" I cannot," he said, " comply with your invitation, without 
involving myself in inconsistency ; as I have determined to 
pursue the same plan in my Southern as I did in my Eastern 
visit, which was, not to incommode any private family by 
taking up my quarters with them during my journey. If 
leaves me unincumbered by engagements, and by a uniform 
adherence to it, I shall avoid giving umbrage to any, by de- 
clining all such invitations." 

Washington remained at Mount Yernon only a week, mak- 
ing preparations for his Southern tour. On the 4th of April 
he wrote to the several heads of departments — Jefferson, Ham- 
ilton and Knox — giving them information concerning the time 
when he expected to be at certain places on his route. This 
information was given because the public service might re- 
quire communication to be made to him. 


"Mj journey to Savannah," he said, "unless retarded by 
unforeseen interruptions, will be regulated, including days of 
halt, in the following manner : I shall be, on the 8th of April 
at Fredericksburg, the llth at Eichmond, the 14th at Peters- 
burg, the 16th at Halifax, the 18th at Tarborough, the 20th at 
Newborn, the 25th at Wilmington, the 29th at Georgetown, 
South Carolina ; on the 2d of May at Charleston, halting there 
five days ; on the llth at Savannah, halting there two days. 
Thence leaving the line of mail, I shall proceed to Augusta ; 
and according to the information which I may receive there, 
my return by an upper road will be regulated." 

It is a singular fact that Washington was at these various 
places on the very days contemplated. He wrote to Jetfer- 
son from Eichmond on the 13th of April, to Hamilton from 
Chariestou on the 7th of May, and to Mr. Seagrove, collector 
of the port of St. Mary, Georgia, from Savannah on the 20th. 
He was everywhere received with demonstrations of the highest 
respect and veneration. At Wilmington he was met by a mili- 
tary and civic escort, entertained at a public dinner, and in the 
evening attended a ball given in his honor. At Newbern he 
received like homage ; and when, on Monday, the 2d day of 
May, he arrived at Haddrell's Point, a short distance from 
Charleston, beyond the mouth of the Cooper Eiver, a twelve- 
oared barge, manned by thirteen captains of American ships, 
was in readiness to receive him, and convey him to the city. 
The barge contained a band of vocal and instrumental perform- 
ers, and was followed by a flotilla of richly decked boats, of 
every kind, filled with gentlemen and ladies. At the wharf 
he was received by Governor Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 
and conducted to his lodgings by a military and civic escort. 


On Monday, the 9tli of May, be left Charleston for Savan- 
nah; and on his way from that city a week afterward, he 
stopped and dined with the widow of General Greene. lie 
reached Angusta on the 18th, and on Satnitlay, the 21st, he 
started for home, travelling by way of Columbia, Camden, 
Charlotte, Salisbury, Salem, Guilford, Hillsborough, Harris- 
burg, Williamsburg, and Fredeiicksburg, to Mount Yernon. 
He arrived home on the 12th of June, having made a most 
satisfactory journey of more than seventeen hundred miles, in 
sixty-six days, with the same team of horses. " My return to 
this place is sooner than I expected," he wrote to Hamilton, 
" owing to the uninterruptedness of my journey by sickness, 
from bad weather, or accidents of any kind whatsoever," for 
which he had allowed eight days. 

Washington remained at Mount Yernon between three and 
four weeks. Meanwhile, he met commissioners at Georgetown, 
who had been appointed to lay out the federal city, Washing- 
ton having selected as the site the point of land on the eastern 
side of the Potomac, between that river and the Anacostia, or 
eastern branch, which flows eastward of the capitol. It is 
related as an historical fact, that in the year 1663, almost two 
hundred years ago, the proprietor of that land, named Pope, 
marked out a city upon it, called it Pome, named the eleva- 
tion on which the capitol now stands (and where the Lidian 
tribes held their conncils) the Capitoline Hill, and the east 
branch of the Potomac -the Tiber ! 

Major L'Enfant, a Frenchman, who had served as engineer 
in the continental army, was employed to furnish a plan and 
make a survey of the federal city, and he spent a week at 
Mount Yernon, after Washington's return from his southern 


tour, in consultation with the President. His plans were laid 
before Congress at the next session, and were approved. The 
federal citj was laid out on a magnificent scale, on a plot con- 
taining eight square miles. The states of Virginia and Mary- 
land had already ceded to the United States a territory ten 
miles square, for the purpose of erecting the federal city within 
it, and this was named the District of Columbia. 

L'Enfant and the commissioners disagreed, and he was suc- 
ceeded by Andrew Ellicott, in 1792. On the 2d of April that 
year, President Washington approved of a plan for the capitol, 
submitted by Dr. Thornton, and in September, 1793, he laid 
the corner-stone of the north wing, with Masonic honors. The 
commissioners, without the President's knowledge or consent, 
named the federal metropolis the City of Washirigton, which 
honored name it bears. 

Washington was again at the presidential mansion, in Phila- 
delphia, on the 6th of July, where he remained until Septem- 
bei", when he returned to Mount Vernon, to spend a few weeks 
previous to the assembling of the new Congress. During that 
recess from official labors he was part of the time employed in 
the instruction of a new agent, Robert Lewis, in the manage- 
ment of his estate, his nephew, George A. Washington, having 
been compelled to leave for the mountains on account of ill 
health. At the same time he carried on quite an extensive 
correspondence with officers of the government and private 
citizens. Every post brought him numerous letters. An 
Indian war, in the North-western territory, was in progress ; 
the French Revolution was assuming an alarming shape, for 
the obligations of an ally still appeared to rest upon the 
United States, especially so long as Louis remained king ; and 


domestic affairs, pertaining to finance and commerce, were 
largely occupying the public mind. These topics engaged 
Washington's pen very frequently during his weeks of rest at 
Mount Vernon. 

The first session of the second Congress opened on the 24th 
of October, and on the 25th Washington delivered his annual 
message in person, in the Congress Hall, corner of Sixth and 
Chestnut streets. About two months later he was waited 
upon by Archibald Robertson, a Scotch artist of considerable 
merit, who had been induced to come to the United States to 
practice his profession, by Doctor Kemp, of Columbia College, 
New York. 

Robertson came charged with an interesting commission 
from the Earl of Buchan. He arrived in New York in Octo- 
ber, and in December went to Philadelphia to fulfil his special 
engagement. He had been charged by the Earl to deliver to 
Washington a box made of the celebrated oak-tree that shel- 
tered Sir William Wallace after the battle at Falkirk. Ac- 
companying the box was a letter from the Earl, dated at Dry- 
burgh Abbey, Jan. 28, 1791, in which, after speaking of the 
box, and his having entrusted it to the " care of Mr. Robert- 
son, of Aberdeen, a painter," he said : 

" This box was presented to me by the goldsmiths' company 
at Edinburgh, of whom — feeling my own unworthiness to re- 
ceive this magnificent and significant present — I requested, and 
obtained leave to make it over to the man in the world to 
whom I thought it most justly due ; into your hands 1 commit 
it, requesting you to pass it, in the event of your decease, to 
the man in your own country, who shall appear to your judg- 
ment to merit it best, upon the same considerations that have 
induced me to send it to your Excellency." 


He added — 

" I beg your Excellency will have the goodness to send me 
your portrait, that I may place it among those I most honor, 
and I would w^ish it from the pencil of Mr. Robertson." 

Robertson presented the box to the President on Friday, 
the 13th of December. He was much embarrassed, he said, 
on being introduced to " the American hero," but was soon 
relieved by Washington, wlio entered into familiar conversa- 
tion with him, and introduced him to Mrs. Washington. The 
President also made the painter happy, by consenting to sit 
for his portrait, in compliance with the wishes of the Earl of 
Buchan. He also invited Robertson to dine with him ; and 
the painter felt quite at ease before he left the august presence. 
Of that dinner (a family one) Robertson thus writes : 

'"It was ready at three o'clock — plain, but suitable for a 
family in genteel circumstances. There was nothing specially 
remarkable at the table, but that the general and Mrs. Wash- 
ington sat side by side, he on the right of his lady ; the gentle- 
men on his right hand, and the ladies on his left. It being on 
Saturday, the first course was mostly of eastern cod and fresh 
fish. A few glasses of wine were drank during the dinner, 
with other beverages. The whole closed witli a few glasses 
of sparkling champagne, in about three-quarters of an hour, 
when the general and Colonel Lear retired, leaving the ladies 
in high glee about Lord Buchan and the Wallace box." 

After dinner, the President sat to Mr. Robertson, for a min- 
iature portrait, and from it, when finished, the artist painted a 
larger picture, in oil, for Lord Buchan, " of a size," he said, 
" corresponding to the collection of portraits of the most cele- 
brated worthies of liberal principles and of useful literature, 


in the possession of his lordship." This picture was painted 
at the close of May, 1792, when Washington wrote to Lord 
Buchan, thanking him for the present of the box, and saying 
of the portrait : " The manner of the execution of it, does 
no discredit, I am told, to the artist." The picture was sent to 
Europe by Colonel Lear, and Robertson received the thanks 
of the Earl of Buchan. 

Mrs, Washington also sat to Robertson for her miniature. 
She M^as then sixty years of age, and still beautiful. Her 
complexion was fair, and her dark eye was as brilliant as ever. 
Li person she was heavier than in her younger days, and was, 
in a very slight degree, inclined to corpulency. That miniature 
is now at Arlington House. It was first engraved for the 
ATnerican Portrait Gallery^ about the year 1 833. In a letter 
to his wife, in July of that year, Mr. Custis wrote : 

" I have been requested to wi'ite a short biography of my 
grandmother, to be accompanied by a splendid engraving from 
one of my originals, for Longman's work, called the National 
Gallery of Portraits^ and have consented to do it." The biog- 
raphy was written, and the " original" chosen was Robertson's 
miniature, from which our engraving was copied. 

In his letter of thanks to Buchan, Washington said : 

" I will, however, ask, that you will exempt me from com- 
pliance with the request relating to its eventual destination. 
In an attempt to execute your wish in this particular, I should 
feel embarrassment from a just comparison of relative preten- 
sions, and fear to risk injustice by so marked a preference." 

The box was taken to Mount Yernon at the close of the 
session, where it remained until Washington's death, when 




lie recoininitted it to the Earl by the following clause in his 
will : 

"To the Eai-1 of Buchan I recommit the box made of the 
oak that sheltered the great Sir William Wallace, 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 decease, 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, conceiving that no dis- 
position of this valuable curiosity can be more eligible than 
the recommitment of it to his own cabinet, agreeably to the 
original design of the Goldsmith's Company of Edinburgh, 
who presented it to him, and, at his request, consented that it 


should be transferred to me, I do give and bequeath the same 
to his lordship ; and, in case of his decease, to his heir, Avith 
my grateful thanks for the distinguished honor of presenting it 
to me, and more especially for the favorable sentiments with 
which he accompanied it." 

The first session of the second Congress terminated on Tues- 
day, the 8th of May, and on the lOtli Washington set out for 
Mount Vernon, leaving his family in Philadelj^hia. He re- 
mained there about four wrecks, directing the affairs of his 
estate, insjDCcting the progress of the surveys and plans for the 
federal city, and in correspondence witli friends at home and 
abroad. He carried home Avitli him on that occasion several 
copies oii\\Q Rights of Man, a work from the pen of Thomas 
Paine, published the year before, fifty copies of which, sent by 
the author to the President, reached him a day or two before 
he left Philadelphia. One of these he gave to Richard Henry 
Lee, who, after thanking him for it, i-emarked : 

" It is a performance of which any man might be proud ; 
and I most sincerely regret that our country could not have 
offered sufficient inducements to have retained as a permanent 
citizen, a man so thoroughly republican in sentiment, and 
fearless in the expression of his opinions." 

In his letter accompanying the books, Paine remarked : 

" The work has had a run beyond any thing that has been 
published in this country on the subject of government, and 
the demand continues. In Ireland it has had a much greater. 
A letter I received from Dublin, 10th of May, mentioned that 
the fourth edition was then on sale. I know not what number 
of copies were printed at each edition, except the second, 
which was ten thousand. The same fate follows me here as I 


at first experienced iu America — strong friends and violent 
enemies ; but as I have got the ear of the country, I shall go 
on, and at least show them, what is a novelty here, that there 
can be a person beyond the reach of corruption." 

This work was written in answer to Edmund Burke's famous 
letter to a French gentleman, in 1790, entitled Reflections on 
the Revolution in France. The government, incensed at 
Paine's language in the Rights of 3fan, instituted a prosecu- 
tion against him for libel. He went to France, became a 
member of the l^ational Assembly, fell into prison during the 
reign of the Terrorists, and becoming oifended at Washington 
because he properly refused his official aid in procuring 
Paine's liberation, on the ground of his being an American 
citizen, he abused him most shamefully in a published letter, 
more remarkable for its scurrility than talent. 

Washington returned to Philadelphia early in June, and 
toward the close of Jul}^ journeyed with his family to Mount 
Vernon. He remained there until early in October, when he 
returned to Philadelphia, with his family, to prepare for the 
assembling of the Congress, which took place on the 5tli of 
Novendier. During that time he was in frequent correspond- 
ence with the heads of departments, for matters of great public 
interest required frequent communications between them and 
the chief magistrate. An Indian war in the west was then in 
progress, and symptoms of insurrectionary movements in West- 
ern Pennsylvania, on account of an excise law which the people 
deemed oppressive, began to appear. 

Washington was also much engaged, during that time, with 
his agricultural operations ; and he and Mrs. Washington 
were much distressed on account of the mortal sickness of his 


nephew George, who had resided at Mount Vernon much of 
the time since his marriage several years before. Washing- 
ton's anxiety concerning him is evinced by the frequent men- 
tion of his illness to his correspondents. In a letter to Lafay- 
ette, in June, he said : 

" I am afraid my nephew George, your old aide, will never 
have his health perfectly re-established. He has lately been 
attacked with the alarming symptoms of spitting large quan- 
tities of blood ; and the physicians give no hopes of resto- 
ration, unless it can be effected by a change of air, and a 
total dereliction from business, to which he is too anxiously 
attentive. He will, if he should be taken from his family and 
friends, leave three fine children, two sons and a daughter. To 
the eldest of the boj^s he has given the name of Fayette, and 
a fine looking child he is. 

To General Roux, he wrote : " I thank you most sincere- 
ly for the medicine you were so obliging as to send for my 
nephew, and for the sympathetic feeling you express for his 
situation. Poor fellow ! neither, 1 believe, will be of an}^ avail. 
Present appearances indicate a speedy dissolution. He has not 
been able to leave his bed, except for a few moments to sit in 
an arm-chair, since the 14tli or 15th of last month. The par- 
oxysm of the disorder seems to be upon him, and death, or 
a favorable turn to it, must speedily follow." 

The sufferer was then residing upon a small estate in Han- 
over. He lingered for several weeks, and expired ; and on the 
24th of February, Washington wrote to his widow : 

"MyDeae Fanny: To yon, who so well know the affec- 
tionate regard I had for our departed friend, it is unnecessary 


to describe the sorrow with which I was afflicted, at the news 
of his death, altliough it was an event I had expected many 
weeks before it happened. To express this sorrow with the 
force I feel it, would answer no other purpose than to revive 
in your breast that poignancy of anguish, which by this time, 
I hope, is abated. The object of this letter is to convey to 
your mind the warmest assurance of my love, friendship, and 
disposition to serve you. These I also profess to bear, in an 
eminent degree, for your children." 

He then invites her to make Mount Vernon the home of 
herself and children. "You can go to no place," he said, 
" where you will be more welcome, nor to any where you can 
live at less expense or trouble." He then invites her to bring 
liis niece, Harriet "Washington, M'ith her, to Mount Yernon, 
of whose conduct he had heard pleasant words. Miss Harriet 
remained at Moimt Yernon a long time, the grateful recipient 
of her uncle's bounty. 

The young widow appears to have declined the offer of a 
home at Mount Yernon, preferring to keep house in Alexan- 
dria, but offering to resign the charge of her eldest son, Fay- 
ette, into Washington's keeping. In March, the President 
wrote to her, saying : 

"The carriage which I sent to Mount Yernon, for your use, 
I never intended to reclaim, and now, making you a forma] 
present of it, it may be sent for whenever it suits your conve- 
nience, and be considered as your own. I shall, when I see you, 
request that Fayette may be given up to me, either at that 
time, or as soon after as he is old enough to go to school. This 
will relieve you of that portion of attention, which his educa- 
tion would otherwise call for." 


Washington's affection for children was very great, and he 
was ever anxious to have young people in the mansion at 
Mount Yernon. He enjoyed tlieir amusements with a keen 
relish, and yet the mysterious awe felt in his presence, by all 
who had the good fortune to know him personally, was expe- 
rienced by children. His adopted daughter (Mrs, Lewis) 
used to say that she had seen him laugh heartily at her merry 
pranks, or when, a gay, joyous girl, she would give him a 
description of some scene in which she had taken a part ; 
and yet she had as often seen him retire from the room in 
which her young companions were amusing themselves, be- 
cause he perceived that his jDresence created a reserve which 
they could not overcome. 

His love for his two adopted children was very strong, and 
he watched over their mental and moral development with 
great solicitude. In several of his letters to Mr. Lear, from 
Mount Yernon, in the autumn of 1790, when preparing for his 
residence in Philadelj)hia, he mentioned the subject of schools, 
expressing a great desire to have young Custis placed in one 
of the best character. 

Mrs. "Washington was always over-indulgent to her two 
grandchildren. The boy (George Washington Parke Custis) 
was always familiarly called Washington, and by that name 
he was always distinguished in the general's private corre- 
spondence. His beautiful sister, Nelly, used to speak of the 
affection which Mrs. Washington lavished upon him, and the 
many excuses which she offered in liis defence, when the father, 
true to his nature and education, exacted submission to the 
most thorough discipline on all occasions, much as he loved 
the boy. 


" Grandmamma always spoiled Washington," his sister 
would say ; and his daughter, in a late memoir of him, has 
said — " He was the pride of her heart, while the public duties 
of the veteran prevented the exercise of his influence in form- 
ing the character of the boy, too softly nurtured under his 
roof, and gifted with talents, which, under a sterner discipline, 
might have been more available for his own and his coun- 
try's good." 

Notwithstanding her indulgent disposition, Mrs. Washing- 
ton was a thorough disciplinarian in her household, and Nelly 
Custis experienced many a tearful hour when compelled by 
her grandmother to attend assiduously to her studies in letters 
and music. Washington made her a present of a fine harpsi- 
chord, at the cost of one thousand dollars — Schroeder's beau- 
tiful invention, the piano-forte, not being then much used 
in America. In England, even, where Zumpe had introduced 
it, with many improvements, between twenty and thirty years 
before, the piano had by no means supplanted its parent the 
harpsichord, and the latter instrument, or the spinet, might 
be found in almost every family of wealth in the kingdom. 

The best teachers were employed to instruct Nelly in the use 
of the harpsichord, and her grandmother made her practise 
upon it four or five hours every day. " The poor girl," says 
her brother, the late Mr. Custis, " would play and cry, and cry 
and play, for long hours, under the immediate eye of her 
grandmother, a rigid disciplinarian in all things." 

That harpsichord, according to the inscription upon a plate 
above the keys, was manufactured by " Longman and Brode- 
rip, musical instrument makers. No. 26 Cheapside, and No. 
13 Haymarket, London." It was carefully packed and taken 



to Mount Yernon when Wasliington retired from office the 
last time. It was nsed there until his death, for Nelly 
and her husband resided at Mount Vernon for more than 



a year after their marriage in February, 1779. It is now 
(1859) in the possession of Mrs. Lee, of Arlington IIousg,^ who 
intends to present it to the Mount Yernon Ladies' Associa- 
tion, when the home of Washington shall have passed into 
their absolute possession, that it may take its ancient place in 
the parlor of the hallowed mansion. 

The instnnnent was one of the most elegant of its kind. It 
is about eight feet long, three and a half feet wide, and three 


feet in length, with two banks, containing one hundred and 
twenty keys in all. The case is mahogany. 

On the 4th of March, 1793, Judge Gushing, of Massachu- 
setts, administered to Washington, in the senate chamber, in 
Philadelphia, the oath of office as President of the United 
States, he having been, by unanimous vote of the electoral 
college, speaking the will of the people, re-elected to the 
exalted station of chief magistrate. It was with great reluc- 
tance that he consented to serve another prescribed term of 
four years. He had looked forward to retirement from office 
with real pleasure, and when he agreed to serve his country 
still longer, he endured a sacrifice which none bat a disinterested 
patriot could have made. For himself he preferred the quiet 
of domestic life at his pleasant home on the Potomac, to all 
the honors and emoluments that the world could offer. But 
in this instance, as in all others, he yielded his own wishes to 
the more important demands of his country. He knew, as 
well as any man living, the dangers to which the coun- 
try was then exposed from the influence of French politics and 
of domestic factions; and the representations of the true friends 
of government convinced him that his further service in public 
life was demanded by every consideration of patriotism. 

Hamilton, in whose judgment and purity of motives Wash- 
ington had the most entire confidence, had urged him, in a 
touching letter, to accept the high office a second term ; and 
while his cabinet was agitated by discordant opinions upon 
other subjects, they all agreed that Washington's retirement 
from office at that time would be a serious calamity to the 
country. Every one felt that the affairs of the national gov- 
ernment were not yet firmly established; that its enemies 


were many and inveterate, and that Washington could not 
retire without damaging his reputation as a patriot. " I trust, 
sir, and I praj' God, that jou will determine to make a further 
sacrifice of your tranquillity and happiness to the public good," 
said Hamilton, at the close of his letter just alluded to. 

Such sacrifice was made, and for four years longer Mount 
Yernon was without its master, except at long intervals. 

Although Washington's second inauguration was in public, 
there was far less parade than at the first. It had been deter- 
mined by those with whom he had consulted respecting the 
matter, as the democratic feeling was very strong, that the 
President should go to the senate-chamber "' without form, 
attended by such gentlemen as he may choose, and return 
without form, except that he be preceded by the marshal." 

Thus he went and thus he returned, conveyed in his own 
beautiful cream-colored coach, drawn by six splendid bay 
horses. And thus he went to that senate-chamber a few 
months later, when he presented his annual message to the 
Congress, for in those days the President read the address 
before the assembled wisdom of the nation, and did not, as 
now, send it in manuscript by his private secretary. 

An eye-witness on one of these occasions has left a pleasant 
picture of it on record. "As the President alighted," he says, 
" and, ascending the steps, paused upon the platform, looking 
over his shoulder, in an attitude that would have furnished an 
admirable subject for the pencil, he was preceded by two gen- 
tlemen bearing long white wands, who kept back the eager 
crowd that pressed on every side to get a nearer view. At 
that moment I stood so near that I might have touched his 
clothes ; but I should as soon have thought of touching an 


electric battery. I was penetrated with a veneration amount- 
ing to the deepest awe. Nor was this the feeling of a school- 
boy only ; it pervaded, I believe, every human being that 
approached Washington ; and I have been told that, even in 
his social and convivial hours, this feeling in those who were 
honored to share them never suffered intermission. I saw him 
a hundred times afterward, but never with any other than that 
same feeling. The Almighty, who raised up for our hour of 
need a man so peculiarly prepared for its whole dread respon- 
sibility, seems to have put an impress of sacredness upon His 
own instrument. The first sight of the man struck the heart 
with involuntary homage, and prepared every thing around 
him to obey. When he ' addressed himself to speak,' there 
was an unconscious suspension of the breath, while every eye 
was raised in expectation. 

" The President, having seated himself, remained in silence, 
serenely contemplating the legislature before him, whose mem- 
bers now resumed their seats, waiting for the speech. No 
house of worship, in the most solemn pauses of devotion, was 
ever more profoundly still than that large and crowded 

"Washington was dressed precisely as Stuart has painted 
liim in Lord Lansdowne's full-length portrait — in a full suit 
of the richest black velvet, with diamond knee-buckles, and 
square silver buckles set upon shoes japanned with the most 
scrupulous neatness, black silk stockings, his shirt ruffled at 
the breast and wrists, a light dress-sword, his hair profusely 
powdered, fully dressed, so as to project at the sides, and 
gathered behind in a silk bag, ornamented with a large rose of 
black riband. He held his cocked hat, which had a large 


black cockade on one side of it, in his hand, as he advanced 
toward the chair, and, when seated, laid it on the table. 

'"At length, thrusting his hand within the side of his coat, 
he drew forth a roll of manuscript, which he opened, and 
rising, held it in his hand, while in a rich, deep, full, sonorous 
voice, he read his opening address to Congress. His enun- 
ciation was deliberate, justly emphasized, very distinct, and 
accompanied with an air of deep solemnity, as being the 
utterance of a mind profoundly impressed with the dignity of 
the act in which it was occu^Died, conscious of the whole re- 
sponsibility of its position and action, but not oppressed by it." 

Washington made a hurried visit to Mount Vernon in April, 
on account of the death of his nephew, already mentioned, 
some matter connected with that young man's affairs requiring 
his personal attention. He was again called to Mount Vernon 
at the close of June, on account of the sudden death of Mr. 
Whiting, his manager, who had taken the place of Robert 
Lewis. " It was a critical season," says Washington, in a 
letter to General Henry Lee, " for the business with which he 
was interested. How to supply his place I know not; of 
course my concerns at Mount Vernon are left as a body 
without a head." 

Notwithstanding Congress was not in session, the pressure 
of public business was such that Washington remained at the 
seat of government all through the summer, and it was not 
until the yellow fever, which broke out in Philadelphia in 
August, had raged for two or thi-ee weeks, and the officers of 
government had fled, that he left his post and retired to Mount 
Vernon, He left Philadelphia on the 10th of September. He 
would have remained longer, but Mrs. Washington, alarmed 


for the safety of the whole famih', the house in which they 
lived being in a manner blockaded by the disorder, prevailed 
on him to leave. 

The fever raged with great violence until late in October, 
when frosts checked its progress, and in November the inhab- 
itants who had fled from the pestilence generally returned to 
the city. On the 2d day of December Congress was convened 

The progress of the disease at Philadelphia was watched by 
Washington, at Mount Yernon, with great solicitude, espec- 
ially Avhen September had passed away, and much of October 
had gone by, before it abated. It was near the time set for 
the assembling of a new Congress, and the public welfare 
demanded legislative action, upon important points, as early 
as possible. He therefore proposed to call the Congress 
together at Germantown, or some other place near Philadel- 
phia, but at a safe distance from the pestilence ; and yet he 
doubted his power to do so. This topic employed his pen as 
well as his thoughts, and of many letters from Mount Yernon 
it was the burden. 

His agricultural aflFairs occupied much of his time while 
at home. He appears to have found a manager not much to 
his liking, for he needed instruction. At the middle of 
October we find him writing to his friend. General Henry 
Lee, concerning a threshing-machine that that gentleman had 
recommended. He seemed anxious to use all really useful 
improvements, but the difficulty in making his overseers 
understand them was a bar. 

" The model [of a threshing machine] brought over by the 
English farmers," he said, " may also be a good one, but the 



utility of it among- careless negroes and ignorant overseers will 
depend absolutely upon the simplicity of the construction ; for 
if there is any thing complex in the machinery, it will be no 
longer in use than a mushroon is in existence. I have seen so 
much of the beginnino; and endino; of new inventions, that I 
have almost resolved to go on in tlie old way of treading 
until I get settled again at home, and can attend, myself, to the 
management of one. As a proof in point of the almost impos- 
sibility of putting the overseers of this country out of the track 
they have been accustomed to walk in, I have one of the most 
convenient barns in this or perhaps any other country, where 
thirty hands may with great ease be employed in threshing. 
Half of the wheat of the farm was actually stowed in this barn 
in the straw by my order, for threshing; notwithstanding, 
when I came home about the middle of September, I found a 
treading-yard not thirty feet from the barn-door, the wheat 
again brought out of the barn, and horses treading it out in an 
open exposure, liable to the vicissitudes of weather." 

Washington and his family set out for the seat of govern- 
ment toward the close of October. Mr. Dandridge, a relation 
of his wife, who had been appointed the President's private 
secretary, accompanied them. Philadelphia presented a most 
gloomy aspect. Between three and four thousand of the in- 
habitants had fallen before the scythe of the pestilence, and 
there was mourning in almost every family. There was very 
little gayety in the capital during the session of Congress that 
followed. Tliere was also a general expectation that the 
scourge would reappear the ensuing summer of 1794: ; and 
when, at the middle of June, Washington made a flying visit 
to Mount Yernon, he removed his family to a pleasant resi- 


denee at Germantowii, about six miles from the city. To that 
place he returned at the close of July, and he seems not to 
have visited Mount Vernon again until April the following 
year, when he was there for only a short time, to give his per- 
sonal attention to home duties that required them. He again 
visited his home early in July, 1795, but, as his correspond- 
ence on the way and at Mount Vernon shows, he carried a 
vast weight of public business upon his mind ; for, besides 
the routine of official duties, he was greatly burdened 
with anxiety respecting a treaty lately made with England, 
by John Jay, which he approved, and which for a time was 
so unpopular as to cause great excitement throughout the 

AVashington left Mount Vernon again toward the middle of 
August for the seat of government, and returned early in Sep- 
tember. He remained until the 12tli of October, when he set 
out for Philadelphia, stopping at Georgetown for a day to 
attend to business with the commissioners of the federal city. 

It was not until June, 1706, that the master of Mount Ver- 
non was again under his own roof. His family accompanied 
him ; and there, at the beginning of July, they received as a 
guest, Don Carlos Martinez, Marquis d'Yrugo, the newly- 
arrived Spanish ambassador. On the 4th of July Washington 
w^rote to Timothy Pickering, the secretary of state, saying : 

" The Spanish Minister, M. d'Yrugo, spent two days with 
me, and is just gone. I caused it to be intimated to him that, 
as I should be absent from the seat of the government until 
the middle or latter end of August, I was ready to receive his 
letter of credence at this place. He answered, as I understood 
it, that his credentials were with his baggage on its passage to 


Philadelphia, and that his reception at that place, at the time 
mentioned, would be perfectly convenient and agreeable to 
himself. He is a young man, very free and easy in his man- 
ners, professes to be well disposed toward the United States, 
and, as far as a judgment can be formed on so short an ac- 
quaintance, appears to be well informed." 

The Spanish minister had not been long in Philadelphia 
when he became enamored of Sally, the beautiful daughter of 
Thomas M'Kean, the chief-justice of Pennsylvania, and they 
were married. Tlieir son, the Duke of Sotomayer, who was 
born in Philadelphia, became prime minister of Spain. 

"Philadelphia," says Griswold, "fnrnished wives for the 
envoys of France, England, and Spain during Washington's 
administration, and a large number of foreign ministers have 
since been married to American women." Genet, the French 
minister during Washington's first term, married a daughter 
of Governor Clinton, of New York. 

Washington remained at Monnt Yernon until the middle of 
August. During the time of this visit to his dearly-loved 
home, he completed the final draft of his Farewell Address to 
the people of the United States, prepared in contemplation of 
his retiring from public life forever, at the close of his term of 
ofiice the ensuing spring. That address had been the subject 
of deep and anxious thought for many months, and at the 
special request of the President, Hamilton, Jay, and Madison, 
and perhaps others, had given him suggestions in writing, 
topical and verbal. These he took with him to Mount Yer- 
non, and in the quiet of his library he arranged his address in 
the form and expression in which it was published in Septem- 
ber following. It was the noblest production of Washington's 


mind and heart, and lias been pronounced by Alison, the 
eminent British historian, unequalled by any composition of 
uninspired wisdom. It is a political legacy which not only 
the countrymen of Washington, but the world ought to value, 
as one of the most precious gifts ever bestowed by man upon 
his race. It is permeated with the immortal spirit of a true 
MAN, a true patriot, and a true Christian. 

The Farewell Address was published in the Philadelphia 
Advertiser, in September, 1796, and produced a most profound 
sensation. The ribald voice of party spirit, which had been 
for a long time uttering the most scandalous abuse concerning 
the President, was at once subdued in tone, if not silenced, for 
it was deprived of the theme of AYashington's renomination, 
which had been a convenient excuse for partisan attacks. The 
address was entered at length upon the journals of several of 
the state legislatures ; was published in every newspaper in 
the land, and in many of those in foreign countries ; and in 
legislative bodies and social and diplomatic circles abroad, it 
was a fruitful topic of remark for some time. Of all the asso- 
ciations which cluster around Mount Vernon, none should be 
dearer to the heart of every American — to every friend of 
freedom and good order — than that connected with Washing- 
ton's Farewell Address. 

And now Washington calmly looked forward to his retire- 
ment from public life with a heart full of joy and gratitude. 
The eight years of his administration of public aftairs had been 
years of immense toil, anxiety, and vexation. They had been 
stormy years, for blasts of disturbing and dangerous sentiments 
came frequently from the borders of the hurricane that swept 
so terribly over France, the old ally of the United States ; and 

278 MOUNT V E R N N 

the electric forces of party spirit, subtle and implacable, had 
cast down, from the black clonds of selfish hate, a copious 
hail of abuse. But amid all that storm — in the face of those 
fierce blasts and that pelting hail, Washington stood calm, 
dignified, and unharmed ; and he approached the hour when 
he should be no longer a public servant, to be applauded or 
reviled, with that serenity of mind which nothing but a con- 
science void of ofience toward God and man can impart. And 
yet he was not always unmoVed by the ungenerous attacks of 
his enemies. To his long-tried and dearly-loved friend. Gen- 
eral Knox, then in the far east, he wrote, two days before his 
retirement : 

"To the wearied traveller who sees a resting-place, and is 
bending his body to lean thereon, I now compare myself ; but 
to be suffered to do this in peace is too much to be endured by 
some. To misrepresent my motives, to reprobate my politics, 
and to weaken the confidence wliich has been reposed in my 
administration, are objects wdiich cannot be relinquished by 
those who will be satisfied with nothing short of a change in 
our political system. The consolation, however, which results 
from conscious rectitude, and the approving voice of my coun- 
try, unequivocally expressed by its representatives, deprive 
their sting of its poison, and place in the same point of view 
the weakness and malignity of their efforts." 

Never since has the unscrupulous virulence of party spirit 
been so manifest as at the time in question. No one dared 
openly to charge Washington with a dishonest or dishonorable 
act, dnring his long public life; and yet, by inuendos and false- 
hoods of the darkest aspect, disguised as insinuations, his po- 
litical enemies attempted to destroy his popularity, and to 


send him into private life without the sweet consolations of 
the approval of his conntrvmen. 

One specimen of the venom of party hate will be sufficient 
to illustrate the remarks just made. I quote from a corre- 
spondent of the Aurora^ a Philadelphia paper in opj)Osition to 
Washington's administration. The number containing the fol- 
lowing article was printed three days after the President's 
retirement from office : 

" ' Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for 
mine eyes have seen thy salvation,' was the pious ejaculation 
of a man who beheld a flood of happiness rushing upon man- 
kind. If ever there was a time that would license the reitera- 
tion of the exclamation, that time is now arrived ; for the man 
who is the source of all the misfortunes of our country, is this 
day reduced to a level with his fellow-citizens, and is no longer 
possessed of power to multiply evils upon the United States. 
If ever there was a period for rejoicing, this is the moment; 
every heart in unison with the freedom and happiness of the 
people, ought to beat high with exultation that the name of 
Washington, from this day, ceases to give a currency to polit- 
ical iniquity, and to legalize corruption. A new" era is now 
opening upon us, an era which promises much to the people : 
for public measures must now stand upon their own merits, 
and nefarious projects can no longer be supported by a name. 
When a retrospect is taken of the Washingtonian administra- 
tion for eight years, it is a subject of the greatest astonishment 
that a single individual should have cankered the principles of 
republicanism in an enlightened people, just emerged from 
the gulf of despotism, and should have carried his designs 
against the public liberty so far, as to have put in jeopardy its 


very existence. Such liowever are the facts, and with these 
staring ns in the face, this day ought to be a jubilee in the 
United States." 

How utterly impotent were such attempts to injure the 
character of Washington, let history testify. 

On the 3d of March, 1797, Washington gave a farewell 
dinner, to which many of the leading persons at the seat of 
government were invited. These were chiefly the officers of 
government and members of the diplomatic corps, with their 
wives. Bishop White, whose sister was the wife of Kobert Morris, 
was present, and described some of the events of the banquet. 

" During the dinner," wrote the bishop, " much hilarity pre- 
vailed ; but on the removal of the cloth, it was put an end to 
by the President — certainly without design. Having filled his 
glass, be addressed the company, with a smile on his coun- 
tenance, saying, ' Ladies and gentlemen, this is the last time I 
shall drink your health as a public man. I do it with sin- 
cerity, and w^ishing you all possible happiness.' There w\as an 
end to all hilarity ; and the cheeks of Mrs. Liston, wife of the 
British n)inister, wer.e wet with tears." 

On the following day John Adams, who had been elected 
Washington's successor, was inaugurated the second President 
of the United States. The event took place in the Hall of the 
Kepresentatives, which was densely crowded with spectators. 
At the appointed hour Washington rode to Congress Hall in 
his coach, drawn by six horses, and, amidst the most enthusi- 
astic cheers, entered the room prepared for the ceremonies which 
were to release him from public life. He was followed by Mr. 
Adams, and when they were seated, perfect silence prevailed. 
Washington then arose, and with the most commanding dig- 


iiity and self-control, introduced Mr. Adams to the assembly, 
and proceeded to read, in a firm, clear voice, a brief valedictory. 

"The most profound silence greeted him," says a still living 
eye and ear witness of the august event, " as if the great 
assembly desired to hear him breathe, and catch his breath in 
homage of their hearts. Mr. Adams covered his face with 
both his hands ; the sleeves of his coat and his hands were 
covered with tears." As he pronounced his parting words, a 
sob was heard here and there in the assembly ; and when he 
sat down, the whole audience were in tears. " Then," says the 
eye-witness just quoted, " when strong nervous sobs broke 
loose, when tears covered the faces, then the great man was 
shaken. I never took my eyes from his face. Large drops 
fell from his cheeks." 

The late President Dner, of Columbia College, who was 
present on that occasion, says that when "Washington left the 
hall, there was " a rush from the gallery that threatened the 
lives of those who were most eager to catch a last look of him 
who, among mortals, was the first object of their veneration." 
" Some of us," he said, " efi'ected an escape by slipping down 
the pillars." 

When Washington had entered nis carriage, the multitude 
in the streets uttered long and loud huzzas, and he waved his 
hand in return. 

"I followed him," says Duer, "in the crowd to his own 
door, where, as he turned to address the multitude, his coun- 
tenance assumed a serious and almost melancholy expression, 
his voice failed him, his eyes were suffused with tears, and 
only by his gestures could he indicate his thanks, and convey 
a farewell blessing to the people." 


In the evening a splendid entertainment was given to the 
retiring President, by the inhabitants of Philadelpliia, in the 
Amphitheatre, which w'as beautifully decorated with a}»pro- 
priate paintings. One of tlie newspapers of the day thus 
describes a compliment that was paid to Washington on that 
occasion : 

" Upon entering the area the General was conducted to his 
seat. On a signal given, the band played Washington i< 
March^ and a scene, which represented simple objects in the 
rear of the pi'incipal seat, was drawn up and discovered emble- 
matical paintings. The principal was a female figure as large 
as life, representing America^ seated on an elevation composed 
of sixteen marble steps. At her left side stood the federal 
shield and eagle, and at her feet lay the cornucopia ^ in her 
right hand she held the Indian calumet of j)eace stipporting 
the cap of liberty ; in the perspective appeared the temple of 
fame ; and, on her left hand, an altar dedicated to public grat. 
itude, upon which incense was l)urning. In her left hand she 
held a scroll inscribed Valedictory ^ and at the foot of the 
altar lay a plumed helmet and sword, from which a figure of 
General Washington, as large as life, appeared retiring down the 
steps, pointing with his right hand to the emblems of power 
which he had resigned, and with his left to a beautiful land- 
scape representing Mount Yernon, in front of which oxen were 
seen harnessed to the plough. Over the General appeared a 
genius, placing a wreath of laurels on his head." 

These pictures were from the pencil of Charles Willson 
Peale, who, twenty-five years before, as we have observed, 
had painted the portrait of Washington at Mount Yernon, in 
the costume of a Yircjinia colonel. 


The liuads of departments, foreign ministers, and distin- 
guished strangers m Pliiladelphia, were present on this gala 
occasion ; and with that elegant display of taste, fashion, and 
gayetj, ended the public life of Washington. To General 
Knox he had written two days before : 

"The remainder of my life, which in the course of nature 
cannot be long, will be occupied in rural amusements; and, 
though I shall seclude myself as mnch as possible from the 
noisy and bustling crowd, none would more than myself be 
regaled by the company of those I esteem, at Mount Vernon ; 
more than twenty miles from which, after I arrive there, it is 
not likely that I shall ever be." 

Before following Washington to his home, from which he 
never did go more than twenty miles afterward, let us listen 
to the voice of another eye-witness of events during Washing- 
ton's administration (the late Eev. Aslibel Greene), as he dis- 
courses of the table of the President. He says : 

"The President ate Indian cakes for breakfast, after the 
Virginia fashion, althongh buckwheat cakes were generally on 
the table. Washington's dining parties were entertained in a 
very handsome style. His weekly dining day, for company, 
was Thursdav, and his dining hour was always four o'clock in 
the afternoon. His rule was to allow five minutes for the 
variation of clocks and watches, and then go to the table, be 
present or absent whoever might. He kept his own clock in 
the hall, just within the outward door, and always exactly 
regulated. When lagging members of Congress came in, as 
they often did, after the guests had sat down to dinner, the 
President's only apology was, ' Gentlemen (or sir), we are too 
punctual for you. I have a cook who never asks whether the 


company, but wlietlier tlie hour lias come.' The company 
usually assembled in the drawing-room, about fifteen or 
twenty minutes before dinner, and the President spoke to 
every guest personall}^ on entering the room. Mrs. Washing- 
ton often, but not always, dined with the company, sat at the 
head of the table, and if, as was occasionally the case, there 
were other ladies present, they sat each side of her. The 
pi'ivate secretary sat at the foot of the table, and was expected 
to be quietly attentive to all the guests. The President him- 
self sat half-way from the head to the foot of the table, and on 
that side he would place Mrs. Washington, though distant 
from him, on his right hand. He always, unless a clergyman 
was present, at his own table asked a blessing, in a standing 
posture. If a clergyman were present, he was ]-equested both 
to ask a blessmg and to return thanks after dinner. The 
centre of the table contained five or six large silver or plated 
waiters, those of the ends, circular, or rather oval on one side, 
so as to make the arrangement correspond with the oval shape 
of the table. The waiters between the end pieces were in the 
form of parallelograms, the ends about one-third part of the 
length of the sides ; and the whole of these waiters were filled 
with alabaster figures, taken from the ancient mythology, but 
none of them such as to ofiend in the smallest degree against 
delicacy. On the outside of the oval, formed by the w'aiters, 
were placed the various dishes, always without covers ; and 
outside the dishes were the plates. A small roll of bread, 
enclosed in a napkin, was laid by the side of each plate. The 
President, it is believed, generally dined on one dish, and that 
of a very simple kind. If oftered something, either in the first 
or second course, which was very rich, his usual reply was : 


' That is too good for me.' He liad a silver pint cup or mug 
of beer placed by his plate, which he drank while dining. He 
took one glass of wine during dinner, and commonly one after. 
He then retired (the ladies having gone a little before him), 
and left his secretary to superintend the table, till the wine- 
bibbers of Congress had satisfied themselves with drinking. 
His wines were always the best that conld be obtained. 
Nothing could exceed the order with which his table was 
served. Every servant knew what he was to do, and did it in 
the most quiet and yet rapid manner. The dishes and plates 
were removed and changed, with a silence and speed that 
seemed like enchantment." 

On tlie 9th of March Washington set out for Mount Yernon, 
a private citizen, accompanied by Mrs. Washington, her two 
grandchildren (Master and Miss Custis), and Geoi'ge Washing- 
ton Lafayette, son of the marquis, who was then an exile from 
France, and in prison. Young Lafayette was then between 
seventeen and eighteen years of age, and was accompanied by 
his preceptor, M. Frestel, who composed a part of the family 
then on its way to Mount Yernon. 

The misfortunes of Lafayette, whom Washington loved so 
devotedly, and the condition of his interesting family, had 
given him more painful anxiety, during the latter part of his 
administration, than any other circumstance. 

Lafayette, as we have seen, was one of the prime leaders in 
the revolution in France during its first stages. He was an 
active advocate of civil liberty, but conservative in a country 
where and when re^jresentatives and constituents were alike 
radical. When the revolution was at its height, he was at 
the head of the Constitutionalists, who advised moderation. 




Eecaiise of this, he, of all the leaders, M'as left almost alone, 
lie was forsaken by timid friends, who trembled at the frowns 
of the Terrorists, and was menaced by his violent political 
enemies. lie dared to oppose the factions, of whatever creed, 
and for this he drew npon his head the anathemas of the 
Jacobins, the emigrants, and the royalists. Even his army, 
hitherto faithful, had become disaffected toward him, throngh 
the machinations of his enemies, and nothing remained for him 
but to flee. He left his army encamped at Sedan, and, in 
company with a few faithful friends, set oflf for Holland, to 
seek an asylum there or in the United States. 

At the first Austrian post he and his friends were at first 
detained, and then made ])risoners. Soon afterward they 


M-ere sent to the dnngeoiis of Wesel and Magdeburg, and 
ultimately to those of Olniutz, by order of the allied monarchs 
of Austria and Prussia. 

When information of this condition of his dear friend 
reached Washington at Philadeli)hia, he was deeply moved. 
The late venerable Eichard Rush— intelligence of whose death 
is spreading upon electric pinions over the land while I write 
(August 1, 1859)— relates an interesting incident illustrative of 
the feelings of Washington on that occasion. Mr. Bradford, 
the attorney-general, was living directly opposite the Presi- 
dent's house, and was spending an evening with Washington's 
tamily, when the conversation reverted to Lafayette. Wash- 
ington spoke with great seriousness, contrasted the marquis's 
hitherto splendid career with his present forlorn and suffering 
condition, and at length became so deeply affected, that his 
eyes filled with tears, and his whole great soul was stirred to 
its very depths. "Magnanimous tears they were," says Mr. 
Eush, "fit for the first of heroes to shed— virtuous, honorable, 
sanctified !" 

Mr. Bradford, who deeply sympathized with the feelings of 
W^ashington, was much affected at the spectacle, and returning 
to his own house, he "sat down," says Griswold, from whose 
RejpuUican Court I quote, "and wrote the following simple, 
but toucliing verses, an impromptu effusion from the heart of 
a man of sensibility and genius : 


"As beside bis cheerful fire, 
'Midst bis bappy family, 
Sat a venerable sire. 
Tears were starting in bis eve 

288 MOUNT V E R X O N 

Selfish blessings were forgot, 
"Whilst he thought on Fayette's lot, 
Once so happy on our plains — 
Now in poverty and chains. 

" ' Fayette,' cried he — ' honored name ! 
Dear to these far distant shores — 
Fayette, fired by freedom's flame. 
Bled to make that freedom ours. 
What, alas I for this remains — 
What, but poverty and chains ! 

" ' Soldiers in our fields of death — 
Was not Fayette foremost there? 
Cold and shivering on the heath, 
Did you not his bounty share ? 
What reward for tiiis remains. 
What, but poverty and chains ! 

'' ' Hapless Fayette ! 'midst thine error, 
How my soul thy worth reveres! 
Sou of freedom, tyrant's terror, 
Hero of both hemispheres ! 
What reward for all remains. 
What, but poverty and chains ! 

" ' Born to honors, ease, and wealth, 
See him sacrifice them all; 
Sacrificing also health. 
At his country's glorious call, 
What for thee, my friend, remains, 
What, but poverty and chains ! 

" ' Thus with laurels on his brow 
Belisarius begged for bread ; 
Thus, from Carthage forced to go, 
Hannibal an e.xile fled. 
Alas I Fayette at once sustains 
Exile, poverty, and chains!' 


''Couroge, child of "^^'ashiiigtou! 
Though thy fate disastrous seems, 
We have seen the setting sun 
Rise and Ijurn with brighter beams, 
Thy country soon shall break thy chain. 
And take tliee to her arms again. 

Thy country soon shall hreak thy chain,. 
And take thee to her arms again I" 

In tlie liorrid dungeon at Olmiitz, in a cell three paces 
broad and five and a half long, containing no other ornament 
than two French verses which rhyme with the words to snffer 
and to die, the generous Lafayette was confined almost three 
years, and yet his great soul was not bound by suffering, nor 
his zeal for liberty one whit abated. Deprived of pen, ink, 
and paper, except a sheet that ''by a miracle" he possessed, 
he wrote a letter with a toothpick to a princess who sympa- 
thized with him, and said, in a postscript : 

" I know not what disposition has been made of my planta- 
tion at Cayenne, but I hope Madame Lafayette will take care 
that the negroes who cultivate it shall jpi'esei've their liberty y 

Lafayette's noble wife, as soon as she could get permission 
to leave France, hastened to Olmutz, with her daughters, to 
share the j)risoii with the husband and father, while their son, 
George Washington, came to the United States, with his tutor, 
consigned to the fatherly care and protection of the great 
patriot whose name he bore. They arrived at Boston at the 
close of the summer of 1795, and immediately informed Wash- 
ington of the fact. The President's first impulse was to take 
the young man to his bosom and cherish him as a son, but 
grave reasons of state denied him that pleasure. " To express 
all the sensibility," he said, in a letter to Senator Cabot, of 


290 M U N T V E R N N 

Boston, "wliicli lias been excited in my l)reast by the receipt of 
young Lafayette's letter, from the recollections of his father's 
merits, services, and sufferings, from my friendship for him, 
and from my wishes to become a friend and father to his son, 
is unnecessary." He then declared himself the young man's 
friend, but intimated that great caution in the manifestation of 
that friendship would be necessary, considering the light in 
which his father was then viewed by the French government, 
and "Washington's own situation as the executive of the United 
States. He desired Mr. Cabot to make young Lafayette and 
M. Frestel, his tutor, understand why he could not receive them 
as he desired, but that his support and protection, until a more 
auspicious moment, might be relied on. He ordered them to 
be provided with every thing necessary, at his expense, and 
advised their entrance at Harvard University. 

Young Lafayette assumed the name of Motier (a family 
name of his father) ; and in November Washington wrote to 
him with caution, telling him that the causes which rendered 
it necessary for them both to be circumspect were not yet 
removed, and desiring him to repair to Colonel Hamilton, in 
New York, who would see that he was well provided for. 

"How long the causes which have withheld you from me 
may continue," Washington said, " I am not able at this 
moment to decide ; but be assured of my wishes to embrace 
you so soon as they shall have ceased, and that, whenever the 
period arrives, I shall do it with fervency." He then, with 
fatherly solicitude, advised him to attend well to his studies, 
that he might "be tbund to be a deserving son of a meritorious 

After leaving Boston, vounaj Lafavette lived with his tutor 


for awhile in the vicinitj of New York, in comparative sechi- 
sion. At length the Congress took cognizance of the presence 
of the young man, and on the 18th of March the House of 
Representatives passed the following resolution and order: 

'* Information having been given to this House that a son of 
General Lafayette is now within the United States ; 

'•'' liesolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire into 
the truth of the said information, and report thereon ; and 
what measures it would be proper to take if the same be true, 
to evince the grateful sense entertained l)y the country for the 
services of his father. 

" Ordered that Mr. Livingston, Mi". Sherburne, and Mr. 
Murray be appointed a committee pursuant to the said resolu- 

As chairman of the coinmittec, Mr. Livingston wrote to 
young Lafayette as follows : 

"Sir: Actuated by motives of gratitude to your father, and 
eager to seize every opportunity of showing their sense of his 
important services, the House of Representatives have passed 
the resolution wliich I have the pleasure to communicate. 
The committee being directed to inquire into the fact of your 
arrival within the United States, permit me to advise your 
immediate appearance at this place, that the legislature of 
America may no longer be in doubt, whether the son of Lafay- 
ette is under their protection, and within the reach of their 

"I presume to give this advice as an individual personally 
attached to your father, and very solicitous to be useful to any 
person in whose happiness he is interested. If I should have 


that good fortune on this occasion, it will afford mo the great- 
est satisfaction. 

"I am, etc., 

" Edward Livingston." 

This letter and the resohitions of the House of Representatives 
young Lafayette forwarded to President Washington, and asked 
his advice as to the course he should pursue. Washington 
advised him to come to Philadelphia at the opening of the 
next session of Congress, but to avoid society as much as pos- 
sible. He complied, and remained in Philadelphia until the 
following spring, when Washington, on becoming a private 
citizen, embraced the son of his friend as if he had been his 
own child, and bore him to his home on the Potomac. There 
he remained until eai'ly in October, when the joyful news 
having reached him of the release of his father from confine- 
ment, and his restoration to his country and friends, caused 
him to leave for the seaboard to depart for France. He 
and M. Frestel sailed from New York on the 2Gtli of Octol)er, 

As young Lafayette was about to leave Mount Vernon, 
Washington placed a letter in his hands for his father, in 
which he said : 

"From the delicate and responsible situation in which I 
stood as a public officer, but more especially from a miscon- 
ception of the manner in which your son had left France, till 
explained to me in a personal interview with himself, he did 
not come immediately into my family on his arrival in Amer- 
ica, though he was assured in the first moments of it of my 
protection and support. His conduct, since he first set his feet on 


American ground, lias been exemplary in every point of view, 
such as has gained him the esteem, affection, and confidence 
of all who have had the pleasure of his acquaintance. His 
filial aifection and duty, and his ardent desire to embrace his 
parents and sisters in the first moments of their release, would 
not allow him to wait the authentic account of this much- 
desired event ; but, at tlie same time that I suggested the pro- 
priety of this, I could not withhold my assent to the gratifica- 
tion of his wishes to fly to the arms of those whom he holds 
most dear, persuaded as he is from the information he has 
received, that he shall find you all in Paris. 

" M. Frestel has been a true Mentor to George. 'No parent 
could have been more attentive to a favorite son; and he 
richly merits all that can be said of his virtues, of liis <--ood 
sense, and of his prudence. Both your son and he carry with 
them the vows and regrets of this family, and all who know 
them. And you may be assured that yourself never stood 
higher in the aflections of tlie people of this country than at 
the present moment." 

The profile of George Washington Lafayette, given on a 
preceding page, was painted in crayon, by James Sharpless, 
an English artist, who came to this country in 1Y96, and 
visited all the principal cities and towns in the United States, 
carrying letters of introduction to various distinguished per- 
sons, and requesting them to sit for their portraits. These 
were generally painted in crayon, upon a small scale, and 
finished in less than three hours from the commencement of 
the sitting. Sharpless usually drew them in profile, and the 
likenesses were generally so much admired for their faithful- 
ness, that orders would sometimes be dven for whole families. 



In tills way he painted immense numbers of portraits, and 
received lifteen dollars for each commission. 

Sliarpless brought with him liis wife and three children. 
lie made New York his head-cpiarters, and generally travelled 
in a fonr-wheeled carriage, so contrived by himself as to con- 


vey his whole family and all of his painting apparatus, and 
drawn by one stout horse. He was a plain and frugal man, 
and amassed a competence by his profession. He was a man 
of science and a mechanician, and nnmufactured the crayons 
which he used in his profession. He died suddenly in New 
Tork, at the age of about sixty years, and M^as burled in the 
cemetery attached to the lioman Catholic chapel in Barclay 


street. His widow and family returned to England, where 
they sold the jwrtraits of the distinguished Americans whom 
Sharjjless had painted, and settled in Bath. 

While in Philadeli^hia Sharpless painted the profile portraits 
of President and Mrs. Washington ; and also those of George 
Washington Lafayette (just mentioned) and George Washino-- 
ton Parke Custis. The latter was then a lad between sixteen 
and seventeen years of age, and he and young Lafayette 
became warmly attached friends. When, in 1824 and 1825, 
General Lafayette visited this country, as the guest of the 
nation, his son George accompanied him, and he and Mr. 
Custis w^ere much togeiher when opportunity allowed the 
privilege. The following note from George W. Lafayette to 
the friend of his youth, is an exhibition of tlie warmth of his 
attachment : 

" Wasiiixgton City, Jamuiry the third, 1825. 

" My dp:ar Custis : My father being able to dispose of him- 
self on Wednesday, w^ill do himself the pleasure of going that 
day to dine at Arlington. It is so long since I wished for that 
satisfaction myself, that I most sincerely rejoice at the antici- 
pation of it. You know, my friend, how happy I was when 
we met at Baltimore. Since that day I felt every day more 
and more how much our two hearts were calculated to under- 
stand each other. Be pleased, my dear Custis, to present my 
respectful homage to the ladies, and receive for yourself the 
expression of my most affectionate and brotherly sentiments." 

The profiles of General and Mrs. Washington, by Sharpless, 
have been pronounced by members of the Washington family 
who remembered the originals, as the best likenesses extant. 


both ill form and color. Sharpless made many copies from it. 
So also did Mrs. Sliarpless, who painted miniatures in water 
colors most exquisitely. One of these is in the possession of 

r^^% %■ 



Mrs. Eliza M. Evans, a daughter of General Anthony Walton 
White, of New Jersey. It is somewhat smaller than the nsual 
size of miniatures, and on the back is written, by the hand of 
the fair artist : " General Washington, Philadelphia, 1796. E. 

These four originals, by Sharpless, are preserved at Arling- 
ton House. Those of Mrs. A\^ashiiigton, and Lafayette and 
Custis, when lads, have never been engraved before. They 
hung npon the walls at Mount Yernon from the time when 
Washington retired from the presidency until the death of 
Mrs. Washington, in 1802, when they passed into the j^osses- 
sion of her grandson, G. W. P. Custis. 

When fairly seated again in ])rivate life at Mount Yernon, 



Wasliington appeared to revel in tlie luxuiy of quiet. He was 
never idle, never indiiierent to the progress of current events, 
but he loved the peacefulness of nature awav from the haunts 


of men, and was delighted when working like the bee among 
the fruits and flowers. He was not unsocial, and yet he loved 
to be away from the great gathering-places of men and the 
tumults of public life. He was not unambitious, but he was 
not only indiiferent but averse to the plaudits of the multitude 
when given in the accents of flattery. He wished to be loved 
as a righteous man, and he relied upon his conscience more 
than upon the voices of men for a knowledge of the accept- 
ableness of his endeavors. It was his guide in all things, for 
he regarded it in one sense as Emanuel — God Avith us — the 
righteous judge of the thoughts and actions of men. 

Washington now felt that his country had received all that 


could reasonably be asked of liiiu as a public servant, and he 
returned to liis old pursuits with a sincere desire to mingle no 
more in the stirring arena of busy life. " To make and sell a 
little tiour annually," he wrote to Oliver Wolcott, " to repair 
houses (going fast to ruin), to build one for the security of my 
papers of a public natui'e, and to amuse myself in agricultural 
and rural pursuits, will constitute employment for the few 
years I have to remain on this terrestrial globe. If, also, I 
could now and then meet the friends I esteem, it would fill the 
measure and add zest to my enjoyments ; but, if ever this hap- 
pens, it must be under my own vine and fig-tree, as I do not 
think it pi'obable that I shall go twenty miles from them." 

Washington enjoyed the visits of friends, but those of mere 
ceremony he disliked, and was sometimes annoyed by those 
prompted by idle curiosity. 

" I might tell my friend," he said, in a letter at the close of 
May to Mr. Mc Henry, the secretary of war, " that I begin my 
diurnal course with the sun ; that if my hirelings are not in 
their places at that time, I send them messages of soi-row for 
their indisposition ; that, having put these Mdieels in motion, 
I examine the state c»f things further; that the more they are 
probed, the deeper I find the wounds which my buildings have 
sustained hj an absence and neglect of eight years ; that by 
the time I have accomplished these matters, breakfast (a little 
after seven o'clock, about the time I presume you are taking 
leave of Mrs. McHenry) is ready ; that this being over, I 
mount my horse and ride round my farms, which employs me 
until it is time to dress for dinner, at which I rarely miss seeing 
strange faces, come, as they say, out of respect for me. Pray, 
would not the word curiosity answer as well? And how dif- 


ferent this from having a few social friends at a cheerful 
board! The usual time of sitting at table, a walk, and tea, 
bring me within the dawn of candlelight ; previous to which, 
if not prevented by company, I resolve that, as soon as the 
glimmering taper supplies tlie place of the great luminary, I 
will retire to my writing-table and acknowledge the letters I 
have received ; but when the liglits are brought, I feel tired 
and disinclined to engage in tliis work, conceiving that the 
next night will do as well. The next night comes, and with it 
the same causes for postponement, and so on. 

"This will account for your letter remaining so long unac- 
knowledged ; and, having given you the history of a day, it 
will serve for a year, and I am persuaded you will not require 
a second edition of it. But it may strike you that, in this 
detail, no mention is made of any portion of time allotted for 
reading. The remark would be just, for I have not looked 
into a book since I came home ; nor shall I be able to do it 
until I have discharged my workmen, probably not before the 
nights grow longer, when possibly I nuiy be looking in Dooms- 
day Book." 

"Washington's allusion in the foregoing letter to his writing- 
table, reminds me of his inkstand, which is preserved at Arling- 
ton House. It is composed wholly of silver, except three cut- 
glass bottles, two of them used for ink, and one (in the centre) 
for sand. The tray is seven and a half inches in length. 
It was used by Washington during the last two years of his 
administration, and ever afterward at Mount Vernon. 

Washington found his mansion and all of the surrounding 
buildings much in want of repair when he returned home. 
" I find myself," he said, " in the situation nearly of a new 




Jifc .^ >.ii«^ iW 


beginnei-; for although I liave not liouses to hnild (except one, 
which I must erect for the accomniodatioii and security of my 
military, civil, and j)rivate papers, whicli are vohiminous and 
may be interesting), yet I have scarcely any thing else about 
me that does not require considerable repairs. In a Avord, I 
am already surrounded by joiners, masons, and painters; and 
such is my anxiety to get out of their hands, that I have 
scarcely a room to ])ut a friend into or to sit in myself, Avithout 
the music of hammers or the odoriferous scent of paint." 

The mansion at Mount Vernon was soon thoroughly repair- 
ed, and many ornaments and pieces of furniture, not known to 
it before, were ])laced in it. Whatever liad been used in the 
presidential mansion at Philadelphia, and could be appro- 
priately transferred to Mount Yernon, were reserved, when 
Washington broke up his establishment in the federal capital, 
and disposed of all superfluities. 

Among other things brought on from Philadelphia, was a 
])air of mural candelabra, of elegant form and workmanship. 



These were upon the walls of the dining-room at Philadelphia, 
which was also nsed for pnhlic receptions hy the President 
and his wife. Th.ej were now placed in the large drawino-- 



room at Monnt Vernon. Tliej are each constructed of a mir- 
ror enclosed in a neat metal frame, resting upon an ehihoratelj 
wrought hracket, and surmounted by flowers and festoons of 
leaves, all of the same material, and heavily gilt. In front 
of the mirror is a crystal candlestick and branches, so placed 
as to have a brilliant reflection produced. 

302 MOUNT V E R N N 

These "lustres," as they were sometmies called, ^vere iin- 
jDorted from France, and formed a strong contrast to the 
ancient dingy iron lantern which hung in the great passage. 
That lantern, first hung np in the original cottage npon Mount 
Yernon l)y Lawrence Washington, continued its ser\'ices there 
nntil the death of the general. It had then cast its dim light 
upon the entrance door full eighty years. It is still in service, 
having for more than fifty years lighted the great passage at 
Arlington Honse, illuminating pictures by Vandyke and Sir 
Godfrey Kneller. 

In the dining-room at Mount Yernon was another relic of 
the household of Lawrence Washington. It was a sideboard, 
handsomely wrought of black walnut, and is an excellent 
specimen of the quality of furniture in Yirginia a hundred 
years ago. Its edges and legs are ornamented with delicate 
leaf-carving, and the wood is as perfect as when it was first 
used. It is about five feet in length, two and a half feet in 
width, and three feet in height, and quite heavy. It is used by 
the family at Arlington Honse, and is prized as one of the most 
precious mementos of Mount Yernon, because of its antiquity. 

There are also a tea-table and punch-bowl at Arlington House 
that belonged to Washington. The former is quite small, 
elliptical in shape, about three feet in length, and made of 
mahogany. It was manufactured in New York for use in the 
executive mansion there, as a ^c^ci^-table onl}', for the little 
private family of Washington, which consisted of only four 
j)ersons. Food was not often set upon it. Washington seldom 
ate any thing after dinner until eight o'clock in the evening, 
when, with his family, he partook of a cup of tea served from 
this tal)le, and a small slice of buttered bread. 




Tlie great porcelain pinieli-l)OAvl delineated in the engravino-, 
has a deep blue border at the rim, spangled with gilt staj-s 
and dots. It was made expressly for Washington, but when, 
where, and l)j whom is not known. In the bottom is a picture 
of a frigate, and on the side are the initials Ct. W., in gold, 
upon a shield with ornamental sur- 
roundings. It is supposed to have 
been presented to Washington by 
the French naval officers. If so, it 
was doubtless manufactured and 
sent over at the time when the Cin- 
cinnati china was forwarded. 

There are two massive silver can- 
dlesticks, with extinguishei's and 
snuffers of the same metal, at Ar- 
lington House, that once belonged 
to Washington. These formed a 
part of his furniture after his retiremeiit from the army, in 



1783, and arc a portion of liis j^late not remodelled afterward 
in New York. 

How many interesting associations are made to cluster 
around these simple ntensils of domestic use, at the sugges- 
tions of fancy and conjectnre! Perhaps almost every distin- 
gnished Enropean — Lafayette, Rochambeau, Chastelhix, Hou- 
don, Pine, Monstier, Brissot, D'Yruzo, Graham— as well as 
equally distinguished Americans who have spent a night at 
Mount Yernon — bore one of them to the bedchamber. 

Perhaps they were used by Washington himself at his 
writing-table or by the fireside, or to liglit the conjugal 
chamber. And it is quite possible that the master bore one 
of them on the occasion mentioned in the following paragraph 
from the pen of Elkanah Watson, when describing his visit at 
Mount Yernon : 

"The first evening 1 spent under the wing of Washington's 
hospitality, we sat a full hour at taljle by ourselves, without 
the least interruption. After the family had retired, I was 
extremely oppressed by a severe cold and excessive coughing, 
contracted by the exposure of a harsh winter journey. He 
pressed me to use some remedies, but I declined doing so. As 
usual after retiring, my coughing increased. When some time 
had elapsed, the door of my room was gently opened, and on 
drawing my bed-curtains, to my utter astonishment I beheld 
Washington himself standing at my bedside, with a bowl of 
hot tea in his hand. I was mortified and distressed beyond 
expression. This little incident occurring in common life M'ith 
an ordinary man, would not have been noticed ; but as a trait 
of the benevolence and private virtue of Washington, deserves 
to be recorded."' 




While residing in Pliiladelpliia, Washington became ac- 
quainted with the merits of WiUiam Winstanley, an English- 


man, and landscape painter, who came to America in 1796. 



He was spoken of as '^ an artist of genius and reputation, 
w'liose landscapes in oil are greatly admired by the connois- 
seurs." Washington, pleased with some specimens of his skill 
which were brouglit to his notice, gave him a commission to 
paint six medium-sized pictures, representing scenery on the 
Hudson Tiiver. These were afterward taken to Mount Yeriion, 
and adorned the walls of the drawing-room tliere. Two of 
these, called respectively Morning and Evening, are now at 
Arlington House. Two others are in the family of the late 
Mrs. Lewis (Nelly Custis) ; of the remaining two we have no 

Washington was again awakened from his sweet dream of 
peace and quietness in his home on the Potomac, by the call 
of his country to lend to it once more his voice and his arm. 
There were signs of war in the political firmament. France, 
once the ally of the United States, assumed the attitude of an 
enemy. The king and queen of that uidm])py country had 
been murdered at the command of a popular tribunal. Out 
of the anarchy tliat ensued, had been evolved a government, 
in wliicli supreme power was vested in live men called a 
Directory, who ruled in connection with two chambers, the 
Council of Ancients and the Council of Five Flundred. It 
was installed at the Little Luxembourg, at Paris, on the 
1st of Novendjer, 1795, and held the executive power four 

That Directory was a most^ despotic tyrant, and ruled with 
an iron hand. Its pride disgusted the nations, and every true 
friend of man rejoiced when it quailed before the genius and 
the bayonets of Napoleon. 

Before Washington luid left the chair of state, the friendly 


feeling between the United States and France had become 
greatly weakened. The French Directory assumed a tone of 
incomparable insolence, and the American representatives in 
Paris were insulted. Three judicious men liad been sent to 
adjust all difficulties with the French government. They were 
refused an audience with the Directory unless they would 
agree to pay a large sum into the French treasury. " Millions 
for defence, but not one cent for tribute !" said Charles Cotes- 
worth Pinckney, one of the American envoys ; and he and 
John Marshall, another of the envovs, were ordered out of the 
country. This insult the United States did not choose to allow 
to pass nnheeded, and all dif)lomatic intercourse between the 
two governments was suspended. Preparations were nuide 
for war ; and in May, 1798, Congress authorized the formation 
of a large military force, to be called a Provisional Army. The 
movement was popular with the peoj)le, and with anxious 
hearts their thoughts turned instinctively to Washington as 
the man for the commander-iu chief. 

There appeared to be a universal opinion that the weight of 
Washington's name and character would be necessary in order 
to produce unanimity among the military leaders that would 
be brought npon the stage, and to secure the confidence and 
support of the people. 

Washington, though in absolute retirement, had watched 
the })rogress of aftairs in France with sorrow and indignation, 
and liad expressed his mind freely to his friends upon the 
subject. President Adams, in the perplexities which the prog- 
ress of events produced, turned to him for advice, and looked 
to him for aid. "I must tax you," he said, "sometimes for 
advice. We must have your name, if you will in any case 


permit us to use it. There will be more efficaej in it tlian in 
many an army." iind before Washington could reply, Adams 
nominated to the Senate : " George Washington, of Mount 
Vernon, to be lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of all 
the armies raised and to be raised in the United States." 

Already Mi*. McIIenry, the secretary of war, had written : 
" You see how the storm thickens, and that our vessel will 
soon require our ancient pilot. Will you — may we flatter 
ourselves that, in a crisis so awful and important, you will 
accept the command of all our armies? I hope you will, 
because you alone can unite all hearts and all hands, if it is 
possible that they can be united." 

The Senate confirmed the nomination of the president, and 
Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of the Provi- 
sional Army. True to the prophecies and promises of his 
antecedents, he accepted the trust, for his country demanded 
his services, but with the provision that he should not be re- 
quired to take the held until circumstances should make it 
absolutely necessary. 

" I see, as you do," he said to McHenry, " that clouds are 
gathering and that a storm may ensue ; and I And, too, from a 
variety of hints, that my quiet, under these circumstances, does 
not promise to be of long continuance. * * " " As my 
whole life has been dedicated to my country in one shape or 
another, for the poor remains of it it is not an object to con- 
tend for ease and quiet, when all that is valuable is at stake, 
further than to be satisfied that the sacrifice I should make of 
these is acceptable and desired by my country." 

And now there were stirring times again at Mount Yernon. 
Washington's post-bag came filled with a score of letters some- 


times, for to him had been entrusted the selection of officers 
for the army, and there were thousands of aspirants for places 
of almost every grade. He nominated Colonel Alexander 
Hamilton as first major-general, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, 
then on his way from France, the second, and General Knox 
the third. The subordinate offices were frequently filled by 
the sons of his old companions in arms, and several of his 
own family received commissions. Young Custis, his adopted 
son, was appointed aide-de-camp to General Pinckney, and 
his favorite nephew, Lawrence Lewis, also received a com- 

Many were the visitors who fiocked to Mount Vernon dur- 
ing the autumn of 1798. A large number of these were army 
officers, who went to head-quarters to consult with the chief 
about military afl;airs ; and General Pinckney having returned, 
was there at Christmas time. At the same time Judo;e Cushino-, 
of the Supreme Court of the United States, who administered 
the oath of office to Washington at his second inauguration, 
was also there. 

" "We reached Mount Yernon," wrote the wife of Judge 
Gushing, in February, 1799, "the evening before Christmas, 
and if any thing could have added to our enjoyment, it was 
the arrival of General and Mrs. Pinckney the next day [Tues- 
day], while we were dining. You may be sure it was a joyful 
meeting, and at the very place my wishes had pointed out. 
To be in the company of so many esteemed friends, to hear 
our good General Washington converse wpon political subjects 
without reserve, and to hear General and Mrs. Pinckney re- 
late what they saw and heard in France, was truly a feast to 
me. Thus the moments glided away for two days, when our 


reason pointed out the propriety of our clepartin<^ and inq^rov- 
ing the good roads, as the snow and frost had made them 
better than they are in summer." 

The attitude assumed by tlie United States, and tlie appear- 
ance of Washington at tlie head of the army, humbled the 
French Directory, and President Adams was encouraged to 
send representatives to France again. When they arrived, 
toward the close of 1799, the weak Directory were no more. 
N^apoleon Bonaparte was at the head of the government as 
first consul, and soon the cloud of war that hung between 
France and the United States was dissipated. 

We now come to consider the associations of Mount Vernon 
during the last year of the century. It opened with joy, it 
closed witli sorrow. 

Lawrence Lewis, son of Washington's sister Elizabeth, liad 
been a resident at Mount Vernon for some time. AVe have 
alread}^ observed, by an expression in a letter of AVashington 
to Mr. McHenry, that tlie visits of strangers to Mount Vernon 
had become somewhat burdensome to the master. With this 
feeling he wrote to Lawrence, giving him a formal invitation 
to reside at Mount Vernon, and saying : 

"As both your aunt and I are in the decline of life, and 
regular in our habits, especially in our hours of rising and 
going to bed, I require some person (fit and proper) to ease me 
of the trouble of entertaining company, particularly of nights, 
as it is my inclination to retire (and unless prevented by very 
particular company, I always do retire) either to bed or to my 
study soon after candlelight. In taking those duties (which 
hospitality obliges one to bestow on company) off my hands, it 
would render me a very acceptable service." Lawrence com- 


plied with the request of his uncle, and became an inmate of 
the family at Mount Yernon at the beginning- of 1798. 

Nelly Cnstis was at this time blooming into w^omanhood, 
and w^as exceedingly attractive in person and manners. She 
\\-as a great favorite with her foster-father, and as she ap- 
proached marriageable age, he had indulged many anxious 
thoughts respecting her. The occasional visits of Lawrence 
Lewis to Mount Vernon had been productive of the most 
intimate friendly relations between them, and when he became 
a resident there, his respect for Nelly grew into warm and 
tender attachment. Washington was pleased ; but there came 
a rival, whose suit Mrs. Washington decidedly encouraged. 
That rival was a son of Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, who had 
just returned from Europe, and displayed all the accomplish- 
ments of a good education, adorned with the social graces 
derived from foreign travel. 

"I find that young Mr. C has been at Mount Vernon, 

and, report says, to address my sister," wrote her brother to 
Washington, in April, 1798, from Annapolis, where he was at 
school. "It may be well to subjoin an opinion," he said, 
" which I believe is general in this place, viz., that he is a 
young man of the strictest probity and morals, discreet with- 
out closeness, temperate without excess, and modest without 
vanity ; possessed of those amiable qualities and friendship 
which are so commendable, and with few of the vices of the 
age. In short, I think it a most desirable match, and wish 
that it may take place with all my heart," 

Washington, who favored the suit of his nephew, closed 
abruptly the correspondence with young Custis on that sub- 
ject, by saying, in a letter to him a fortnight afterward : 


" Young Mr. C came here about a fortnight ago, to 

dinner, and left us next morning after breakfast. If his object 
was such as jou say has been reported, it was not declaimed 
liere ; and therefore the less is said upon the subject, particu- 
larly hy your sister's friends, the more prudent it will be until 
the subject develops itself more." 

In his next letter, in re})ly to this, young Custis ventured 

only to say : " With respect to what I mentioned of Mr. C 

in my last, I had no other foundation but report, wdiich has 
since been contradicted."* 

Lawrence Lewis triumphed, yet the foster-father had some 
time doubted respecting the i-esult, for other suitors came to 
Mount Yernon, and made their homage at the shrine of 
lS"elly's wit and beauty. 

" I was young and romantic then," she said to a lady, from 
whose lips Mr. Irving has quoted — -" I was young and roman- 
tic then, and fond of wandering alone hy moonlight in the 
woods of Mount Yernon. Grandmamma thought it wrong 
and unsafe, and scolded and coaxed me into a promise that I 
would not wander in tlie woods again unaccompanied. But I 
was missing one evening, and was brought home from the 
interdicted woods to the di-awing-room, where the General was 
walking up and doMm with his hands behind him, as was his 
wont. Grandmamma, seated in her great arm-chair, opened a 
severe reproof." 

* For very interesting correspondence between General Wasliin.ii'ton and liis 
adopted son, dr. W. P. Custis, while the latter was in college at Princeton and 
Annapolis, from November, 179G, to January. 1799, see BecuUeciluns a>>d Private 
Memoirs of Washingion, by his adopted son, (Jeorge Washington Parke Custis, 
edited bv the author of this worl-:. 


" Poor Miss IS'elly," says Mr. Irving, " was reminded of her 
promise, and taxed with her dehnquencj. She knew that she 
had done wrong — admitted her fault, and essayed no excuse ; 
hut, when there was a slight pause, moved to retire from the 
roonj. She was just shutting the door when she overheard the 
General attempting, in a low voice, to intercede in her behalf. 
' My dear,' observed he, ' I would say no more — perhaps she 
was not alone.' 

"His intercession stopped Miss Nelly in her retreat. She 
reopened the door and advanced up to the General with a firm 
step. ' Sir,' said she, ' you brought me up to speak the truth, 
and when I told Grandmamma I was alone, I hope you 
believed / was alone.'' 

"Tlie General made one of his most magnanimous bows. 
' My child,' replied he, ' I beg your pardon.' " 

Lawrence and Nelly were married at Mount Vernon on 
"Washington's birthday, 1799. It was Friday, and a bright 
and beautiful day. The early spring flowers were budding in 
the hedges, and the bluebird, making its way cautiously north- 
ward, gave a few joyous notes in the garden that morning. 
Tlie occasion Avas one of great hilarity at Mount Yernon, for 
the bride was beloved by all, and Major Lewis, the bride- 
groom, had ever been near to the heart of his uncle, since the 
death of his mother, who so much resembled her illustrious 
l)rother, that when, in sport, she would place a chapeau on her 
head and' throw a military cloak over her shoulders, she might 
easily have been mistaken foi* the Chief. 

It was the wash of the young bride, said her brother, that 
the general of the armies of the United States should wear, on 
that occasion, the splendidly-embroidered uniform whicb the 


board of general officers had adopted, but Washington coukl 
not be persuaded to appear in a costume bedizened with 
tinseh He preferred the pUiin old continental blue and buff, 
and the modest black ribbon cockade. Magnificent white 
plumes, which General Pinckney had presented to him, he 
gave to the bride ; and to the Reverend Thomas Davis, rector 
of Christ Church, Alexandria, who performed the marriage 
ceremony, he presented an elegant copy of Mrs. Macaulay's 
History of England^ in eight octa^'o volumes, saying, when he 
handed them to him : 

" These, sir, were written by a remarkable lady, who visited 
America many years ago ; and here is also her treatise on the 
Immutobility of Moral Truth., which she sent me just before 
her death — read it and return it to me." 

With characteristic modesty, Washington made no allusion 
to the fact that Mrs. Macaulay (Catharine Macaulay Graham) 
crossed the Atlantic in the spring of 1785, for no other pur- 
pose, as she avowed, than to see the great leader of the Amer- 
ican armies, whom she revered as a second Moses. Washing- 
ton thus alluded to her, in a letter to General Knox, written 
on the 18th of June, 1785 : 

" Mrs. Macaulay Graham, Mr. Graham, and others, have 
just left us, after a stay of about ten days. A visit from a 
lady so celebrated in the literary world could not but be very 
flattering to me." 

The year 1799 — the last year of the century, the last year 
of Washington's life — was now drawing to a close, and he 
appears to have made preparations for his departure, as if the 
fact that the summons from earth would soon be presented 
had been revealed to him. In March he said, in a letter to 


Mr. McIIeniy, after alluding to business affairs: "Mj greatest 
anxiety is to liave all these concerns in such a clear and dis- 
tinct form, that no reproach may attach itself to me when I 
have taken my departure for the land of spirits." 

In July he executed his last will and testament. It was 
written entirely by himself, and at the bottom of each page 
of manuscript he signed his name. During the autumn he 
digested a complete system of management for his estate for 
several succeeding years, in which were tables designating the 
rotation of crops. This document occupied thirty folio pages, 
all written in his peculiar and clear style. It M'as completed 
oidy four days before his death, and was accompanied by a 
letter, dated December 10th, 1790, to his manager or steward, 
giving him special directions, as if the master was about to 
depart on a journey. 

At this time Washington was in full health and vigor, and 
the beautiful days of a serene old age were promised him. He 
had once said: "I am of a short-lived family, and cannot 
expect to remain very long upon the earth ;" yet now, at the 
age of almost sixty-eight, he appeared to have full expectations 
of octogenarian honors. 

Only a few days before his death, he had walked out, on 
a cold, frosty morning, with his nephew, Major Lewis, and 
pointed out his anticipated improvements, especially showing 
him the spot where he intended to build a new family vault. 
"This change," he said, "I shall make the first of all, for I 
may require it before the rest." 

" When I parted from him," said Major Lewis, to James K. 
Paulding, " he stood on the steps of the front door, where he 
took leave of myself and another. He had taken his usual 


ride, and the clear healthy flush on his cheek and his sj)rightl}' 
manner, brought the remark from both of ns that we had 
never seen the general look so well. I have sometimes thought 
him decidedly the handsomest man I ever saw ; and when 
in a lively mood, so full of pleasantry, so agreeable to all 
with whom he associated, I could hardly realize that he was 
the same Washington whose dignity awed all who appi'oached 

On the 11th of December Washington noted in his diary 
that there was wind and rain, and " at night a large circle 
round the moon.'" This portent of snow was truthful, for at 
one o'clock the next day it began to fall. It soon changed to 
hail, and then to rain. 

Washington had been out on horseback, as usual, since ten 
o'clock in the morning, and returned only in time for late 
dinner. Mr. Lear, who was again residing at Mount Yernon, 
as Washington's secretary and business manager, carried some 
letters to him to frank, when he observed snow hanging to the 
general's hair about his neck, and expressed a fear that he was 
wet. " No," Washington replied, " my great coat has kept me 
dry ;" and after franking the letters, and observing that the 
storm was too heavy to send a servant to the post-ofiice that 
evening, he sat down to dinner without changing his damp 

On the following day (Friday, the 13th) the snow was three 
inches deep upon the ground, and still falling. Washington 
complained of a sore throat, and the storm continuing, he 
omitted his usual ride. At noon the clouds broke, the sun 
came out clear and warm, and he occupied himself before 
dinner in marking some trees, between the mansion and the 


river, tliat were to be cut down, and with compass and chain 
defining lines for improvements. 

After dinner his hoarseness grew worse, yet he regarded it 
as nothing serious. He w^as very cheerful during the evening, 
and sat in the parlor with Mrs. Washington and Mr. Lear, 
amusing himself wuth the newspapers, which were brought in 
at seven o'clock, occasionally reading aloud something that 
pleased him, or asking Mr. Lear to do so, his hoarseness some- 
times depriving him of his voice. Among other things, Mr. 
Lear read to him the report of debates in the Virginia Assem- 
bly, and Washington made comments, as well as his hoarseness 
would permit. 

About nine o'clock Mrs. Washington left the parlor, and 
went to the chamber of Mrs. Lewis, who was confined, and the 
general and Mr. Lear continued the perusal of the papers some 
time afterward. When he retired, Mr. Lear suggested that he 
had better take something for his cold, his hoarseness appear- 
ing to increase. " No," he answered, " you know I never take 
any thing for a cold. Let it go as it came." 

Between two and three o'clock the next morning he awoke 
Mrs. Washington, told her that he was very ill, and had had 
an ague. He was so hoarse that he could scarcely speak. He 
breathed with great difiicult}'^, and Mrs. Washington proposed 
to get up and call a servant, but the tender husband would 
not permit her to do so, lest she should take cold. At day- 
light their chambermaid, Caroline, went into the room to 
make a fire, as usual, when Mrs. Washington sent her for Mr. 
Lear. That gentleman dressed himself quickly, and, on going 
to the general's room, found him breathing with great diflfi- 
culty, and hardly able to utter a word intelligibly. 


MOUNT Y 1-: n X N 

AVat-hiiigtoii desired Mr. Lear to send iininediatelj for Mr. 
Ilawliiis, one of the overseers, to come and bleed liini, while 
another servant M'as dispatched to Alexandria for Dr. Craik, 

the sufferer's life-long friend and 
his faniil}' physician. Some mix- 
tures Avere ])repared to give im- 
mediate relief, hut he could not 
swallow a drop. 

Tvawlins came sooi\ at>er sun- 
rise. He was much agitated. 
AYashington perceived it, and 
said, "Don't be afraid."' A slight 
incision was made in tlie arm, 
for Mrs. Washington, doubtful 
whether bleeding was proper in 
the case, begged that not much 
blood might be taken. Tlie blood 
ran jiretty freely, but the general 
whispered, "The orifice is not 
large enough ;" and when Mi". Lear was about to loosen the 
bandage to stop the bleeding, at the request of Mrs. Washing- 
ton, he put his hand up to prevent it, and said, " More, more." 
Al»out half a |)int of blood was taken from him, and. external 
applications were made, but nothing seemed to relieve the 

At eight o'clock Washington expressed a desire to get up. 
His clothes were put on, and he was led to a chair by the fire. 
But he found no relief in that position, and at ten o'clock he 
lay down again. 

Mrs. Washington had become much alarmed, and before Dr. 



Craik arrived, she desired Mr. Lear to send for Dr. Brown, of 
Port Tobacco, whom Craik had recommended to be called if 
any alarming sickness should occur during his absence. At 
about nine o'clock Dr. Craik arrived. He at once took more 
blood from the general, put a blister on his throat, prepared a 
gargle of vinegar and sage tea, and ordered some vinegar and 
hot water for him to inhale the steam of. The gargle almost 
suffocated him. A little phlegm was brought up with it, and 
he attempted to cough, but was unable to do so. 

At eleven o'clock Dr. Craik requested Dr. Dick, with whom 
he often consulted, to be sent for, as Dr. Brown might not 
come in time. He then bled the general again, but no effect 
was produced by it. His inability to swallow any thing con- 
tinued. At three o'clock Dr. Dick arrived, and after consulta- 
tion with him. Dr. Craik again bled the sufferer. The blood 
was thick, and flowed very sluggishlj'. Dr. Brown arrived 
soon afterward, and after the three physicians had held a brief 
consultation, Dr. Craik administered calomel and tartar emetic, 
which the general managed to swallow. But this too was 
without effect. 

"About half-past four o'clock," says Mr. Lear, in a narra- 
tive which he wrote at the time, "he desired me to call Mrs. 
Washington to his bedside, when he requested her to go down 
into his room, and take from his desk two wills which she 
would find there, and bring them to him, which she did. 
Upon looking at them he gave her one, which he observed was 
useless, as being superseded by the other, and desired her to 
burn it, which she did, and took the other and put it into her 

"After this was done, I returned to his bedside and took his 


hand. He said to me : ' I find I am going. My breath canr 
not last long, I believed from the first that the disorder 
would prove fatal. Do you arrange and record all my late 
military letters and papers. Arrange my accounts and settle 
my books, as yon know more about them than any one else, 
and let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other letters which he 
has beeun.' I told him this should be done. He then asked 
if I recollected any thing which it was essential for him to do, 
as he had but a very short time to continue with us. I told 
him that I could recollect nothing, but that I hoped he was 
not so near his end. He observed, smiling, that he certainly 
was, and that, as it was a debt we must all pay, he looked to 
the event with perfect resignation. 

" In the course of the afternoon he appeared to be in great 
})ain and distress from the difficulty of breathing, and fre- 
quently changed his posture in the bed. On these occasions I 
lay upon the bed and endeavored to raise him, and turn him 
with as much ease as possible. He appeared penetrated with 
gratitude for my attentions, and often said, 'I am afraid I 
shall fatigue you too much ;' and upon my assuring him that 
I could feel nothing but a wish to give him ease, he replied, 
' Well, it is a debt we must pay to eacli other, and I hope 
when you want aid of this kind you will find it.' " 

Washington then inquired when Mr. Lewis and Wasliington 
Custis, who were in New Kent, would return; and being told, 
he remained silent awhile, and then desired his servant, Chris- 
topher, Avho had been in the room all day, to sit down, for he 
had been standing most of the time. He did so. A few 
minutes afterward Dr. Craik came into the room, and as he 
approached the bedside, Washington said to him : " Doctor, I 


die liard, but I am not afraid to j2;o. I believed, from my first 
attack, that I should not survive it. My breath cannot last 
long." The doctor, overcome with emotion, pressed his hand, 
but could not utter a word. He left the bedside, and, in deep 
grief, sat by the fire for some time, while all -svas silent in the 
room, except the heavy breathing of the sufferer. 

Doctors Dick and Brown came into the room between five 
and six o'clock, when they and Dr. Craik went to the bedside 
and asked Washington if he could sit up in bed. He held out 
his hand and Mr. Lear raised him up. " I feel myself going," 
he said ; " I thank you for your attentions ; but I pray you 
take no more trouble about me. Let me go off quickly. I 
cannot last long." Then casting a look of gratitude toward Mr. 
Lear, he lay down, and all left the bedside except Dr. Craik. 

Mr, Lear now wrote to Mr. Law and Mr. Peter, gentlemen 
who had married two granddaugl iters of Mrs. Washington 
(sisters of Nelly Custis), requesting them to come immediately, 
with their wives, to Mount Yernon. At about eight o'clock 
the physicians tried other outward applications to relieve the 
sufi'erer, but in vain, and they left the room without any hope. 

At about ten o'clock Washington attempted to speak to Mr. 
Lear, but failed several times. At length he murmured: "I 
am just going. Have me decently buried ; and do not let my 
body be put into the vault in less than three days after I am 
dead." Mr. Lear could not speak, but bowed his assent. 
Washington whispered, " Do you understand ?" Lear replied, 
" Yes." " 'Tis well," he said ; and these were the last words 
he ever spoke — " ^Tis ivell ,'" 

"About ten minutes before he expired," says Mr. Lear 
(" which was between ten and eleven o'clock), his breathing 



became easier. He lay quietly ; lie withdrew his hand from 
mine and felt his owii [)ulse. 1 saw his countenance change. 
I spoke to Dr. Craik, who sat by the fire. He came to the 
bedside. The general's hand fell from his wrist. I took it in 
mine and pressed it to my bosom. Dr. Craik put his hands 
over his eyes, and he expired without a struggle or a sigh. 

" While we were fixed in silent grief, Mrs. Washington, who 
was sitting at the foot of the bed, asked, with a firm and col- 
lected voice, ' Is he gone?' I could not speak, but held up my 
hand as a signal that he was no more. ' 'Tis well,' said she, in 
the same voice, ' all is now over ; I shall soon follow him ; I 
have no more trials to pass through.' " 

" It may be asked," says Mr. Custis, " why was the ministry 
of religion wanting to shed its peaceful and benign lustre upon 
the last hours of Washington? Why was he, to whom the 
observances of sacred things were ever primary duties tlu-ough 
life, without their consolations in his last moments? We an- 
swer, circumstances did not permit. It was but for a little 
while that the disease assumed so threatening a character as to 
forbid the encouragement of hope; yet, to stay that summons 
which none may refuse, to give still farther length of days to 
him whose time-honored life was so dear to nmnkind, prayers 
were not wanting to the throne of grace. Close to the couch of 
the sufierer, resting her head upon that ancient book, with 
which she had been wont to hold pious communion a 
portion of every day for more than half a century, was the 
venerable consort, absorbed in silent prayer, and from which 
she only arose when the mourning group prepared to lead her 
from the chamber of the dead." 

That chamber, ever held sacred by the Washington family. 



and concealed from the eyes of the curious visitor, appears 
now, in form and feature, precisely as when the spirit of the 
Father of his Country took its departure from it. Not a 
vestige of the furniture that was there at the time of Washing- 
ton's death, remains. Tlie bed and bedstead on which he died 
are at Arlington House, where they, too, are kept as not <»nly 
precious but sacred mementos of the great and good Wasli- 


The bedstead is made of mahogany, and was manufactured 
in New York in 1780. It is remarkable for its size, being six 
feet square. It M'as in constant use in the bed-chamber of 
General and Mrs. "Washington, from the time of its manufac- 
ture until his death. The bed and bedding remain in precisely 



the same condition as wlien Was]iin<j^ton was borne from his 
chamber to his toml). 

The room in wliich AVasliington died has seldom been seen 
by visitors at Mount Yernon. AVliile enjoying tlie hospitali- 
ties of the late ]>roprietor for two or three days, I was permit- 
ted to enter and sketch it. It was used as a ])rivate cliamber 
by the heads of the family. Empty, it ])resents the same 
appearance it did at Washington's death, and so I delineated 
it. Two doors open from it into other chambers, and one to 
stairs that lead to the a'ai'i'ct. 


As I stood alone in that death-chamber of the illnstrious 
Washington, fancy seemed to fill it with those who occupied it 
on Saturday night, the lith of Decendier, 1700, mentioned in 
a memorandum by Mr. Lear. On the l)ed lay the great man 
at the sublime moment of his death, Kear the bed stood Mr 
Lear and Dr. Craik. "Mrs. Washington was sitting near the 
foot of the bed. Christopher was standing near the bedside_ 
Caroline, Molly, and Charlotte (house-servants) were in the 
room, standing near the door. Mrs. Forbes, the housekeeper, 


was in the room likewise." And as I stood there, delineating 
the simple ontlines of that chamber, the words of Wallace 
came vividly to my memoiy : 

"There is an awful stillness iu the sky 
When, after wondrous deeds and ligiit supreme, 
A star goes out in golden prophecy. 
There is an awful stillness in the world. 
When, after wondrous deeds and light supreme, 
A hero dies with all the future clear 
Before him, and his voice made jubilant 
By coming glories, and his nation hush'd 
As though they heard the farewell of a god — 
A great man is to earth as God to heaven." 

No one, except Mrs. Washington, mourned more sincerely 
at the deathbed of the great patriot than Dr. Craik, a gen- 
erous, warm-hearted Scotchman, and excellent physician, who 
settled in Virginia in early life, was with Washington in the 
campaigns of the French and Indian war, and of the Revolu- 
tion, and was his friend and medical adviser for more than 
forty years. Twice he accompanied Washington to the Ohio 
country, the first time in 1770, and the second time in 1785. 
He continued to reside in Alexandria until old age caused him 
to relinquish his profession, when he retired with a competent 
fortune to Vaucluse, a part of the Ravens worths' estate, where 
he died in 1814, at the age of eighty-four years. He was 
exceedingly vigorous, in mind and body, until the last. His 
grandson, the Reverend James Craik, of Louisville, Kentucky, 
to whom I am indebted for the silhouette likeness of Dr. Craik, 
printed on page 318, says, in a recent letter to me: 

" He was a stout, thickset man, perfectly erect, no stoop of 
the shoulders, and no appearance of debility in his carriage. 



Not long before liis death he ran a race with me (^then about 
eiglit years old) in the frunt yard of the house at Yaucluse, 
before the assembled family." 

At midnight the body of General Washington was brought 
down from the chamber of death, and laid out in tlie larije 
drawing-room, in front of the superb Italian chimney-piece, 
delineated on page 172 — a work of art which the master had 
feared, "by the number of cases" which contained it, would 
be "too elegant and costly" for his " room, and republican 
style of living;" and on the following day (Sunday) a plain 
mahogany coffin was procured from Alexandria, and mourning 
ordered for the family, the overseers, and tlie domestics. On 
the same day several of the relatives who had been sent for 
arrived, among whom was Mrs. Stuart, tlie mother of Mrs. 
Washington's grandchildren. 

At the head of the coffin was placed an ornament inscribed 
Suegp: au judicum. At about the middle were the words 
Glorfa Deo ; and upon a silver plate was the record : 




1799, .ET. 68. 

The coffin was lined with lead, and upon a cover of the 
same material, to be put on after the coffin was laid in the 
vault, was a silver shield, nearly three inches in length, in- 
scribed : 


BORN fe:b. 22, 1732, 

DIED DECEMBER 14, 1799. 


The tinio fur tlie funeral was fixed at twelve o'clock on 
Wednesday, the 18th, and the Keverend Air. Davis, of Alex- 
andria, was invited to perform the burial 
service, according to the beautiful ritual ^ ^.s?-- 

of the Protestant Episcopal Church. 

Having received information from Alex- 1 


andria that the military and Freemasons %3-)ied 

were desirous of showing their respect for 

their chief and brother, by following liis 

body to the grave, Mr. Lear ordered pro- ,,,^,^ .^^^^^ ^^ washing- 

... 1 1 j:> 1 1 ton's coffin. 

visions to be prepared lor a large number 

of people, as some refreshment would be expected by them. 
And Mr. Robert Hamilton, of Alexandria, wrote to Mr. Lear, 
that a schooner of his would anchor off Mount Vernon to lire 
minute guns, while the body was passing from the mansion to 
the tomb. 

The arrangements for the procession at the funeral were 
made by Colonels Little, Simms, and Deneale,^ and Dr. Dick. 
The old family vault was opened and cleaned, and Mr. Lear 
ordered an entrance door to be made for it, that it might not 
be again closed with brick. Mr. Sicwart, adjutant of the 
Alexandria regiment, of wliich Washington had once been 
colonel, went down to Mount Yernon to view the ground for 
the procession. 

The people began to collect at Mount Vernon on Wednes- 
day, at eleven o'clock, but owing to a delay of the military, 
the time for the procession was postponed until three o'clock. 
The coffined body of the illustrious patriot lay, meanwhile, 
beneath the grand piazza of the mansion, where he had so 
often walked and mused. 


Between three and four o'clock the procession moved, and, 
at the same time, minute guns were fired from the schooner 
anchored in the Potomac. The pall-hearers were Colonels 
Little, Simms, Payne, Gilpin, Ramsay, and Marsteler. Colonel 
Blackburn preceded the corpse. Colonel Deneale mai-ched 
with the military. The procession moved out through the 
gate at the left wing of the house, and proceeded round in 
front of the hiwn, and down to the vault on the right wing of 
the house. The following was the comj)0sition and order of 
the procession : 

The troops, horse and foot, with arms reversed. 


The clergy, namely, the Rev. Messrs. Davis, 

Muir, Moffat, and Addison. 

The general's horse, with his saddle, holsters, and pistols, 

led by two grooms (Cyrus, and Wilson), in black. 

The body, borne by the Masons and officers. 

Principal mourners, namely, 

Mrs. Stuart and Mrs. Law, 

Misses JSTancy and Sally Stuart, 

Miss Fairfax and Miss Dennison, 

Mr. Law and Mr. Peter, 

Mr. Lear and Dr. Craik, 

Lord Fairfax and Ferdinando Fairfax. 

Lodge No. 23. 

Corporation of Alexandria. 

All other persons, preceded by Mr. Anderson 

and the overseers. 


When tlie body arrived near the vault, at the bottom of the 
lawn, on the high bank of the Potomac, the cavahy halted ; 
the infantry moved forward and formed the in-lining; the 
Masonic brethren and citizens descended to the vanlt, and the 
funeral services of the church were read by the Keverend Mr. 
Davis. He also j^ronounced a short discourse. The Masons 
then performed their peculiar ceremonies, and the body was 
deposited in the vault. Three general discharges of arms were 
then given by the infantry and the cavaliy ; and eleven pieces 
of artillery, which were ranged back of the vault and simulta- 
neously discharged, " paid the last tribute to the entombed 
commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States." The 
sun was now setting, and mournfully that funeral assembly 
departed for their respective 

The bier upon which Wash 
ington was conveyed from the 

mansion to the tomb, is pre- Washington's bier. 

served in the museum at Alexandria. It is oak, six feet in 
length, and painted a lead color. The handles, which are 
hinged to the bier, have leather pads on the under side, fast- 
ened with brass nails. 

The vault in which the remains of Washington were laid, 
had already become dilapidated by the action of the growing 
roots of the trees around it, and, as we have seen, Washington, 
in contemplation of the immediate construction of a new one, 
had chosen a place for it. In his will he left the following 
directions : 

" The family vault at Mount Yemon requiring repairs, and 
being improperly situated besides, I desire that a new one, of 



brick, and upon a larger scale, may be Luilt at the foot of 
what is called the Vineyard Enclosure, on the ground which is 
marked out, in which my remains, and those of my deceased 
relatives (n(»w in the old vault), and such others of my fannly 
as may choose to he entombed there, may be deposited.'" 

THE OLD VAl'l.T IN ItiOt), 

For thirty years the remains of Washington lay undisturbed 
in the old vault, when the tomb was entered and an atteni})t 
Avas made to carry aAvay the l)()nes of the illustrious dead. 
Others were taken l)y mistake, and the robber being detected, 
they were recovered. A new vaidt was soon afterward erected 7 


upon the spot desigiiated bj Wasliingtoii, and the old one is 
now a gaping ruin. 

Congress was in session at Philadelpliia, when information 
of the death of Washington reached tlieni on the day of liis 
funeral. On the following day the announcement of it was 
formally made on the floor of the House of Representatives, 
by the Honoi-ahle John Marshall, of Virginia (afterward chief- 
justice of the United States), and after some ap])ropriate 
action, the House adjourned. 

On Monda3% the 23d of Decend)er, the Congress adopted 
joint resolutions— ;^V^/, that a marble monument should be 
erected at the cnpitol ; second^ that there should be " a funeral 
procession from (;!ongress Hall to the German Lutheran Church, 
in memory of General George Washington, on Thursday, the 
26th instant," and that an oration ])e prepared at the request 
of Congress, to be delivered before both Houses that day ; and 
that the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House 
of Representatives, be desired to request one of the members 
of Congi-ess to prepare and deliver the same ; thirds that the 
people of the United Srates should be recommended to wear 
crape on their left arm as mourning for thirty days : fourth^ 
that the president of the United States should direct a copy 
of the resolutions to be transmitted to Mrs. Washington, with 
words of condolence, and a request that her husband's remains 
might be interred at the ca])itol of the republic. 

On the 30th of Dccend)er Congress further resolved, that it 
should be recommended to the people of the Union to assem- 
ble on the succeeding 22d of February, " to testify their grief 
by suitable eulogies, orations, and discourses, or by jDublic 




In accordance witli one of the foregoing resolutions, General 
Henry Lee, of Virginia, then a member of Congress, was in- 
vited to prononnce an oration on the 26th. He consented, and 
the Lutheran Church in Fourth street, above Arch, in Phila- 
delphia, the largest in the city, was crowded on that occasion. 
No man in the Congress could have been chosen better fitted 
for tlie service than General Lee. lie liad served his country 
nobly as an officer of cavalry during the war for independence, 
and from boyhood had been a special favorite of Washington. 
He was a son of that " Lowland Beauty" who won the heart of 
3'oung Washington, and drew sentimental verses from his pen. 
Tliroughout the war he was beloved by his chief for his manly 
and soldierly qualities, and he was an ever welcome guest at 


Mount Vernon, Mlicre lie was oil terms of the greatest intimacy 
with Washington and his family. Mr. Irving gives the follow- 
ing example of Lee's perfect familiaiity with his chief, when 
on a visit at Mount Vernon after the war : 

"Washington one day at table mentioned his being in want 
of carriage-horses, and asked Lee if he knew where he could 
get a pair. 

" ' I have a fine pair, General,' replied Lee, ' but you cannot 
get them." 

'"Why not?' 

'"Because you will never pay more than half price for 
any thing ; and T must have full price for my horses.' 

"The bantering reply set Mrs. Washington laughing, and 
her parrot, perched beside her, joined in the laugh. The 
general took this familiar assault upon his dignity, in o-ood 
part. 'Ah, Lee, you are a funny fellow,' he said— 'see, that 
bird is laughing at you.' " 

Lee's oration on the death of Washington, though hastily 
prei)ared, was an admirable production : and in it he pro- 
nounced those renuirkable woi'ds of eulogy, so often quoted : 

a Ti- 


On that occasion, the McPherson's Blues, a military corps 
of Philadelphia, composed of three hundred young men, the 
elite of the city, performed the duties of a guard of honor. 
Only six of them, who were present on that occasion, now 
(August, 1859) survive, namely : Samuel Breck, aged eighty- 
eight ; S. Palmer, aged seventy-nine ; S. F. Smith, aged seventy- 


M O U X T V K R N N 

nine ; Charles N. Baneker, aged eighty-three ; Quintin Camp- 
bell, aged eighty-three, and John F. Wat- 
son, the annalist of Philadelphia and 
New York, aged eighty. 

President Adams transmitted the reso- 
lutions of Congress to Mrs. Washington, 
and in reply to their request eoncerning 
the remains of her husband, slie said : 

"Taught by the great example which 
I have so long had before me, never to 
oppose my private wishes to the public 
will, I must consent to the request made 
bv Congress, which you have the good- 
ness to transmit to me ; and m doing 
this, I need not, I cannot say, what a 
sacrifice of individual feeling I make to 
a sense of public duty." 

The remains of Washington have never 
been removed from his beloved Mount 
Yernon. It is well. They never should 
be. The Home and the Toivib of our 
illustrious Friend, should be inseparable; and the glowing words 
of LuNT should express the sentiment of every American :— 


" Ay, leave him alone to sleep forever, 

Till tbe strong archangel calls for the dead, 
By the verdant bank of that rushing river. 
Where first they pillowed his mighty head. 

" Lowly may be the turf that covers 
The gaered grave of his last repose; 
But, oh 1 there's a glory round it liovers, 

Broad as the daybreak, and briglit as its close. 


" Though marble pillars were reared above him, 
Temples aud obelisks, rich and rare — 
Better he dwells in the hearts that love him, 
Cold and lone as he slumbers there. 

"Why should j'e gather with choral numbers? 
Why should your thronging thousands come ? 
Who will dare to invade his slumbers, 

Or take him away from his narrow home? 

'' Well he sleeps in the majesty. 

Silent and stern, of awful death I 
And he who visits him there, should be 

Alone with God, and his own hushed breath. 

'• Revel and pomp would profane his ashes: 
And may never a sound be murmured there 
But the glorious river that by him dashes, 

And the pilgrim's voice in his heartfelt prayer." 

The death of her husband, so sudden and unexpected, 
weighed lieavily upon the mind and heart of Mrs. Washing- 
ton for a time, but her natural cheerfuhiess of disposition and 
habitual obedience to the will of God manifested in his dispen- 
sations, healed the wound and supported her burdened spirit. 
She received many letters and visits of condolence. The pres- 
ident of the United States and his wife (Mr. and Mrs. Adams) 
visited Mount Vernon for the purpose, and so also did many 
distinguished citizens. From every part of the land came 
testimonials of respect and veneration for the dead ; and from 
beyond ihe Atlantic she received gratify iug evidences of the 
profound esteem in which her beloved husband was held. On 
hearing of his death. Lord Bridport, who was in command of 
a British fleet of almost sixty sail, at Torbay, ordered every 
ship to lower her flag to half-mast ; and Bonaparte, then First 


Consul of France, announced his death to his army, and or- 
dered black crape to be suspended from all the flags and 
standards in the French service for ten days. 

The domestic establishment at Mount Yernon was kept up 
after the death of the General, upon the same liberal scale of 
hospitality that marked it during his lifetime ; and scores of 
pilgrims to the tomb of the Hero, Patriot and Sage, were 
entertained by the widow. But lier prediction at the death-bed 
of her husband — "1 shall soon follow him" — did not remain 
long unfultiUed. Two years and a half afterward, her body 
was laid in a leaden coffin by his side, in the vault. She died 
of a bilious fever, on the 22d of May, 1802 ; and tlie estate 
of Mount Vernon passed into the possession of the General's 
nephew, pursuant to the following clause in his will : 

" To my nephew, Bushrod Washington, and his heirs (partly 
in consideration of an iniimation made to his deceased father, 
while we were bachelors, and he had kindly undertaken to super- 
intend my estate during my military service in the former war 
between Great Britahi 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 bequeatli all that part 
thereof which is comprehended within the following limits: 
[here the boundaries are specified] containing upward of four 
thousand acres, bo the same more or less, together with the 
mansion house, and all other buildings and improvements 
thereon." lie also bequeathed to Bushrod his " library of 
books and pamphlets," and all of his papers. 

This principal lieir of Washington (who had no children) 
was a son of the Generars brother, George Augustine, and 
was at that time about f »rty years of age. Two years before 




Washington's decath, President Adams had appointed Bushrod 
to the office of Judge of the Supreme Court of tlie United 
States, and lie performed the duties of his exalted station with 
eminent ahility until his death, thirty-two years afterward. 

Judge Washington took possession of the Mount Vernon es- 
tate, immediately after the death of Mrs. Washington. Among 
the slaves that belonged to him, and who were taken to Mount 
Vernon at that time, only one is living. Although set free by 
the will of his master in 1829, he has never left the estate, 
but remains a resident there, where he is regarded as a patri- 
arch. I saw him when I last visited Mount Vernon, in the 
autumn of 1858, and received from his lips many interesting 
reminiscences of the place and its surroundings. 





Just at evening, when returning from a stroll to tlic ancient 
entrance to Mount Yernon, 1 found Westford (the name of the 
patriarch) engaged at the shop, near the conservatory, making 
a plough. He is a mulatto, verv intelligent and communica- 
tive ; and I enjoyed a pleasant and profitable half-hour's con- 
versation with him. He came to Mount Vernon in August, 
1802, and when I saw him he was in the seventy-second year 
of his age. 

Westford well knew Billy, Washington's favorite servant 
during the war for independence. Billy, with all of his fellow 


Slavics, was tnade free by his master's will ; and lie received a 
liberal pension and a residence for life at Mount Vernon. His 
means for luxurious living had a bad effect upon him, and 
Billy became a hoii-vivant. Delirium trentetu finally seized 
Lim, with its terrors. Occasionally Westford sometimes relieved 

. Lim of the paroxysms by bleeding. One morning, a little more 
than thirty years ago, he was sent for to bleed Billy. The 
blood would not flow. Billy was dead, and the last but one 
of Washington's favorite servants passed from earth forever. 
The other (a woman) died at Arlington House a few years 
ago, wliere I saw her one evening at family worship. 

I left Westford at his plough-making, with an engage- 

' ment to meet him the next morning before breakfast, for the 
])Urpose of delineating a pencil sketch of his features. I found 

^ liiin prepared, having on a black satin vest, a silk cravat, and 
his curly gray hair arranged in the best manner, " For," he 
said, " the artists make colored folks look bad enough any- 
how." When my sketch was finished, he wrote his name 

? under it with my pencil. 

While Judge Washington was living, Lafayette came to 
America as the guest of the nation, and after a lapse of fifty 
years, he again visited Mount Yernon, the home of his dear 
fi-iend. For more than twenty-five years the mortal remains 
of that friend had been lying in the tomb, yet the memory of love was as fresh in the heart of the marquis, as when, in 
jS^ovember, 1784, they parted, to see each other on earth no 

On that occasion Lafayette was presented with a most 
touching memorial of the man whom he delighted to call 
" father." The adopted son of that father, the late Mr. Custis. 


with many others, accompanied tlie marquis to the tomb of 
Washington, where the tears of the venerable Frenchman 
flowed freelj. While standing there, Mr. Custis, after a few 
appropriate remarks, presented to Lafayette a massive gold 
ring, containing a lock of Washington's hair. It was a most 
grateful gift ; and those who were present have spoken of the 
occurrence as one of the most interesting and touching they 
had ever experienced. 

Again there was a gathering before the tomb of Washington 
on an interesting occasion. Judge Washington was then no 
more. He died at Philadelphia in the autumn of 1829, at the 
age of seventy years, bequeathing his estate of Mount Yernon 
to his nephew, John Augustine Washington, a son of his 
brother Corbin. The latter was also lying in the family vault, 
having died in 1832 at the age of forty-three years, and his 
widow, Mrs. Jane Washington, was then mistress of the man- 
sion and estate. 

The occasion referred to, was the re-entombing of General 
Washington and his wife. This event occurred in Octobei* 
1837. Mr. John Struthers, of Philadelphia, generously oifered 
to present two marble coflins in which the remains of the patriot 
and his consort might be placed for preservation forever, for 
already the wooden coflins, which covered the leaden ones 
containing their ashes, had been three times renewed. Major 
Lewis, the last surviving executor of Washington's will, accepted 
the proposed donation, and the sarcophagi were wrought from 
solid blocks of Pennsylvania marble. The vestibule of the 
new vault was enlarged so as to permit the coflins to stand in 
dry air, instead of being placed in the damp vault ; and on 
Saturday the 7th of October 1837, Mr. William Strickland, of 


Philadelphia, acccompaiiied by a number of the Washington 
family, assisted in placing the remains of the illustrious dead 
in the receptacles where they have ever since lain undisturbed. 

The vault was first entered by Mr. Strickland, accompanied 
by Major Lewis, of whom he said : "Imagine a figure stately 
and erect, upward of six feet in height, with a keen, penetrat- 
ing eye, a high forehead partially covered with the silvery 
locks of seventy winters, intelligent and bland in expression, 
in movement graceful and dignified, and you will have the 
portraiture of the companion and friend of the immortal 
Washington." This was the favorite nephew who married 
Nelly Custis on the 22d of February, 1799. 

When the decayed wooden case was removed froin the lead- 
en coffin of Washington, the lid was perceived to be sunken 
and fractured. In the bottom of this case was found the silver 
shield which was placed upon that leaden lid when Washing- 
ton was first entombed. 

" At the request of Major Lewis," says Mr. Strickland, in 
his published account, "the fractured part of the lid was turned 
over on the lower part, exposing to view a head and breast 
of large dimensions, wliich appeared, by the dim light of the 
candles, to have suffered but little fi'om the eftects of time. 
The eye-sockets were large and dee]), and the breadth across 
the temples, together with the forehead, appeared, of unusual 
size. There was no appearance of grave-clothes ; the chest 
was broad, the color was dark, and had the appearance of 
dried flesh and skin adhering closely to the bones. We saw 
no hair, nor was there any offensive odor from the 'body ; but 
we observed, when the coffin had been i-emoved to the outside 
of the vault, the dripping down of a yellow liquid, which 


M U II N T V E U i\ O N 

stained the marble of the sarcophagus. A hand was laid 
upon the head and instantly removed ; the leaden lid was 
restored to its place ; the hody, raised by six men, was carried 
and laid in the marble coffin, and the ponderous cover being 
]uit on and set in cement, it M^as sealed from our sight. The 
relatives who were present, consisting of Major Lewis, Lorenzo 
Lewis, John Augustine Washington, George Washington, the 
Rev. Mr. Johnson and lady, and Mrs. Jane Washington, then 
retired to the mansion." 

The remains of Mrs. Washington being })laced in the other 
marble sarcophagus, they were both boxed, so as to prevent 
their being injured during the finishing of the vestibule in its 
present form. 


Mrs. Washington's coffin is perfectly plain. That of her 
husband has a sculptured lid, on which is 
represented the American shield suspended 
over the flag of the LTni(Mi. The latter is hung 
in festoons, and the whole group is surmount- 
ed with a spread-eagle as a crest. 

The new tomb, in design and structure, is 
offensive to good taste, and its appearance 
justifies the description of it l)y an English 
nobleman who said, " It is a glaring red 
building somewhat between a coach-house and 
a cage." It stands at the bottom of a steep 

LI n OF 

Washington's coffin 



Washington's tomb. 

hill, oil the ecl<j;e of a deep wooded glen that extends to the 
river, and throngli which flows a ehoked hrook. 

The spacions vault is built of l)rick, with an arclied roof. 
It is entirely overgrown with shrubbery, brauibles and vines, 
which gives it an antiquated appearance. Its iron door is 
entered from the spacious vestibule ; and over it, upon a stone 
panel, are the words : 


The vestibule is also built of brick, and is twelve feet in 
height. Tlie iron picketed gatcM'ay, through which the mar- 
ble sarcophagi may be seen, is flanked by two brick pilas- 


ters, surmounted by a stone coping, which covers a gothic 
arch. Over this arch is a white marble tablet inscribed — 


On the east side of the tomb, beneath marble monuments, 
lie the remains of Eleanor Farke Lewis and her daugliter, Mrs. 
M. E. Conrad. In front of the tomb are two stately obelisks 
of marble. One of them was erected in memory of Judge Bush- 
rod Washington, and the other of John Augustine Washing- 
ton, father of the last proprietor of Mount Yernon of the Wash- 
ington name. 

Very few articles of the pereonal property of General Wash- 
ington, except the library of books, remain at Mount Vernon. 
After Mrs. Washington's death, the devised personal property 
was distributed according to the directions of his will, and the 
remainder was sold. The purchasers consisted chiefly of mem- 
bers of the family, the grandchildren of Mrs. Washington 
taking nearly all of the family plate, and furniture. Many of 
these things have been described and delineated in these pages ; 
and many others have been scattered over the country, and 
since lost. 

While this very page was in preparation, I received from 
Mr. George Livermore, of Cambridge, an account of a most 
precious relic jf Washington's earlier life, which is now in 
possession of the venerable Josiah Quincy, of Boston. It is 
the silver gorget of General Washington, wdiich composed a 
part of his uniform while in the colonial service, and is seen 
suspended from his neck in Peale's portrait of him, painted in 
1772, and printed on page 82 of this book. 


" This precious relic," says Mr. Quincy in a letter to Mr. 
Livermore, " came to my possession under the following cir- 
cumstances : from 1805 to 1813, I was one of the representa- 
tives of the state of Massachusetts, in the Congress of the 
United States, from Suffolk District. During these years I 
had the happiness, with my wife, to form an acquaintance 
with Mrs. Martha Peter (formerly Custis), the wife of Thomas 
Peter, Esq., of Tudor Place, in the District of Columbia. 
There sprang up between both families — particularly between 
Mrs. Peter and my wife — a great intimacy, the result of mu- 
tual respect and also coincidence in political feeling and opin- 
ion, which, at that period, constituted a bond of great strength- 
She was a woman of great personal beauty, highly accom- 
plished, intellectual, elevated in spirit and sentiment, and 
worthy of the relation which she held of granddaughter tO' 
George Washington. 

" "When, in 1813, on resigning my seat in Congress, I called 
at Tudor Place to take leave, Mrs. Peter, after stating the inter- 
est she felt in me and Mrs. Quincy, asked my acceptance of 
the ' gorget of Washington, with the ribbon attached to it, 
which' she said ' she had received at the division of her 
grandfather's estate.' About that time, there had been form- 
ed in Boston a political association bearing the name of the 
Washington Benevolent Society, having for its object the sup- 
port of the views and principles of Washington, of which I 
was one of the vice-presidents ; and I immediately suggested 
the propriety, and asked her leave, to present in her name 
that precious relic to that society. She expressed her gratifi- 
cation at the suggestion, saying ' that she knew of no place 
where the principles of Washington had been more uniformly 


elierislied, or were likely to be more liiglily prized or pre- 
served longer, 'than in the town of Boston.' 

'• Accordingly, on ray return in April, 1813, I made* a for- 
mal statement of the above circumstances to the Washington 
Benevolent Society, and presented the gorget, in her name, to 
that society. The gift was gratefully and cordially received 
and acknowledged by a vote of the society, signed by Arnold 
Welles, president ; and William Sullivan, Josiali Quincy, 
Samuel Messinger, John C. Warren, and Benjamin Russell, 
vice-presidents. A record of the gift, of the vote of thanks, 
and of all the proceedings, was written upon parchment, and 
deposited in a box especially adapted for its preservation ; and 
an account of the doings of the society was officially trans- 
mitted to Mrs. Peter. 

" The irorget remained in that situation, under the care of 
the society, for five or six years, until its final dissolution, 
when, by a vote of the society, it w^as formally placed in my 
custody ; and I immediately wrote to Mrs. Peter a statement 
of the circumstances, offering to return the gorget to her. She 
was pleased to reply, that it was her wish that I should retain 
it in my possession, and make such disposition of it as I saw" 

When I last visited Mount Vernon, in the autumn of 1857, 
I saw" there a few articles, not already mentioned, that belonged 
to Washington. These were a liquor-chest, two mirrors, some 
tissue paper, one of his ordinary address cards, several dia- 
grams and memoranda from liis pen, and a number of en- 

The liquor-chest w^as in a closet adjoining the dining-room, 
and was used by the family when I was there. It is made of 



Washington's LiQron-CHKsr. 

mahogany ; and traditiou avers that it composed a part of 


Washington's l)aggage during the Revolution. It contains 
twelve larj^^e white glass flasks, thirteen inches in height. 



One of tlie mirrors, highly ornamented with ehiborate 

carvings, and bearing the arms of 
the Wasliington family, was in a 
small parlor adjoining the great 
drawing-room ; and the other, a 
plain one, also bearing the family 
arms, in gilt upon a deep blue 
ground, at the top, was in another 
parlor, adjoining the library. 

The tissue paper was made 
expressly for Washington's use. 
Each sheet bears his name and 
crest, and a rude figure of Liberty 
with the pileus and cap, forming 
the water-mark. The paper is quite coarse in texture com- 
pared with that manufactured at the present time. The 
engraving of the water-mark is half the size of the original. 



The address card was coarsely engraved on copper, and was 
used by Washington during the war. While he was Presi- 


dent, he had a neat invitation-to-dinner card engraved in writ- 
ino-. The original plate of the latter is in the possession of a 
gentleman in Philadelphia. 

Some of the diagrams from Washington's pen, alluded to, 
have been delineated upon other pages of this work. The en- 
gravings that belonged to him hang in the great passage and 
two adjoining parlors. These are, Andromache bewailing 
the Death of Hector ; The Death of Montgomery ; The Death 
of Warren ; two Hunting Scenes ; four Landscapes ; The De- 
fence of Gibraltar, four Views ; Descent from the Cross ; and a 
St. Agnes. These are all more or less injured by some tiny de- 
stroyers, that are daily making the high lights still stronger, so 
that all the pictures now appear snowy. If their destructive 
progress shall not be speedily arrested, those relics of the great 
Patriot's household ornaments will be lost forever. With 
characteristic modesty, Washington allowed no picture of 
scenes in which he was a participant to adorn the walls of 
Mount Yernon. Some line oil paintings and family portraits 
that were there have been distributed among relatives ; that 
of Lawrence Washington alone remains. 

Only one more object of interest at Mount Vernon remains 
to be noticed. It is a portrait of Washington taken from a 
common English earthenware pitcher, and is known as The 
Pitcher Portrait. It is in a deep gilt frame, and upon the 
back is an admirable eulogy of the great Patriot, in monumen- 
tal form. The history of this portrait and the eulogy was com- 
municated to me recently by the venerable artist, Rembrandt 
Peale, of Philadelphia, and is both curious and interesting. 

About the year 1804, the late John R, Smith, of Phila- 
delphia, son of the eminent Jonathan Bayard Smith, showed 



Mr. Peale a copy by Sharpless liimself, of that artist's crayon 
profile of Washington, made in 179G. On the back of it was a 
eulogy of Washington, written in monumental form in two 
colunms, by an English gentleman, Mr. Smith said, whose 
name he had forgotten, or never knew. He told Mr. Peale 
that the gentleman pasted it on the back of the portrait. 


It was at about that time that a crockery dealer in Pliila- 
delphia imported a number of earthenware pitchers from 
Liverpool, each bearing a portrait of AYashington from an 
engraving of Stuart's picture painted for the Marquis of Lans- 
downe, which Heath had badly engraved, and Xutter had 
better executed for Hunter's quarto edition of Lavater. Nut- 
ter's engraving was coarsely imitated in the one upon the 

Tiie i)itchers attracted the attention of Mr. Dorsey, a sugar 


refiner of Pliiladelphia, who had a taste lor art, and he pur- 
chased several of tlieni, as he considered the likeness of 
Washington a good one. Mr. Dorsej, after several unsuc- 
cessful attempts to separate the part bearing the portrait, from 
the rest of the pitcher, succeeded, by using the broad-faced 
hammer of a shoemaker, in breaking them cleanly out by a 
single blow, given directly upon the picture. 

One of these pictures broken out by Mr. Dorsey, was hand- 
somely framed by Mr. Smith, and sent to Judj^e Washington 
at Mount Veraon, with the eulogy on the back of the Sharp- 
less profile belonging to his father, copied by his own hand. 
That copy varies materially from the original, in some of its 
phraseology and in large omissions. This difference may be 
accounted for by the supposition that Mr. Smith had not room 
in the space on the back of the pictui-e to transcribe the whole 
of the original, and some parts were omitted and others 
changed. The Sharpless picture was much larger than the 
pitcher portrait, and there was more room on the back for the 

In the year 1819 or 1820, Mr. Smith gave Mr. Harrison 
Hall, the publisher of the Port Folio, a perfect transcript of 
what was, probably, the original eulogy, and to the courtesy 
of that gentleman I am indebted for the subjoined cojDy, 
which contains all the omissions in the one upon the back of 
the picture at Mount Vernon. Mr. Hall, and others of Mr. 
Smith's friends, have been under the impression that that ac- 
complished gentleman w^as tlie author of the eulogy, but the 
explicit statement of Mr. Peale and concurring circumstances 
appear to remove all doubt of the truth of the common tradi- 
tion in the Washington family, that it was written l)y an 


unknown English gentleman. The mutilated inscription, as it 
appears upon the back of the portrait at Mount Vernon, was 
published in Alden's Collection of Amepioan Epitaphs and 
Inscriptions^ as early as the year 1814. 

The following is a copy of the original on tlie back of the 
Sharpless profile given by Mr. Smith to Mr. Hall : 


The Defexder of his Country, 

The Founder of Liberty, 

The Friend of Man. 

History and Tradition are explored in vain 

For a Parallel to his Character. 

In the Annals of Modern Greatness, 

He stands alone. 

And the noblest Names of Antiquity 

Lose their Lustre in his Presence. 

Born the Benefactor of Mankind, 

He was signally endowed with all the Qualities 

Appropriate to his Illustrious Career. 

Nature made him Great, 

And, Heaven directed, 

He made himself Virtuous. 

Called by his Country to the Defence of her Soil 

And tlie vindication of her Liberties, 

He led to the Field 

Her Patriot Armies; 

And displaying in rapid and brilliant succession, 


The united Powers 
Of Consmmnate Frudenct 

Aud Heroic Valour, 

He triumphed in Arms 

Over the most powerful Nation 

Of Modern Europe ; 

His Sword giving Freedom to America, 

His Counsels breathing Peace to the world. 

After a short repose 

From the tumultuous Vicissitudrs 

Of a Sanguinary War, 

The astounding Energies of 


Were again destined to a New Course 

Of Glory and Uaefulness. 

Tlie Civic Wreath 

Was spontaneously placed 

By the Gratitude of the Nation, 

On the Brow of the Delivebek of his CouxriiY. 

He was twice solemnly invested 

With the Powers of Supreme Magistracy, 

By the Unanimous Voice of 

A Free People ; 

And in his Exalted and Arduous station, 

His Wisdom in the Cabinet 

Transcended the Glories of the Field. 

The Destinies of Washington 

Were now complete. 

Having passed the Meridian of a Devokd Life, 

Having founded on the Pillars 


354 MOUNT V E R X O N 

Of National Independence 

The Splendid Fabric 

Of a Great Republic, 

And having firmly estabUshed 

The Empire of the West, 

He solenmly deposited on tlie Altar of his Cuurdnj, 

His Laurels and liis Sword, 

And retired to the Shades 

Of Private Life. 

A Spectacle so New and so Sublime, 

"Was contemplated by Mankind 

With the Profuundest admiration; 

And the name of Washington, 

Adding new Lustre to Humanity, 

To the remotest regions of the Earth. 

Magnanimous in Youtfu, 
Glorious through Life, 

Great in Death, 

His highest Ambition 

The Happiness of Mankind, 

His noblest victory 

The Conquest oi Himself . 

Bequeathing to America 

The Inheritance of his Fame, 

And building his Monument 

In the Hearts of his Countrymen, 

He Lived, 

The Ornament of the 1 8th Centur}' ; 

He Died, 
Lamented by a Mourning World. 


One hundred and sixteen years ago, Mount Vernon received 
its name, and from tliat time until the present year (1859) 
it has been owned and occupied by a Washington. 

Lawrence Washington, as we have seen, named it in honor 
of his gallant friend, and from him it descended to his half- 
brother, George, who occupied it more than forty years. By 
him it was bequeathed to his nephew, Bushrod, who lived 
there twenty-seven years. It then passed into the possession 
of John Augustine Washington, a son of Bushrod's brother 
Corbin. He died three years afterward, leaving it to his 
widow. At her death, in 1855, it became the property of her 
son, John Augustine Washington, who resides there. 

For many years the Mount Vernon estate had been decay- 
ing. The ravages of time and the rust of neglect were rapidly 
destroying all that had received the care and culture of Gen- 
eral Washington's mind and hand ; and thoughtful and pa- 
triotic visitors often felt saddened when they saw the man- 
sion and its dependent buildings, and other visible memorials 
of the great and good Father of his Country, evidently per- 

Tlie sad thoughts of these visitors led to patriotic action, and 
for a long time there was a growing desire felt throughout the 
Union, to have Mount Vernon become the property of the 
nation. The young owner, unable to keep the estate in proper 
order, and greatly annoyed by thousands of visitors every year, 
many of whom took liberties about the house and grounds, in 
apparently utter forgetfulness that they were private property, 
expressed a willingness to sell it for such a purpose. Congress 
was asked to buy it. The application was unsuccessful. 

At length an American matron conceived the idea of ap- 


])ealing to her couiitrywomeii in behalf of Mount Vernon. 
She asked them to put forth their hands to the work of obtain- 
ing sufficient money to purchase it, that the Home and Tomb 
OF Washington might be a national possession forever. The 
idea was electric, and it was felt and responded to all over the 
laud. Her invalid daughter, strengthened by the thought of 
being instrumental in accomplishing the great work, took the 
direction of the enterprise. She printed a strong appeal to her 
countrywomen ; organized an association, and procured a char- 
ter of incorporation for it ; bargained for the purchase of the 
mansion and appendages, and two hundred surrounding acres 
of the Mount Vernon estate, for two hundred thousand dollars, 
and began in great earnestness the work of obtaining that 
amount of money, and as much more for the restoration and 
support of the estate. By common consent she was constitu- 
ted regent or chief manager, and she appointed vice-regents 
in every state in the Union as assistants. 

Meanwhile the cupidity of speculators was awakened. 
They perceived that great profits might be made by trans- 
forming the Home and Tomb of Washington into a public 
show. The proprietor had offered the property to the federal 
government, or the state of Virginia, for two hundred thou- 
sand dollars. Before American women proposed to purchase 
it, and while awaiting the action of Congress, these speculators 
offered him two hundred and fifty thousand dollars for it. He 
refused to sell it for such an unhallowed purpose at any pr-ice^ 
preferring to take much less from the United States or Vir- 
ginia ; or to keep it, and continue to suffer the inevitable an- 
noyances arising from the conduct of thoughtless or vicious 


The efforts of American women liave been successful. 
They have been cheered and aided by the best and wisest men 
of their country. Edward Everktt, one of our most saga- 
cixjus statesmen and accomplished scholars, devoted his tongue 
and pen to the work. He went from city to city like Peter 
the Hermit pleading for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre, de- 
livering an oration upon the character of Washington for the 
benefit of the fund ; and delighted crowds who listened to his 
eloquent words, contributed so freely, that in less than two 
years he paid into the treasury of the Ladies' Mount Vernon 
Association^ one quarter of the purchase money. The whole 
amount has been obtained, and now Mount Yernon is no long- 
er a private possession, but the property of the multitudes of 
men, women and children of the land, who have contributed 
in ever so slight a degree to its purchase. It is to be theirs 
and their posterity's forever. In a word, it belongs to the na- 
tion ; and wdiile these pages were in preparation, the work of 
renovation and restoration was commenced at Mount Yernon. 
Nothing now remains for the association to do, but to obtain a 
sum fully equal to that of the purchase money, for the com- 
plete restoration and future support of the estate, and a general 
supervision of its management. This, American women will 
speedily accomplish, for the heart of the nation beats in 
unison with their own. 

And wdien in a few years the mansion and its surrounding 
buildings shall be restored to the form and strength they bore 
when Washington left them — when the lawns, the gardens, the 
conservatory, shall all be revealed in their original beauty and 
perfection — when the same kinds of trees, planted with so 
much taste and care by Washington, shall again adorn the 


grounds, and his tomb shall be beautified by the hand of art, 
the visitor from whithersoever, will bless the noble and patri- 
otic American women by whose efforts all this transformation 
lias been accomplished ; especially will they remember with 
reverential affection. Miss Anna Pamela Cunningham, the 
regent, the invalid daughter of a " Southern matron," whose 
feeble hand but energetic spirit directed all. 

We have now considered some of the most interesting of the 
past associations of Mount Yernon, connected with the illus- 
trious man whose character has in a degree sanctified them all. 
But there are other associations that cluster around Washing- 
ton and his home, in the presence of which these material 
things sink into utter insignificance. They are of a moral 
nature, and belong not only to the Past but to all the Future. 

It is delightful to contemplate the character of Washington 
in its relation to the events in which he was immediately 
engaged, for it presents a most noble example ; but far more 
delightful and. profitable is it, to contemplate him with that 
broader vision which discerns his relation to all people and to 
all time — to regard him as the fulfilment of the heart-prophe- 
cies of earnest lovers of freedom in the past ; born, nurtured, 
developed, disciplined, and inspired, to lead a great people out 
of bondage, and to be forever a sublime model of a Patriot 
for the contemplation of generations yet to appear. We 
should become habituated thus to think of him, and learn 
to love the spirit whicli led him to the performance of great 
deeds, rather than the deeds themselves. 

Such contemplations of Washington are not incompatible 
with a sober reverence for material things with whicli he was 
intimately associated ; and especially should we cherish as 


precious memorial treasures, the Home that he k)vecl, and the 
Tomb wherein his remains repose. These may excite the 
mind to loftier views of the Pater Patriae, and inspire senti- 
ments such as filled the soul of the Rev. AVilliam Jay, of Eng- 
land, who, on seeing a picture of Mount Yernon, wrote im- 
promptu — 

"There dwelt the MAN the flower of human kind. 
Whose visage mild bespoke his noble mind. 
There dwelt the SOLDIER who his sword ne'er drew 
But in a righteous cause to freedom true. 
There dwelt the Htro, who ne'er fought for fame, 
Yet gained more glory than a Caesar's name. 
There dwelt the STATESMAN, who, devoid of art, 
Gave soundest counsels from an upright heart. 
And oh ! Columbia, by thy sons caressed, 
There dwelt THE FATHER of the realms lie blessed. 
Who no wish felt to make his mighty praise. 
Like other chiefs, the means himself to raise, 
But there, retiring, breathed in pure renown, 
And felt a grandeur that disdained a crov/u,'' 




Adams, John, description of tlie inaugnration of 280 

Adams, Mr. and Mrs., visit Mrs. Washington after tlie death of her husband 335 

Adams, President, nominates Washington to the Senate, as commander-in-chief 308 

Adams, Robert, watch that belonged to Wasliington willed to 206 

Adams, Vice-President, at Washington's table 209 

Address card of Washington •'''' 

Alexandria, Washington invited to partake of a public dinner at li'S 

Alison, remarks of, respecting Washington's Farewell Address '^T7 

Ameburg, J. F., glass manufacturer, visits Mount Vernon in 1 TS9 190 

" presents some specimens of his art to Washington 190 

Ancient entrance to Mount Vernon, picture of 196 

" present condition of '^ 

Appearance, personal, of Washington, when on horseback 6'5 

Arch, triumphal, at Trenton, in honor of Washington 199 

Arlington Spring, kitchen and dancing hall erected at, by Mr Oust is S.'iS 

Washington's tent at ^^^ 

Arms of the Washington fiiinily, picture of ^'^ 

Armstron" .lohn, letter of, to General Gates respecting Washington's reception in New York 

inl7b9 200 

Army, American, disbanded 

officers of part with Washington 1'^ 



Army, British, evacuates New York 
Army, Continental, adopted by Congr 

Washington made commander-in-chief of ^^^ 


Army, popular one formed 

•' its character _ 

Asses presented to Washington by the King of Spa n ^'^ 

" Mr. Custis's account of '" 

Akinson. Rev. A. B., wife of, has Washington's telescope ^^ 

"• Washington's butter-bowl in possession of 241 

Aurora, letter hostile to Washington published in, soon after his retirement from office 279 

Autographs of Jane and Mary Washington '" 


Bachelor, London orders of Washington when a ^'^ 

Baldwin. John Y., owner of Washington's pistols 22fi 

Ball at Annapolis, attended by Washington . ll'^ 

" Fredericksburg, attended by Washington ^'"^ 

362 INDEX. 


Ball, Colonel William, ancestor of Washington's iiiothoi- 19 

" arms of his family 19 

" Josoi)h, letter of to Washington's mother 81 

Baptism of Washington 19 

Barge, Washington's, returned to the giver 216 

Bartram, John, garden of, near Philadelpha 143 

'■ William, explorations of 143 

Bassett, Colonel, J. P. Custis dies at the house of 11-3 

Bastile, key of, presented to Washington 217 

Bastilc, sketch of 217 

" destruction of 220 

" site of 220 

" picture of destruction of 221 

" picture of key of 223 

Battle-sword of Wash'ngton preserved 120 

" where manufactured .... 120 

" with Franklin's staff .120 

Bed and bedstead on which Washington died kept as sacred mementos at ArlingUm House, 323 

" description of 323 

" picture of 323 

Belvoir, the seat of the Fairfaxes 29 

" mansion of the Fairfaxes consumed by fire 92 

" owner of never returned from England 92 

Bianca, Florida, the Spanish premier, letter of, to Washington 17(! 

Bible on which Washington took the oath of office in 1789 202 

" inscription on 202 

" picture of 202 

'■ in possession of St. John's Lodge, in New York 203 

Bier upon which the body of Washington was conveyed to the tomb 329 

Billy, one of Washington's favorite servants, known to Westford 338 

" death of, hastened by intemperate habits 339 

Birth of Washington 19 

Birth-place of Washington 20 

" present desolation of 21 

" picture of the inscribed stone that marks it 22 

Bishop, Washington's body-servant 63, 106 

Bishop White, at the farewell dinner given by Washington in Philadelphia n 1797 280 

Blues, McPherson's, picture of uniform of 334 

" six survivors of, in 1859 333 

Bonaparte, respect paid to the memory of Washington by 836 

Book-plate, Washington's, picture of. 13 

Boot-jack, Washington's travelling, picture of 195 

Boundary disjiutes between the French and English 38 

Box made of the wood of the oak tree that sheltered Wallace after the battle at Falkirk, sent 

to Washington by the Earl of Buchan 258 

Box sent to Washington by the Earl of Buchan recommitted to his care by the Will of the 

Genend 261 

Braddock, General 41 

" calls a council at Alexandria 42 

" invites Colonel Washington to his quarters 42 

" invites Washington to become his aide 43 

Bradford, Mr., impromptu effusion of, on learning the misfortunes of Lafayette 287 

Brevoort, J. Carson, owner of Pine's portrait of Washington 168 

Bridport, Lord, respect paid to the memory of Washington by 835 

Brienne, Marchioness de, sister of Count de Moustier, at Mount Vernon 184 

" painted a miniature of Washington 184 

" her picture of Washington and Lafayette 185 

Brown, Dr., called to attenil Washington in his last illness 319 

Burgesses, Virginia, Washington a member of, the House of 71 

INDEX. 363 


Buslirod Washington, nephew of the General, comes into possession of iMount Vernon, on 

the death of Mrs. Washington 386 

" appointed by President Adauis to be Judge of the Supreme Court of the United 

States 3 ;7 

" portrait of 337 

Butter-bowl, china, that belonfred to Washingtnn 212 

Button, military, belonging to Washington's coat SI 

Buttons stolen from military coat of Washington 81 


Calvert, Benedict, miniature &f daughter of, painted by Peale 84 

" daughter of, wife of John Parke Custis 84 - 

Camp-chest, leal hern, used by Washington in 1753, picture of 39 

Candelabra, mural, used in Washington's dining-room at Philadelphia, described 801 

'• picture of 301 

Candlesticks, Washington's, massive silver 308 

" picture of 303 

Capitol, singular historical foct respecting the site of the 256 

" corner-stonw of the north wing of, laid in September, 1793 257 

" plan for the, submitted by Dr. Thornton, approved by Washington 251 

Carey's House, at Alexandria, place where Braddock had his quarters 42 

" picture of 42 

Carpenter's Hall, place of meeting of the first Congress 90 

Carrington, Mrs., her description of Mrs. Washington at home 204 

Carroll, Charles, of Carrolltou 126 

'• son of, a suitor for the han<l of Nelly Custis 811 

'• letter of G. W. P. Custis to Washington, respecting sun of, as a suitor for the hand of 

Nelly Custis 311 

Carthagena, British soldiers perish at 27 

Casseday, Alexander, drawing by, of Washington's secretary 214 

Cave Castle, the seat of Washington's ancestors in England 15 

" picture of 15 

Century plant at Mount Vernon 144 

Chairs at Mount Vernon, pictures of 55 

" described by Washington 55 

Chamberlayne, Mr., the host of Washington when he first saw Mrs. Custis 48 

'• Colonel Washington lingers at the house of 4& 

Chastellu,x, Marquis de, at Mount Vernon in 1781 106 

" sketch of 108 

" portrait of 109 

" Washington's letter to 109 

Chatham, Earl of, his opinion of the Continental Congress 91 

Children, great fondness of Washington for 2t)0 

Chimney-piece presented to Washington by Samuel Vaughan, of London 171 

" picture of 172 

China, Sdvres, belonging to Wash mgton 2:i9 

China, Cincinnati, presented to Washington 2-39 

" picture of . . 240 

" M rs. Washington's 240 

" picture of Mrs. Washington's 241 

Christ Church, Alexandria, Washington a vestryman of 76 

" Washington's pew in 7(i 

" picture of 77 

Christmas at Mount Vernon in 1783 132 

Cmci?Mia/i china, picture of 241) 

Cincinnati. Society of the, account of the formation of 127 

" object of 128 

" constitution of 12S 

36-i INDEX. 


Cincinnati, Society, order of I'-'J 

" splendid order of, presented to Washingtou by Fri'Dcli soldiers . V.W 

" iiieiiilier"s certificate of l-^l 

" Washington president-general of the Society of the 132 

Knox secretary of the Society of the 132 

City Tavern, Pliiladelphia, Washington entertained at a suiiiptuous banquet at l'.)s 

Clarke, maker of Washington's coach '2.(5 

Clint(jn, George, Washington's letter to, on Peace 117 

" at Washington's inauguration in 17S9 20'2 

at the President's table 209 

Clothes, military, Washington lays aside his ... 119 

Coach, Washington's English 2:M 

" picture and description of 232 

" emblazoning upon 233 

" picture on panel of 284 

" Washington's letters about 235 

fate of 285 

" used by him on his journey from Phila<lelphia to Mount Vernon in 179! y.o3 

Coasters, wine, invented bj' Washington 2 9 

" their popularity 25(1 

" picture of 251 

Cochran, Dr. John, Washington's letter to 122 

Cofiee pot, Washington's silver ... 251 

Coffins, marble, remains of Washington a d his wife re-entombed in, in 1&37 340 

Coffin of Washington 32fi 

" inscription on plates on 826 

•Coffin, marble, of Washington, picture of - 34.? 

" sculptured lid of Wash ngton's, picture of 342 

Co]umn o{ July ia the Place de Bastile 2-20 

Commission as commander-in-chief resigned by Washington in 17S3 llS 

Commissioners of Maryland and Virginia, consult Washington in 1785 179 

Con/ederation, Articles q/, inefficiency of 178 

" movement toward the amendment of 178 

Congress, general, proposed by Dr. Franklin, meets at Philadelphia 86 

" assembling of delegates to 88 

•' opening of the session of 89 

" officers of 90 

" resolution adopted by 90 

" adjourned to meet in May, 1775. if necessary 92 

Congi'ess, Continental, action of 99 

" adopt an army 99 

" choose Washington commander-in-chief 99 

Congress, Federal, vote a bronze equestrian statue to Washington in 1783 157 

Congress, meeting of, .at Philadelphia 242 

" action of concerning seat of government 243 

" verses, respecting the removal of 244 

" effects of removal of 245 

" joint resolutions adopted by, on the occasion of the death of Washington 331 

Conogocheague 243, 244 

Conservatory at Mount Vernon destroyed by fire 14ti 

" ruins of 146 

Continental Congress, Washington a member of the 87 

Convention, federal, adopt a constitution for the United States 180 

" Washington a member of 180 

Correspondence of Washington, extensive, in 1792 257 

Cornwallis, Earl, joy caused by surrender of 113 

Costume and manners of Washington while president 211 

Craik, Dr. .laine.s, attends John P.arke Custis 113 

" at Mount Vernon 93 

INDEX. 365 


Cniik. Dr. James, mentioned in Washinston's will.. . . •^\i 

called to attend Washington in his last illness 319 

" portrait of 31b 

'• short biographical sketch of 3i3 

Craik, Eev. James, owns the secretary that belonged to Washington 214 

Crayon profile of Washington . •■■ 29fi 

" of Mrs. Washington 297 

Crest of Washington engraved upon his fanuly plate 251 

Cunningham, Miss Anna Pamela, regent of Mount Vernon 35S 

Cushing, wife of Judge, extract from a letter of describing her visit at Mount Vernon in 

February, 1799 309 

Custis, Daniel Parke, Mrs. Washington's first husband . . . 49 

portrait of 50 

Custis, Eleanor Parke,, marriage of with Lawrence Lewis 114 

" portrait of 1 H 

Custis, Elizabeth Parke, description of the portrait of 107 

portrait of Ifi8 

Custis, G. W. P, places an inscribed stone on Wa^hmgton's brth-place 22 

" his RecuUei-iioim of WattliingUin 4T. 

" description by, of Washington on his farm 6& 

portrait of, when a child IfiS 

" portrait of, at the age of seventeen years 294 

" and G W. Lafayette, perso; al friendship between, in youth 295 

letter of, to Washington, respecting the son of Lharles Carroll of tamdlton, as a 

suitor for the hand of Nelly Custis 311 

" massive gold ring presented to Lafayette by, at the tomb of Washington 340 

Cnsti.s, John Parke, articles ordered from London for 59 

" arms of family of 60 

" portrait of, painted by Peale b4 

" portrait of wife of, painted by Peale SI 

at Mount Vernon 104 

Washington's letter to, during his stay at Mount Vernon 104 

children of, at Mount Vernon Ill 

aide-de-camp of Washington 112 

doathof 1)3 

two children of. adopted by Washington 113 

Ciisti.s Mrs. Martha, .aflianced to Colonel Washington 49 

her fortune 49 

her iron chest 50 

articles for, ordered from London by Washington 56 

Ctisti.s, Martha, daughter of Mrs. Washington, her sickness and death 83 

grief of Washington at the death of 86 

Custis, Master and Miss, London orders of Washington for . . 60 

" acooinpany'Mrs. Washington to New York 208 

Custis, Nelly, a son of Charles Carroll of Carrollton a suitor for the hand of 31 1 

Lawrence Lewis a suitor for the hand of ..311 

" interesting anecdote of, told by Mr. Irving. 312 

and Lawr. nee Lewis married on Washington's birthday. 1799 .... 313 


Daggett, Dr., president of Yale College 181 

Dandridge, Mr., private secretary of Washington in 1793 274' 

Davis, Rev. Thomas, books presented to him by Washington un the occas on of his officiat- 
ing at the marsiage of Nelly Cu.stis .314' 

Death-bed of Washington, resignation of Mrs. Wash ngton exhibited at 322 

\\\\y no clergyman was present at - 322 

Death-chamber of Washington, thoughts suggested to the author by a visit to 32S- 

Dfath of George A. Washington, nephew of the General '.14 

366 INDEX. 


Death of Washington, system of management, written by the General, conijileted only four 

days before 315 

" health and vigor of Wa^h ngton only a few days before 315 

" detaded aeeount of the illness preceding ;316-8'il 

" announced to ongress by Hon. John Marshall of Virginia 331 

Dolauiiay, governor of the Bastile 219 

D'Kstaing presents a bust of Ai. Keeker to Washington 227 

fiite of 22S 

'• kttersof - 2i9 

" Destiny of Washington," an allegorical painting IbS 

" picture of 186 

" description of l&'j 

" history of l'^*^ 

Diary, Wash ngton's, kejit in the blank leaves of the Virginia Ahmmnc GG 

" headings of pages in fi*> 

" fac-siiinle of entry in G> 

" extract from, concerning furniture 213. 214 

" note made in it on the 11th of December, 1 799 Slfi 

Dick, Dr., consulted by Dr. Cra k on the occasion of Washington's last illness 319 

Dinner, at the table of Washington the artist Kobertson's description of 259 

Dinner, farewell, of Washington, at Philadelphia, m 1797 280 

Dinner, Washington sits down to, without changing his damn clothes, December 1-.', 1799. 316 

Dinwiddle, Governor, sends Washington to Ohio 39 

Dress of Washington at his second inauguration minutely described 271 

Dress-sword of Washington, picture of 2 1 1 

Dry-well at Mount Vernon 147 

Duer, President, on the an.xiety of citizens to see Washington on his retirement from uttice, 281 

Dnnlap, William, paints Washington's portrait 158 

Dunmore, unsuccessful attempt of, to desolate .Mount Vernon 105 

Dunn, Washington's coachman 234 

Dutch tile in Washington's birth-place, picture of 20 

Earl of Buchan, letter of, accompanying the oaken box sent by him to Washington 258 

Elizabethtown Point, Washington met at, by a committee of Congress 20i) 

Elkanah Watson, anecdote of his, respecting his vis t at Mount Vernon 304 

Ellenborough, Lord, nephew of, marries the granddaughter of Mrs. Washington 110 

Emblazoning on Washington's coach, 283 

English traders driven away from the Ohio by the French 39 

Etiquette, doubts of Washington in relation lo 2i 5 

Eulogy of Washington written on the back of the Pitcher J'oi trait 350 

Eulogy of Washington, written on the back of the Shaipless i)n)flle o52-3o4 

Evans, Mrs. Eliza, daughter of General Anthony Walton White f'6 

Evening — a landscape, by Winstanley 305 

Everett, Edward, large sum paid by, into the treasury of the LtuUes Mount Vernan Asko- 

ciatioii 35( 


Fairfax, Ann6, wife of Lawrence Washington 28 

Fairfax, Bryan, at Mount Vernon with Major Gates ! 8 

Fairfax, General, leader of the Parliamentary forces 14 

Fairfax, Lord "^ 

" large d(>main of, in Virginia . 30 

" death of, at Greenway I'ourt, in nt2 30 

Fairfax, Sir William 29 

" a soldierin the Indies ■■ 31 

" narratives of, influence young Washington 31 

INDEX 367 


Fairfax, Washington a vestryman of the parish of 72 

Family dinner at W;i*liington"s house in New Yorlc ' • 209 

Family plate of Washington made over again in New York, and additions made to, in 1TS9 . 251 

" several pieces of, now in nse at Arlington House 251 

Farowell Address of Washington, prepared by Washington at Mount Vernon 276 

" profound sensation caused by its publication 27T 

" said by Alison to be unequalled as an uninspired compos tion 277 

Farewell dinner of Washington at Philadelphia, in 1797 280 

Federal city, Major L'Enfant employed to make a plan and survey of 256 

" named by the commissioners without Washington's knowledge 257 

" point of land selected by Washington for the 256 

" singular historical fact respecting the site of the 236 

" Washington meets commissioners to lay out 256 

Federal Convention, Washington president of 180 

Fenci ng, Washington takes lessons in, from Van Braam 36 

Field, an English painter, takes a button from Washington's coat 81 

" anecdote of °2 

" becomes a bishop in Canada •• 83 

First President of the United States, Washington elected 189 

Flag, British, captured at Yorktown, presented to Washington, picture of 104 

Flag Hessian, presented to Washington 102 

" picture and description of 103 

Flower-garden at Mount Vernon, plants in H3 

Fort du Quesne taken possession of by Colonel Washington 46 

France, hostile attitude of, in 1793 306 

" preparations made for war with, in 1798 307 

•' pacific relations with, on the overthrow of the Directory by Napoleon Bonaparte. . 310 
" unanimity of nulitary leaders in looking to Washington in the impending war with, 307 

Franklin, Dr., to superintend making of statue of Washington 158 

Franklin's staff willed to Washington 120 

Fraunces' Tavern, at New York. Washington parted with his officers at 117 

Frederick the Great, his praise of Washington 102 

Fredericksburg, Washington visits his mother at in 1781 115 

Freemasons at the funeral of Washington 327, 329 

French Directory, insolent attitude of, toward the United States 307 

French dominion ceases south of Lake Erie, on Washington's taking Fort du Quesne 47 

French minister, furniture of, purchased by Washington 214 

French officers' admiration of Washington's mother 115 

Frestel, M.. tutor of young Lafayette, favorable mention of, by Washington. ..• 293 

Funeral of Washington, detailed account of 326-329 

" minute guns fired from schooner of Mr. Kobert Hamilton, during 827 

Funeral procession of Washington, gentlemen who made the arrangements for 327 

" composition and order of 328 


Galveston. Spanish ship-of-war, salutes Washington 200 

Garden-house at Mount Vernon, picture of 143 

Gardens at Mount Vernon 142 

Gardoqui, Don Diego, at Washington's table 208 

Gates, Major Iloratu), at Mount Vernon 93 

'• sketch of portrait of 9" 

" Avith Bryan Fairfax, at Mount Vernon 98 

Germantown, Washington proposes to call I'ongress together at, in consequence of the pres- 
ence of yellow fever in Philadelphia 273 

family of Washington at, in the summer of 1794 274 

Giles, Tommy, notice of 246,247 

Gist, agent of English Ohio <"ompany, questioned by an Indian 38 

Glass-ware, first manufactured in the United States •• 190 

" Washington's letter to Jetferson respecting 191 

3t)8 INDEX. 


Gloucester, Duke of, speaks of the Americans in presence of Lafayette 149 

Goblets, silver, belonging to Washington V^S 

'" picture of one 124 

Gold medal decreed to Washington by Congress for the recovery of Boston 101 

picture of 10'2 

Gorget, silver, worn by Washington, while in the colonial service, history of, by Mr. Quincy 84.^ 

(Jrahani. Mrs. Macaulay, modest allusion of Washington to the visit of, in 1785 314 

(iray's Ferry, Washington's reception at 198 

Greene, General, Washington dines with the widow of, in 1791 256 

Greene, Rev. Ashbel, particular description by, of W.ashington's hab ts at table 28-3 

Greenway Court 80 

Greenwood, Isaac I., owner of Washington's pistols 226 

Gunston Ilall, the seat of George Mason 71 


Hale, Sir Matthew, his "Contemplations Moral and r)i\ine," read by Washington's mother, 17 

Hallam, Lewis, at the head of a company of players 01 

Hannlton, Alexander, letter of, to Washington, on peace 116 

" proposes a convention of states to amend the Ariieles of CorifeOerulioii 17g 

" urges Washington to accept office a second term 269 

" appointed first major-^ieneral of the Provisional Army S09 

Hamilton, Mr. Kobert, tires minute guns from his schooner during the fum -ral of Wushington 327 

Harpsichord presented to Nelly Custis by Washington 267 

" now at Arlington House 268 

Harrison, Benjamin, goes with Washington to the Congress in IT"."' 99 

" governor of Virginia, letter of, respecting the statue of Washington 161 

Hay, Colonel Samuel, pistols presented to, by Washington 2i(i 

Hen ry Lee, General, i)ortrait of 332 

Henry, Patrick, speech of, in Virgin a Assembly 71 

" at Mount Vernon, on his way to the first Congress 88 

'■ portrait of 89 

" business of Congress opened by 90 

Head-quarters. Washington's first 40 

" picture of 41 

Home of Washington, as it was in 1759 ..• 53 

Home and tomb of Washington to be ever cherished as memorial trc;isures 3.59 

Hopkinson, Francis, portrait of, painted by Pine 1(,C 

" letter of Washington to, in relation to his sitting to Pine for his portrait 166 

Hospitalities, Washington's, reasons for declining, on his Southern tour in ITiH 254 

Houdon, the sculptor, engaged to make a statue of Washington 161 

" his bust of Washington 162 

" letter of Washington to 162 

Houdon's bust of W.ashington, pieture of -16;} 

Hounds, French, presented to Washington by Lafayette 169 

'• anecdote of one of them 170 

Humphreys, Colonel, accompanies Washington to Mount Vernon in ITbl 106 

" resident guest at Mount Vtrnon 181 

" portrait of 1S| 

" brings pictures from K'ng Louis to Washington 182 

" writes his Life of Putnam at Mount Vernon 182 

Hunting establishment at Mount Vernon broken up 170 


Ice-house at Mount Vernon, picture of 147 

Inauguration of John Adams 281 

Inauguration of Washington, as first president of the United States . 201 

" less parade at the second than at the first 270 

" pleasant picture of the second 270 

Inkstand of Washington, description of 299 

'• picture of 300 

INDEX. 369 


laokson. Major, accompanies Washington to Mount Vernon and on his Suutliern tour, in 1791. 253 

Jane and Mary Washington, autographs of 18 

Jay, John, letter of Washington to, m 17S6 179 

'• anxiety of Washington respecting the treaty made by 275 

Jay, Ke V. William, impromptu lines of, on seeing a picture of Mount Vernon 359 

Jefferson, Thomas, letter of, respecting Iloudon 161 

" letter of, respecting bust of Lafayette 229 


Key of the Bastile, letter of Washington to Lafayette respecting the 223 

Ki Ichen and danciitg-hall erected by Mr. Custis at Arlington Spring 253 

Knox, General, Washington's letter to, respecting his going into office 191 

" at Washington's inauguration 202 

" letter of Washington to, two days before his retirement to private life 27S, 283 

" appointed third major-general of the Provisional Army 309 


jAidies' Mount Vernon Association ithe present owners of Mount Vernon 357 

Lafayette, Marquis de, visit of, at Mount Vernon in 1784 149 

arrival of at JSfew York, in 1784 l^O 

" Washington's intuitive perception of his character on his first arrival 150 

letter of, to Washington at New York 151 . 

portrait of 152 

" commander of National Guard in France 219 

" sends key of Bastile to Thomas Paine, to be sent by him to Washington 220 

•' letter of, to Washington, presenting key of the Baslile . 222 

bust of, at Mount Vernon 229 

picture of bust of 23" 

•■ ceremony at the presentation of the bust of, to the e ty of Paris 231 

anxiety of Washington respecting the misfortunes of 285 

a prisoner in a dungeon at Olmutz for three years 289 

wife and daughters of, share his prison at Olmutz 289 

letter of Washington to, respecting his son 292 

" nuissive gold ring presented to, by Mr. Custis, at the tomb of Wash ngton 340 

Lafayette, George Washington, accompanies Washington to ..oiuit N'crnon. on his retire- 
ment from office in 1797 285 

portrait of 286 

arrives at Boston from France in 1795 289 

'• parental feelings of Washington toward 289 

" reasonsofstategovern Washington's mannorof receiving, on his arrival from France, 289 

•' letter of Edward Livingston to 291 

" resolution of Congress respecting 291 

" return of to Prance, in 1797 292 

letter of to G. W. P. Custis, in 1825 295 

Lafayette, Madame, letter of Washington to 134 

" her admiration of Washington 152 

" sends Masonic apron to Washington • 153 

" picture of Masonic apron sent by, to Washington 153 

"Lament of Washington," pnem from the pen of Attorney-General Bradford, respecting the 

misfortunes of Lafayette 287' 

Langdon, John, president of the United States senate pro tempore 192 

informs Washington by letter of his elevation to the presidency • 192 

Lantern, ancient iron, eighty years at Mount Vernon, now at Arlington House 302 

" ' picture of 301 

La Salle, commander-in-chief of the militia of Paris 218- 

I,ast illness of Washington, detailed account of 816-321 

Last words of Washington 321 

Lawrence Washington, goes to Barbadoes for his health 37 


870 INDEX. 


Lawrence Washington, accompanied to Barbailoes by bis brother George 37 

" his return home from IJarbadocs, and death 37 

Lear, Tobias, becomes a resident at Mount Vernon 177 

" his stay there remembered in Washington's will 177 

" letters of Washington to, relating to his coach 285 

" lettei's of Washinston to, relating to his house and furniture in Philadelphia. . .236- 239 

" residing in the family of Washington at the time of his last illness . . 316 

Lee, General Charles, at Mount Vernon . 98 

" portrait of 94 

Lee, Kichurd Henry, letter of, to Washington, when a child 23 

" the first to congratulate Washington after his taking the oath of office 202 

" his opinion of The Jiiyhts of Man by Thomas Paine 262 

" letter of Washington to, respecting a newly-invented threshing-machine 273 

" invited to pronounce an oration on the occasion of Washington's funi-ral 832 

"• anecdote of, showing his familiarity Avith Washington 333 

Lee, Mrs. Kobert E., the great-granddaughter of Mrs. Washington 85 

Lemon-tree at Mount Vernon 144 

L'Enfant Major, employed to furnish a plan and survey of the federal city 256 

" his plans of the federal city approved of by Congress . 257 

Lepine, watches made by, purchased by Washington 2(l6 

Levees, Washington's 211 

Lewis, George, inherits a sword from Washington ... 219 

Lewis, Lawrence, a suitor for the hand of Nelly Custis 311 

" invited to take up his residence at Mount Vernon in 1798 ?I0 

" and Nelly Custis married on Washington's birthday, 1799 313 

Lewis, Major, re-entombs remains of Washington and his wife in marble sarcopliag , 'n 1S.37. 840 

Lewis, liobert, instructed by Washington in the management of his estate 257 

Lexington, effects of the news of the battle of, at Mount Vernon 9S 

Liquor-chest that belonged to Washington, remaining at Mount Vernon in 1 ^57 SIC 

" picture of .■?47 

Livormore, Mr. George, h s account of asilver gorget, a rel e of AVash ngton's earlier life. . . . 844 

Livingston, Chancellor, administers the oath of office to AVashington in 1789 201 

Livingston Edward, letter of, to George Washington Lafayette 291 

Livingston, Governor, entertains Mrs. Washington -.09 

Livingston, Itobert E., secretary for foreign affairs I Ifi 

" letterof, to Washington, communicating the news of tlie conclusion of peace, in 1783. 1 16 

London C'troiiicie, sketch of Washington in Ill 

Louis XVI. sends an engraving of himself to Washington 1^2 

Lunt, his lines on the burial-place of Washington ,, 334 


McCombs. house of, occup ed by Washington 214 

Macubbin, Mrs , opens a ball at Annapolis with Washington 1.18 

McHenrj-, Mr. letter of Washington to, from Mount Vernon, after his retirement 298 

" letter of Washington to, respecting the antic pated troubles with France 308 

" an.xiety of Washington expressed to, that his affairs might be found in order after 

hsdeath 315 

"McKean, Sally, becomes the wife of the Marquis d'Trugo 276 

Mcl'hrrson's Blues, six survvors of. in 1859 383 

" [licture of uniform of 334 

Madison, James, wr tes an inscription for the statue of Washington . .. ICO 

" at Mount Vernon with Houdon, the French sculptor 163 

Mansion near the Potomac, the home of the Washington family 18 

Mansion, the presidential, at Philadelphia, jiicture of 253 

Manuscrii)t iiiemorandum of Washington 149 

Marble coffin of Washington, picture of . . . . 842 

Marquee and Tent of Washinsrlon 124, 125 

" p cture of portmanteaux contain ng 126 

Marr ages of foreign envoys with American women, numerous 2T6 

Marshall, lion John, announces the death of Washington to Congress 331 

INDEX. S'^1 


Mason, George, Washington's neighbor and friend ^J 

Masonic apron presented to Washington by Madame Lafayette | w 

'' picture of. • • _ 

Massey, Bev. Lee, minister of Pohick Church 

Maiirepas, Count, remarli of, in relation to Lafayette 

Meade, Bishop, notice of MASon L. Weems, by 

letter of, in relation to Washington's English coach ^^^ 

Mercer, Dr. Hugh, at Mount Vernon 

Mifflin, Governor, meets Washington on the frontiers of Pennsylvania «»^ 

Military clothes of Washington, picture of ^^^ 

Miniature of Washington, by Mrs. Sharpless ■■■ 

Miniature portrait of Mrs. Washington, painted by R.)bertson in 1 .92 ^ou 

Mirror of Washington still at Mount Vernon 

jj • .t • f 

Monuments'' ."i^'te^verai ■members of the' Washington family on the east side of the tomb of __^ 

the General • ' ' ' ■^; ' ' ' ' ", '. 

"Morning" and '• Evening"-landscapes painted for Washington, by W.nstanley, now at ^^^ 

Arlington House 

Morris, George P., h:s ode on Washington's sword and Franklin's staft i^' 

Morris, Gouverneur, stands to Houdon for the figure of Washingt.m ibo 

" sends wine-coolers to Washington 

Morris, Mrs., accompanies Mrs. Washington to New York 

Morris, Robert, builds a studio for Pine the portr.ait painter »» 

" house of, in Philadelphia, rented for Washington's residence -s^" 

Mon-is, Roger, marries Mary Phillipse 

" picture of his residence. 

" proscribed, as an "enemy to his country" 

Mortar, bronze, that belonged to Cimon Washington in 1664, picture of ih 

Mossom, Rev. David, unites Washington and Mrs. Custis in marriage &l 

Mother of Wa.shington, visited by him for the last time . 

" "■ in HMD 


MotieT, a family name of Lafayette .assumed by liis son in 1795 290 

Motto of the Washington family .... 

Mount Vernon, the mansion at, built by Lawrence Washington 

style of living at, before the Revolution ° 

" picture of present landing at 

" changes in and around 

little children at 

" sorrow at, in 1781 ^.g 

" mansion at, and its surroundings described ■ ■ • 

- mansion and other buildings at, found by the much in want of repair, after ^^ 

his eight years' absenee 

hospitalities at, continued after the death of the General • • <5*5o 

" passes into the possession of Bushrod W.ashington, nephew of the General, on the ^^^ 

death of Mrs. Washington ' 

" becomes the property of John Augustine Washington in lS-9 ^4' 

Mrs. Jane Washinjiton mistress of, in 1832 _ 

few art.cles of the personal property of Washington remaining at ^ 

articles that belonged to Washington, remaining at, in 1837 346 

" engravings that belonged to Washington still remaining at 

" successive owners of, for one hundred and sixteen years 

" inconsiderate conduct of visitors at 

" for many years falling into decay 

proposition to make it a national possession ^^" 

high price otfcred by speculators for, rejected ^^ 

" t\Zi>rui)evty of the Ladies' Mount Venu>nA'\si>ciation 3o7 

" the work of renovation and restorati<m commenced at 857 

" moral associ.ations connected with the name 

Moustier, Count de, French minister, at Mount Vernon 

Mural candelabrti, used in Washington's dining-room at Philadelphia, picture of oUl 



372 INDEX. 


Nocker, M., dismissed from his post as minister of finance, in France 219 

" bust of, presented to Washington 227 

" inscriptions on bust of, presented to Washington 228 

" picture of bust of Necker, presented to Washington 229 

Newport, Rhode Island, Washington makes a voyage to, for the beneflt of his health 214 

North, Lord, emotions of, on hearing of the defeat of Cornwallis 1 1 •"> 


Oath of office administered to Washington in 1793, by Judge Gushing 269 

Occoquan Falls, mills at, destroyed by Lord Dunmore 105 

Ode to Washingtou sung at Trenton 199 

Ogden, Charles S., original study of Peale's first portrait of Washington, in possession of 68 

Olmutz, dungeon at, the prison of Lafayette for three years . 289 

Oraion pronounced by General Henry Lee, on the occasion of the funeral of Washington . 332 
Otis, Mr., holds the Bible at Washington's inauguration .201 


Packsaddle used by Washington on his expedition to the Ohio country in 1753, picture of . . 39 

I'aine, Thomas, letter of to Washington respecting the key of the Basiile 222 

" letter of to Washington respecting the success of " 77(« i2«(;/t^<( (7/"J/«w," 262 

" Washington shamefully abused by, in a published letter 2fi3 

Patrick Henry's opinion of Washington 91 

Patrick Henry, Washington heai-d the burning words of, in the Virginia Assembly 97 

Peace, desire for in England 110 

" Washington's letter to Clinton on the subject of 1 1(1 

Peale, Angelica, crowns Washington at Gray's Ferry in 1789 19.S 

Peale, Charles Willson, beginning of artist life of 80 

paints Washington at Mount Vernon in 1772 80 

" portrait of 81 

fac-simile of his receipt for ten guineas for painting miniature of Mrs. Washington, 83 

" ordered by Gov Harrison to paint a portrait of Washington to make a statue from, 161 

" emblematic paintings by, on the occasion of Washington's retirement from office. . 2S2 

Peale, Rembrandt, his history of the Pitcher Portrait and the euh>gy on the back of it .... 319 

Pendleton, Edmund, at Mount Vernon on his way to the first Congress 88 

Peters, Judge, meets Washington on the frontiers of Pennsylvania 197 

Philadelphia the federal city for ten years 244 

Phillipse, Mary, Washington in love with 45 

" marries Roger Morris 45 

" portrait of 5 

Pinckney, Gov. Charles Cotesworth, receives Washington at the wharf in Charleston, in 1791, 255 

" reply of, to the insulting proposition of the French Directory 307 

appointed second major-general of the Provisional Army 309 

Pine, Robert Edge, an English painter, at Mount Vernon 165 

" his portrait of Washington in Montreal. .. . 168 

Pistols, Washington's, desci-iption and picture of . 226 

Pitcher Portrait, and eulogy of Washington on the back of it 349-354 

Plan of the grounds at Mount Vernon 141, 142 

Plaster cast taken of the face of Washington . 15S 

Plate, Washington's, picture of pieces of, at Arlington House 252 

Pohick Church, Washington attends 73 

" rebuilding of, 7.3 

•' Washington's drawing of 73 

" author's visit to 77 

picture of 78 

" present condition of 79 

" picture of pulpit "9 

Precedents established for the President of the United Slates 205 

Presence of Washington, remarkable sense of awe caused bv 2T1 


INDEX. '373 


I'resideHtial mansion at I'hiladeli)hia, picture of 253 

Profile portrait of Washington 29.i 

Profile portrait of Mrs. Washington 297 

Protestant Episcopal Church, burial service of Washington according to the r.tual of 327 

Provisional Army, Washington ai>pointed commander-in-chief of, in view of the impending 

war with France 308 

" major-generals and other officers appointed by Washington 309 

Punch-bowl, tea-table, and sideboard, picture of 303 

Putnam, Life of, written at Mount Vernon by Humphreys 182 


Handolph, Peyton, chosen president of first Congress 00 

Kanney, letter of Washington to, in relation to his sending flag-stones, &e., from Kngland. . . 139 
Rawlins, Mr., one of Washington's overseers, sent for to bleed Washington in his last llness, 31S 

Heading of Washington at his second inauguration 272 

Iteceptions of Mrs. Washington 210 

Receptions of Washington at New York and at Philadelphia 211, 212 

Recollections and Private Memoirs <f Washington, interesting corres|iondence of Wash- 
ington to be found in 312 

Remains of Washington, account of the re-entorabment of, in 1S37 340-313 

Resolution, i mportant, passed by the first Congress 90 

Retirement from office of Washington, extract from a newspaper of the day, describing a 

public entertainment on the occasion of 2S2 

Revolution, flames of, kindling, in 1778 86 

Revolution, involuntary tribute by ladies to the memory of •J>2 

Revolution, French, breaking out of .. . 218 

Ripon, Earl of, present owner of the English seat of the Washington family Iti 

Rochambeau, Count de, at Mount Vernon in HSl 106 

portrait of 107 

l^oom in which Washington died, i)icture of. 324 

Roosevelt, Mr., funeral of the wife of 205 

Rush, Dr., remarks of, in relation to the seat of government 243 

Rush, the late venerable Richard, incident related by, illustrating the feelings of Washington 

toward Lafayette in misfortune 267 


Sago palm at Mount Vernon 145 

St. John's Lodge, in New York, in possession of the Bible used at Washington's inauguration, 203 

Sarcophagi of Washington and his wife, description of 342 

Seal, impression of Washington's, attached to a death-warrant 17 

Seal, impression of Washington's last watch, picture of 207 

Seal-ring, picture of Washington's IT 

Seal.s, Washington's watch, lost on Braddock's field and in Virginia, and afterward found... . 17 

•' pictures of 17 

Secretary, Washington's, willed to Dr. Craik 214 

picture of 215 

Sharpless, James, his profile portraits of Washington and Jlrs. Washington said to be the bp'rt 

likenesses extant 295 

Sharpless, Mrs., beautiful miniature of Washington by 290 

Shield, silver, on Washington's coffin, picture of 327 

Sideboard, black walnut, that belonged to Lawrence Washington, now at Arlington House. 302 

Silver candlestick, Washington's, picture of 303 

Silver inkstand of Washington, description of 299 

Sotoniayer, Duke of, a native of Philadelphia 276 

Southern States, tour of Washington through, in 1791 254 

Spaniards, depredations of, on British commerce in the West Indies 25 

Spy glass, Washington's anecdote in connection with 224 

picture of 224 

374 INDEX. 

I a<;e 

statuary, orders of Washington for, from London 58 

Statue, bronze, of Washington, ordered hy Congress 157 

'■ to be made by the best sculptor in Europe 158 

Statue of Washington, ordered by the legislature of Virginia 159 

Steuben, Baron, at Washington's inauguration 202 

Stockton, Annis, assistance of, in honoring Washington at Trenton 199 

Strickland, Mr., his description of the personal apjiearance of Major Lewis In 1837 S41 

Struthers, Mr. John, marble sarcophagi presented by, fur the re-entombing of the remains 

of Washington and his wife, in lb37 ... 340 

Stuart, Da\ id, Washington wills his telescope and shaving apparatus to .35, 63 

" marries the wi<low of John Parke Custis 35 

Stuart, Gilbert, painter of Eleanor Parke Custis 1 15 

Style, ohl and new, how it originated 20 

Summer-house at Mount Vernoji, picture of 143 

Sword and staff, Washington's and Franklin's, picture of, and ode by George P. Morris 121 

Sword, Washiugton's, picture of . 211 

" will concerning 212 


Table, particular description by Rev. Ashbel Greene of Washington's habits at 283 

Tea-table, Washington's, now at Arlington house, description of. 302 

Telescope, Washington's, in the possession of the wife of Itev. A. B. Atkinson 85 

" picture of 36 

Telescope, Washington's pocket, presented to General Jackson 225 

The Entry^ a satire, published in I7b9 201 

Thomson, Ciiarles, secretary of Congress, carries to Washington at Mount Vejnon, a not.ce 

of his election to the presidency 192 

" portrait of 198 

Thornton, Dr., his plan for the capitol approved of by Washington 257 

Threshing-machine, letter of Washington to General Henry Lee respecting one 278 

Tomb of Washington broken into thirty years after his death 330 

" description of 342-344 

" p cture of 343 

Travelling writing-case, Washington's, picture of 126 

Tray, Washington's silver, anecdote respecting 252 

Trenton, triumphal arch at, in honor of Washington 199 

Trunk, Washington's travelling, described 121 

" picture of . 122 

Truro Point, Washington a vestryman at 72 


Van, teaches Washington the art of fencing 36 

Vases, porcelain, that belonged to Washington, picture of 174 

Vanghan Samuel, presents a marble chimney-piece to Washington 171 

Vault, the Washington family, site of a proposed new one indicated to Major Lewis by 

Washington, a few days before his death 315 

Vault, the Washington family, directions left in the General's will concerning 3119 

Vault, old, uf the Washington family, i)icture of 330 

Vernon, Admiral, commander-in-chief of the English navy in the West Indies 25 

" portrait of 26 

" medal in commemoration of h s capture of Porto Bello, preserved at Mount Vernon 27 

Virginia, address of legislature of, to Washington 160 

" legislature of, vote a statue of Washington 169 

Von Berckel, copy of an allegorical picture painted by the wife of 186 

Vulcan, a French hound, anecdote of 171 


Walker, Colonel, aide to Baron Steuben, takes a letter to Gov. Clinton from Mount Vernon, 118 
Wallace, words of, brought to memory of the author, while occupied in sketching the death- 
chamber of Washington 825 




.. 1S7 
.. 16 

. . u 



attends the theatre at Williamsburg, 
end (if his dancing days. 

in CO 

nfercnce wiih Bryan Fairfax and Majur Gates. 



Warville, Brissotde. at Mount Vernon 

Washin-lon and the Fairfaxes in Vir-inia in political opposition 

Washin^'ton, a page of Charles I., dies at Madrid 

Washinilton, Augustine, father of George, death of 

" ~ bequeaths Hunting Creek estate to Lawrence 

Washington Benevolent Society, recipient of Wasliington's masonic apron 

Washington, Bushrod, wills his watch to Mr. Adams ■ ^^^ 

'• " receives a sword from General Washington ■ 

" becomes master of M..unt Vernon on the death of Mrs. Washing .m 336 

Washington Colonel William, hospitalities of proffered to Washington on his Southern toui, 254 

Washington family emigrate to America nine years after the death of LharU-s 1 10 

Washington, George, a boy at Mount Vernon ^^ 

'• about to enter the navy / ' ' 

" a letter from his uncle lo his mother decides her against Ins going to s.a 3- 

returns to school, and loves a " lowland beauty" ' 

goestolive with his brother at Mount Vernon ^ 

the friend of George William Fairfax ^^ 

" admires Fairfax's wife's sister ^^ 

" hunts with old Lord Fairfax ^^ 

goes beyond the Blue Ridge as a surveyor ^^ 

" appointed public surveyor ^ 

" record of his commission 

commissioned adjutant of his military district 

" heir to the Mount Vernon estate 

" his property on the Rappahannock ^^ 

" sent by Diuwiddie to the Ohio ^'^ 

again in the field in 1754 ^^ 

" made c<donel in 1754 . 

leaves the service and retires to Mount Vernon 

" his mother endeavors to dissuade him from go ng t.. i he field again 4-i 

enters Braddoek's family ^.^ 

preserved on the field of blood • ■ ' 

" most of the tim« in camp for Ibur years afterward, except w hen sick 44 

" his journey to Boston in 1736 

" sick at Mount Vernon ■ 

a member of the House of Burgesses of Virginia ^^ 

" story df his love and courtship ^^ 

takes his bride to Mount Vernon 

" personal appearance of, at the time of his marriage •^- 

" present from Frederick the Great to ■• ^^ 

with his wife at the Virginia capital ^^ 


,. f 68 

ap|ie;iranee ot, on his lai m» 

chief crops of his farms „l 

views calmly the approaching political storm ^^ 

activity of, in public affairs ' 

a vestryman of Truro and Fairfax parishes 

first portrait of, by Peale, at the age of forty ^ 

■ iournev of, to Philalelphia as delegate in the first Congress ^» 


•• appointed commander-in-chief of the Continental army 

" gold medal declared by Congress in his hon:n- , , ' V ' ' ;. i<?^ 

" letters of, allu.ling to his retirement after the war, to Knox ami Lafayette. ^^ irf^ 

Washington, George A., ill health of, in i;il2 • • ""^ " ofis 

distress of W.oshington on account of the mortal sickness ot ^"» 

Washington, George Steptoe, receives a sword from the General ^^^ 

Washington, Harriet, a resident of M.uint Vernon .•■/„•.•, ^4 

Washington. Henry, defender of the English city of Worcester .ag.iinst Fairfax 14 

37(5 INDEX. 

1*AG E 

Wusliington, John A., sends a watch to Mr. Adams 207 

Mount Vernon bequeathed to, by Judge Washington .340 

Washington, Liiwrence, portrait of -25 

" his military sp rit 25 

" present at the attack of Admiral Vernon and General Wentworth on Carthagena . 20 

'" friendship of Wentworth and Vernon for 27 

" his marriage 2)S 

" takes possessi(m of the estate upon the death of his fatlier, and names it Mount Vernon, 23 

" adjutant-general of his district 81 

" portrait of, still at Mount Vernon 349 

Washington Lodge, Ale.xandria, Washington's masonic ai>i<jn in 156 

Wiishington, Lund, the General's overseer 104 

" reproved by the General for saving Mount Vernon from destruction by giving aid 

to the enemies of his country 105 

Washington, Mrs., portraits of children of 52 

portraits of 53, 261, 297 

•' in camp and at head-quarters 100 

" letters to, from her husband, destroyed by her 100 

" grandchildren of, [tainted by Pine 167 

" letter of, a.sking Fanny for an apron 207 

" honors paid to, on her way to New York 208 

" first drawing-room of, at New York 210 

" first public reception of, in Philadelphia 247 

" company at public receptions of 24S 

" excessive fondness of, for her grandchildren 266 

resignation of, exhibited at the death-bed of her husband b22 

" reply of, to Congress, respecting the disposition of the rejiiains of her husband 334 

" letters and visits of condolence to, after the deatli of her husbaii<l 335 

death of, in 1S02 336 

Washington, Mrs. Jane, mistress of Mount Vernon in 1832 340 

Washington, Samuel, receives a sword from the General 212 

Washingtons an ancient English family 14 

Watch, owned by Washington, picture of. 207 

Water-mark, on paper made for Washington, picture of 343 

Watson and Cossoul, correspondence of, with Washington respecting his masonic ajirou . . . 1.15 

Watson, Elkanah, anecdote of his, resiiecting his visit at Mount Vernon 304 

" remarks of, in relation to Washington's masonic ajtron 156 

Watson, John F., owns Washington's military button 81 

Weems, llev. Mason L., officiates at Pohick Church 75 

" portrait of . 75 

Westford, sole survivor of Judge Washington's slaves, portrait of 33S 

White. General Anthony Walton, picture of gold pen presented to, by Washington 66 

•' Widow of Malabar,'' translated by Humphreys at Mt. Vernon, performed at Philadel|)hia.. 183 

Will of Washington, executed in July, 1799, written out entirely by himself 315 

Wine-cooiers, disposition of, that belonged to Washington . . 250 

" picture of, 251 

Winstanley, Wdliam, landscapes ".Morning" and "Evening" painted for Washington by 806 

Wolcott, Oliver, of Connecticut, prudence of 245 

'• letter of, respecting the president's habits of economy 242 

Worcester, English city of, defended by Henry Washington against Fairfax 14 

Wright, Joseph, paints portraits of Washington and his wife 168 

" attempts to take a plaster mould from Washington's fa(H' 158 

" makes a medal die of Washington 159 

Wright, Mrs. Patience, wax figures of 158 


Yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1794. Washington retires to Mount Vernon to avoid 272 

Yrugo, .Marquis d', the Spanish min ster, the guest of Washington ii 1796 at Mount Vernon . . 275 

" becomes the husband of Sallv McKean 276 

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