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(>iv4?ft tn the A^'W U^rA ruhlic Libnimv 

. "ist or Lenox and Tt/c/en touncicftions 

BY Victor Hi^go F^altsits 

ittuh^r tliv tt^riuH oftJu* Itist v^'ill otul fostiimont o/ 

Catherine Ganskvoort Lansinc; 

n'Tiittf/i/tttift/itcr- €>/ 


' nerd I I t^ter (ffttist*v<iort, juntor 

einf/\vif/fi\v ff/ tne 

1 ionnr€i(>l€» ^ Tnrfi/iftni An/isimj 

if/, l/hitnw ^\t*\v lark 


1 i 
















••-•-li: ' y 










•t.*-^ *y,7'-77' 



"THE NilV/ Y'/KK 












BT HIS daughter; 






Gm. Htmry Lu'a Ormtum» 




Entered, aceordinf? to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, 

Bt Mrs. Mart CnsTis Lee. 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern 

District of Virginia. 

IS ChaaiiMn Stffvt. V. T. 


Thb men and women who were cotemporary with Washington 
have ftearly all passed away, and in a few years every tongue 
that might now speak of personal recollections of the Father of 
his Coontry will be silent, and that for ever. 

As we recede from the age of Washington, and histoiy takes 
the place of verbal traditions in giving a narrative of the events 
of those days, we bec(»ne more and more anxious to gamer, in 
memory and in books, the precious seeds of information concern^ 
ing the men whose names stand prominently on the records of 
those events. Especially do we desire to know all about Wash* 
ington, the great central figure of the group of patriots whom we 
have been taught to revere as the founders of the republic. 

We feel confident, therefore, that a work like this, containiug 
the minute details of much of Washington's private life, as well 
as his public career (which general history does not reveal), and 
related, too, by a member of Washington's own family — one 
who lived with him from infancy until his nineteenth yea« — will 
be peculiarly acceptable to the American public. 

In this work, new phases of Washington's character are dis- 
played. We see him as a private citizen — as a plain &rmer--> 
as the head of a family. 

The correspondence between Washington and his adopted son, 
while the latter was in college, first at Princeton and after- 
ward at Annapolis (never before published), will be found 
deeply interesting, especially to our young men. Washington's 
letters display the £a.therly anxiety and solicitude with which he 
saw the child of his adoptiim, sometimes giving promises of great 
improrement and future usefulness, and at others pursuiug a dis- 
appointing course, and awakening painful doubts concerning the 


character of his manhood. These called from Washington 
words of great wisdom ; and the advice contained in his letters 
to young Custis we would commend to the careful considera- 
tion of every young man starting out in life. 

The general arrangement of the whole work, and the elabo- 
rate explanatory and illustrative notes to the Recollections^ by 
the editor, whose familiarity with the subject is well known, so 
'connect and generalize the desultory sketches of the author as 
to make the work an interesting Life of Washington. In these 
notes will be found much rare matter never before presented in 
a collected form. 

The correspondence between Washington and the father of 
the author of these Recollections ^ during the Bevolution (printed 
in the Appendix, and now for the first time made public), will 
be found especially interesting. Their letters treat chiefly of 
prirate affairs, and give us a vivid picture of Washington's 
sagacious views in relation to the management of property. 
They also show the wonderful capacity and adaptation of his 
mind in giving close and lucid attention to private concerns, 
while engaged in the most arduous and momentous public 
duties. Two of Mr. Custis's orations ; the famous oration of 
General Henry Lee on the death of Washington ; an interest- 
ing account of the presentation of a ring to Lafayette by Custis 
at the tomb of Washington ; a specimen of Washington's care 
and exactness in the management of his agricultural affairs ; 
and a notice of all the original portraits of Washington, are 
also printed in the Appendix. 

The memoir of Mr. Custis, by his daughter, which properly 
forms a part of the work, will be found highly interesting, the 
subject being enriched by the introduction of very curious mat- 
ter pertaining to the earlier history of the family. 

With these few observations, we submit the work to the pub- 
lic, feeling a pride in offering one so intrinsically valuable to 
every student of our history and lover of his country. 

Thb Pubushebs. 

Nbw Tobk, AuguMt, 1859. 





Editob'8 Pbbfacb • 119 

Authob's Pbbpaob ISl 

Thb Motheb or Wajhihoton 125 

Washikotoit at Moukt Vbbkon 151 

BxTTLE or Pbixobtoh avd Dbath or Gbvebai. Mbbobb 179 

Battlb or Qbbmantown 198 

Thb Battlb or Monmouth 211 

Thb Sitbbbndbb at Tobktown 229 

Wabhinoton's LirB-GuABD 256 

Thb Hunting-Shibt 264 


Washinoton's Hbadquabtbbs *. 273 

Mtstbbibs or thb Rbyolution 289 

Thb Indian Pbofhbot 300 

Danibl Mobqan 308 



Thoxab Nblbon 333 

Albbandbb Hamilton 340 

HantTliBa 354 






Washikoton ab a Spobtskab 884 

The Fibst Yeab of thb Pbesidenct 393 

Washibgtoh'b Hoxb abd Housbhold ; 406 


Thb Rbtibbd Pbbsidbbt 433 




Last Hoitbs of Washiwotok ; . . . 47a 

Pebsobal Appeababob of Washington. . » 480 

Mabtha Washington 495 


Pobtbaits of Washington 616 

I. Obiginal Cobbespondencb between Gbnbral Washington and 

John Pabkb Custis * 533 

n. Obation at thb Fcnebal Solemnities to Genebal James M. 

LiNGAN, bt G. W. p. Custis 671 

in. Addbess at the Celbbbation of thb Russian Viotobibs oVbb 

Napoleon, by G. W. P. Custis , 585 

IV. Pbesbntation of a Ring to Genebal Lafatbttb, bt G. W. P. 

Custis, at the Tomb of Washington 591 


Washington 595 

VI. Obation on the Death of Washington, delitebed befobb Con- 

GBESS, by Genebal Henby Lee 616 

Vn. Obiginal Pobtbaits of Washington 624 


Geobgb Washington Pabkb Custis Fbontispibcb 

Colonel Geobgb Washington Opposite page 21 

Mbs. Elbanob Pabkb Lewis (Nelly Custis) " " 45 

Mbs. Mabtha Washington (Mbs. Custis) " " 495 

Facsimile of Washington's Account with Miss Custis.. " " 496 
FicsiMiLE OF Washington's Recobd of Subve^. . " " 446 










It is with much diffidence that I offer to the public the 
BecoUections of my father, in their present unfinished 
state. They were written by him at intervals of many 
months, sometimes of a year, during a period of thirty 
years, and were nearly all first published in the National 
MeWgencer^ printed at Washington city, in the District 
of Columbia. They have been extensively copied by 
the press throughout the Union, and sometimes quoted 
by historians, but fix)m the perishable character of 
the vehicle by which they were conveyed to the pub- 
lic, it is to be doubted whether a perfect copy of the 
series is preserved, except the one contained in this 

For many years my father, influenced by the urgent 
solicitations of friends in all parts of the Union, enter- 
tained a design to arrange and revise his RecoUediom^ 
tmpply omissions, and have them published in the more 


durable form of a volume, as a legacy to his countryTnen. 
But this design was never carried out ; and now, actu- 
ated by filial affection, and a feeling that these recollec- 
tions of the Father of his Country, by his adopted son, 
should not be lost — that leaves so precious should not 
be scattered to the winds — I have undertaken to per- 
form what he left undone. 

At seemed to me that a brief memoir of the author of 
,ihe JRecoUectianSy and some notices of his family, connected 
' as they have been with stirring scenes in the history 
of the past, would be acceptable to the public. 

The following letter, also, written by an old and 
esteemed friend, so well expresses the feelings of all 
who knew my father, and desired the publication of his 
RecoUectiom. in permanent form, that I have taken the 
liberty of inserting it here : — 

« Wabhingtok, October 6, 1858. 

" My dear Madam : Many causes, unnecessary to men- 
tion, have prevented the fulfilment of my cherished pur- 
pose to express the pleasure with which I learned yoiu* 
intention of preparing the writings of your venerable 
father for the press, to be preceded by a notice of his life 
from the best pen, that of his only child. An intimate 
and unclouded friendship of more than thirty years with 
your beloved and lamented parents, gave me advantages 
for discerning and appreciating those rare and bright 
virtues which have made Arlington a place of frequent 
resort to many of the eminent and good of this and 
other coimtries. 

^Your father was distinguished by talents which 
would have made him eminent in any profession to 
which he might have devoted himself; but his ample 


fortune, exteiudve and generous hospitality^ and the 
caxe of large estates, led him rather to agricultural pur- 
suits, general literature, and the indulgence of his taste 
for the fine arts, than to a profound study of science or 

^ He read much, his memory was quick and retentive, 
and his knowledge of history and the public affairs of 
the world was remarkably ftdl and accurate. To the 
history of his own country he had devoted much time 
and special attention, and was more familiar with the 
character of the men and events of the Bevolution, than 
any one I have known. 

** Probably no one of his cotemporaries so well under- 
stood, or so profoundly admired the retired and less 
obvious excellences, and the great public virtues and 
acts of Washington. The glory of that great man ever 
encompassed him, and inspired him with enthusiasm and 
eloquence. In his childhood he learned from Washing- 
ton lessons of patriotism which were never forgotten. 
Hence, in important political questions he was deeply 
interested, and amid all the sectional controversies of his 
day he stood firm to the Union. 

^ He was warm and constant in friendship, had a high 
sense of what is due (in conversation) to absent acquainir 
ances, and was ever reluctant to attend to remarks dis- 
paraging or injurious to others. He sympathized quickly 
with distress, and the poor found in him a ready and 
liberal benefactor. 

" Nothing could exceed the easy grace and politeness 
of his manners, his uniform and benevolent cheerfulness, 
and the delightful eloquence of his convertotion. There 
was the blending of good humor, cordiality, interest in 


those whom he addressed, with the riches of a brilliant 
poetic imagination, throwing light and joy upon all 
around. Those who visited Arlington immediately found 
themselves at home. Every want was anticipated by 
kind attentions, and nothing was omitted which could 
contribute to their happiness ; they seemed to realize the 
return of the days when Washington himself welcomed 
his guests at Moimt Yemon and presided at the feast. 

" The writings you, Madam, are about to publish, will 
be welcomed by the people of the United States as 
historical papers of great value; and those containing 
recollections of Washington, as precious memorials of 
the life and habits of the Father of his Coimtry in retire- 
ment, warm with the love and gratitude of his devoted 
son, and glowing with his genius. The discourses of 
your father on the death of General Lingan, and that 
on the overthrow of Napoleon, were greatly admired 
at the time they were spoken, and should be preserved 
as specimens of striking and commanding eloquence.* 
Tour father was an orator, around whom the public 
ever thronged with delight, and who that ever heard 
Tiiwi can forget the vivacity, grace, and interest of his 

" The filial duty in which you so promptly engaged, 
and which you have so well performed, is a high tribute 
to the memory of Washington (with which that of your 
honored father is indissolubly united), and a service to 
that country which stands the only adequate monmnent 
of its great chief But I wiQ not presume to extend 
these observations farther, since I can add nothing to 
your information, and should fill a volume to convey my 

* These maj be found in the Appendix. 


own pleasing recollections, or to express adequately my 
attachment and obligations to your family. 

^I have the honor to remain, my dear Madam, 
*^ Most respectfully your jfriend, 

** Mrs. Mart Custis Lee, Arlington.** 

The memoir of one so long known among us as the 
adopted child of Mount Vernon, whose mind was richly 
stored with memories of the past, whose heart and home 
was open to all who loved to hear of our immortal 
Washington, should be deeply interesting to the world. 

The records of his early youth are somewhat imper- 
fect^ as those who could have best furnished the details 
have passed away ; nor do we find any letters from his 
foster-father until the commencement of his collegiate 
life at Princeton. 

Of his paternal ancestry we have accoimts gleaned from 
a chest of old papers, very curious and amusing (though 
many have mouldered), containing letters, commissions, 
deeds and patents for land diu*ing the reigns of James 11., 
William and Mary, and Queen Anne ; and a commission 
for Major-General John Custis, in 1687, from Johannes, 
Lord Howard of Effingham, his majesty's lieutenant and 
governor-general of Virginia, appointing him collector 
of customs on the Eastern Shore. Mr. Custis had previ- 
ously been made major-general to command the forces 
in that quarter during Bacon's rebellion.* He was the 

* The episode in Virginia history, known as Bacon's rebellion, occnrred in 1675 
and 1676. The immediate caase of the outbreak was the dangers threatened hj 
Indians from the north, who had made incnrsions into the settlements on the James 
river. It was, howerer, an oatbnrst of repnblican feeling, which had long been 
growing in the colony, and whidi had become mnch- exasperated by the acts of Got- 
emor Berkeley and the aristocracy. Finally, the republicans, nnder pretence of 
opposing the Indians, seized their arms, and led on by Nathaniel Bacon, an ener- 

14 MEMOm OF 

owner of a large estate, including several islands. Among 
these was Smith's island, which is still in possession of the 
family. General Custis married three wives. In favor of 
each he made a separate wiU, providing amply for the 
comfort of his widow, and even binding his successor in 
her affections (should she have one) by a heavy forfeit, 
to maintain the dwelling in the same state in which he 
left it He also devised to her, her own wearing apparel, 
and any stuffs ordered for her that might be en route 
from England. To the last one. Madam Tabitha, who 
sm^ived him, and married Colonel Hill, he bequeathed a 
handsome riding horse and accoutrements. His five chil- 
dren, John, Hancock, Henry, Sorrowful Margaret, and 
Elizabeth, were all apportioned ; and legacies in land and 
money were left to various friends and to his sisters. 
The eldest son, John, was especially provided with landed 
property, out of which a himdred pounds were to be ex- 
pended yearly for the maintainance and education in 
England of his son, John, the immediate ancestor of the 
author of the RecoUediom^ whose portrait ia preserved 
at Arlington house. In it, his hand grasps a book, near 
which a tuUp is placed. The book contained an essay 

getic young patriot, appeared in formidable array. The movement was without the 
governor's permission, and he sent troops to arrest the rebel, as he termed Bacon. 
This led to energetic action. Hepnblicanism had become a power in Virginia, and, 
at its command, the governor was compelled, on the 4th of Jaly, 1676 (a handrcd 
years before the great Declaration of Independence), to sign a commission, acknowl- 
edging Bacon a member of the honse of bnigesses, to which the people had elected 
him ; and also to give him the commission of a general of a thonsand men. Finally, 
the governor summoned all the royalists to his standard, declared Bacon a rebel, and 
received succor from England. Bacon and his troops, hearing of the approach of an 
overwhelming force, laid old Jamestown in ashes, and fled beyond the York river, 
where he died of malignant fever. His followers were dispersed, and the civil war 
ended. Had Bacon been sncccssfol, history wonld have called him a patriot instead 


upon that flower, written by himself. Many works in 
the library, classical and scientific, with his name pre- 
fixed in German text, embellished with many fiourishes 
(for he seemis to have prided himself upon his chirog- 
raphy), shows that be waa a man of letters, though of 
an eccentric genius. 

This John married at ^^Queene's creeke," on York 
river, Frances, the eldest daughter of Colonel Daniel 
Parke. She and her sister, Lucy (afterward the wife of 
Colonel William Bjncd, of Westover,*) resided there with 
their mother (whose maiden name was Jane Ludwell) 
in great sechision, by the express desire of their father, 
then seeking his fortunes abroad,f The mother, in many 

* Colonel William Byrd was a distinguished member of the king^s coansel in 
Vii^ginia, toward the close of the seventeenth century. When, in 1699, about three 
l^andred of the Huguenots, or French Protestants, arrived in Virginia, after fleeing 
from persecution in their native land, he received them with fSntherly affection, and 
gave them the most tiberal assistance. He was generous to the poor around him. 
He was well educated, and his library was the laigest on the western continent. In 
1733, he was one of the commissioners for establishing the boundary line between 
Virginia and North Carolina. Ho died at an advanced age, in 1743. 

t The following letter from Colonel Parke to his daughter, Frances, who married 

Colonel Custis, is preserved at Arlington House. The orthography of the original 

is retained : — 

" St. Jakss' OWofter y 20^ 

*' Mt Db ar Fawht— 1 697. 

" I Rec'«* y first letter, and be shure yon bo as good as y word and mind y writ- 
ing and everything else yon have learnt; and doe not learn to Romp, but behave 
yselfe soberly and like A Gentlewoman. Mind Reading; and carry y'self so yt 
Everyboddy may Respect you. Be Calm and Obligeing to all the servants, and 
when yon speak doe it mildly Even to the poorest slave ; if any of the Servants 
commit small fiiults y* are of no consequence, do you hide them. If you nndorsrand 
of any great faults they commit, acquaint y' mother, but doe not aggravate the fault. 
I am well, and have sent you everything yon desired, and, please God I doe well, I 
shall see you ere long. Love y^ sister and y*^ friends; be dutiful to y mother. 

This' with my blessing is from y' lo : father 

*<Dakl. Paxkb. 
"Give my Duty to v^ Grandfather, and my love to y' Mother and Sister and 
•ervisf to all friends. My Cosen Brown gives yon her serviss, and y Anots and 
Oousins their love." 


long and urgent letters, implored his return, pleading 
the state of her health as rendering her unequal to 
guard her treasures from the admiring eyes which pum 
sued them whenever they were seen. Colonel Custis, 
with his foreign education and great wealth, was no 
despicable suitor. Colonel Parke gave his approval,* 
and the haughty beauty yielded. He had been fore- 
warned that he could hope for no complaisance from his 
bride, whose temper was little calculated to allow happi- 
ness in her presence ; but with the true spirit of a lover 
and the gallantry of the age, he professed to feel that to 
possess her would be heaven enough for him.f Their 

* The father of young Colonel Ciutis received the following letter from Colonel 

Parke on the sabject : — 

" London, Augiui 25, 1705. 

" Sir : I received 7011118 relating to your son's desire of manying my daaghter, 
and your consent if I thought well of it. Ton may easily inform yourself that my 
daughter, Frances, will be heiress to all the land my father left, which is not a little, 
nor the worst. My personal estate is not very small in that country, and I have but 
two daughters, and there is no likelihood of my having any more, as matters are, I 
being obliged to be on one side of the ocean, and my wife on the other. I do not 
know your young gentleman, nor have you or he thought fit to send mo an account 
of his real and personal eiXtects ; however, if my daughter likes him, I will gi^^e her 
upon her marriage with him, half as much as he can make appear he is worth. 

" I have no one else to give my estate to but my daughters. This is what I think 

convenient to write at present. My service to you and all friends in Virginia. 

" From your humble servant, 
"To Colonel Cubtib." "Daniel Fabkb. 

t Ttie following letter of young Cnstis to his intended bride a few months before 
their marriage, in which, according to the custom of the time, he calls her his 
** Fidelia," is a fair specimen of passionate love-letters in the old colonial days. Its 
tone is quite different from that which characterizes the inscription upon his tomb, 
in which ho so pointedly, though indirectly affirms, that his life, while he lived 
with his " Fidelia," was so unhappy that he considered it a blank in his existence :«- 

" WiLLiAMSBTTBGH, February 4, 1705. 

" May angels guard my dearest Fidelia and deliver her safe to my arms at our 
next meeting ; and sure they wont refuse their protection to a creature so pure and 
charming, that it would be easy for them to mistake her for one of themselves. 
If yon could but believe how entirely you possess the empire of my heart, yon would 
easily credit me, when I tell yon, that I can neither think nor so much as dream of 


connubial enjoyments were of short duration, and in 
mercy to both, perhaps, after the birth of two children 
(a son and daughter), the small-pox ended her life at 
Arlington, on the Eastern Shore. The husband lived 
many years afterward, and directed in his will that a 
tomb-stone of white marble (now in existence) should 
be placed over his grave, inscribed with the following 
epitaph, to perpetuate his infelicity : — 










A bachelor's HOME AT ARLINGTON, 


On the opposite side is the following : — 


any other sabject than the enchanting Fidelia. Yon will do me wrong if yon sos* 
pect that there ever was a man created that loved with more tenderness and sincerity 
than I do, and I shonld do yon wrong if I conld imagine there ever was a nymph 
that deserved it better than yon» Take this for granted, and then fimcy how nneasy 
I am like tof be nnder the unhappincss of yonr absence. Fignre to yourself what 
tamults there will arise in my blood, what a fluttering of the spirits, what a disorder 
of the pulse, what passionate wishes, what absence of thought, and what crowding 
of sighs, and then imagine how unfit I shall be for business ; but returning to the 
dear cause of my uneasiness ; O the torture of six months' expectation ! If it must 
be so long and'neoessity will till then interpose betwixt you and my inclinations, I 
must submit, though it be as unwillingly as pride submits to superior virtue, or 
envy to superior success. Fray think of me, and believe that Yeramour is entirely 
and eternally yours. Adieu. 

" I beg you write as soon as yon receive this, and commit your letter to the same 
tmsty hand that brings you this." 

* In his will he directed his son to place this inscription upon his tomb, and pro- 
Tided for his disinheritance in the event of his omitting to do so. The tomb is in 
the form of a sarcophagus, about five feet high and as many 1 

18 MEMOm ^OF 

The daughter of Colonel Custis, Fanny Parke, was 
bom in 1710, and married a Captain Dausie, contrary to 
the wishes of both father and brother, in which she, no 
doubt, followed the bent of her ^ own phantasy,'* as we 
find many letters extant from her suitors, who were quite 
eloquent in setting forth their pretensions, especially, in 
point of property. The old gentleman was over fastid- 
ious, and would not listen favorably to any of them ; so 
it ended, as often it happens, in her marrying the least 
desirable of them all. In his replies. Colonel Custis 
always remarked, a»s a reason for his objections : ^ I have 
but two children, and they must inherit all I have.'* 
Daniel, the son, was the object of very ambitious views. 
His fine person, large fortune, and irreproachable char- 
acter, made him quite a desirable match for the fair 
dames of Virginia, and many negotiations were com- 
menced.* His cousin, Evelyn Byrd of Westover, was 
proposed, but though Colonel Custis desired earnestly 

* Bin. Parke Feppor, wife of a London merchant, and a relative, seems to have 
desired a matrimonial alliance between the families, as appears by the following 
letter written by Colonel Castis to her in 1731 :— 

" It is natural to believe that I must always value a family to whom my two dear 
pledges are so nearly allied. I do not remember that I expressed anything of 
matching my daughter to any one. I am sure I had no such thought, so Mr. S. 
must misapprehend me. Your son may deserve a better match than my daughter, 
but the distance of place and consanguinity would render such a thing impracticable. 
She has lately been engaged to a man much against my inclination, and so near, 
that the wedding-clothes were made, but it is all over now, and she protests she will 
never marry him or any one else. My son, I believe, is fixed in his afiections, only 
we think both two young as yet. It is an nnhappiness that my children's relations 
by their mother are placed so far distant. I agree with you, that it might do him 
good to make you a visit and see the world, but I could not spare him so fiir from 
me while I live, if he might have the empress of the universe with the whole creation 
for a fortune. My children are all the comfort I have in the world, for whose sakes 
I have kept myself single, and am determined so to do as long as it shall please God 
to continue them to me. I no ways doubt of my young kinswoman's virtues and 
|ualifications, and heartily wish her a husband equal to her merits. I hope Mr. 


the connection, he could not be brought to terms ; and 
at length Colonel Byrd, in a very decided letter, in 
which he tells the wooer how much he regrets his 
father's impracticability, as he should have preferred him 
to all others, adds, that he can not trust to such a 
*phantome as Colonel Custis's generosity." 

We rather suspect Daniel was not very earnest in the 
pursuit, as beautiful Martha Dandridge soon efiaced all 
other impressions from his heart, and was not so readily 

She waj3 the most attractive belle at tlie court of 
Williamsburg,* and won the affections of all by her 
grace of manner and heartfelt cheerfulness. Governor 
Goochf presided over the Old Dominion, and Colonel 
Custis then held the high office of king's counsellor. 
Long did he refuse to sanction his son's choice, but at 
length won over by the report he heard on all sides of 
the charms and virtues of Miss Dandridge, and especially 
by a message received from her, he yielded, and we 
find the following memorandum in his own hand- 
writing: ^1 give my firee consent to the union of 

Pepper will accept of mj best respects. The same salnte to jon and joan. I am, 

hon'd madam. Your most obedient servant, 

"Jomr CnsTis. 

'< P. 8.— If Colonel Parke had lived to see mr son, he would have seen his own 
picture to greater perfection than ever Sir Godfrej Kneller oonld draw it.-*- J. C." 

This postscript refers to the portrait of Colonel Parke, now at Arlington honse, 
painted by that eminent artist, and to which allnsion is made in another part of this 

* 'Mniliamsbnig was die lestdence of the royal governors of Yhginia nutil the old 
war for independence, in 1775. Governor Nicholson made it the capital in 1698. In 
its palmiest days its population did not exceed twenty-Ave hundred, yet it was the 
centre of Virginia's social refinement. 

t William Gooch was governor of Virginia from 1727 until 1749, a longer admin 
istratton than tfaait of any of the royal governors of that province. 

20 MEMOm OF 

my son, Daniel, with Miss Martha Dandridge."* This 
was a concession he certainly never had cause to regret, 
aa he soon was an admiring witness of their domestic 
bliss in their pleasant home on the banks of the Pamunkey 
They had four children, Daniel Parke, Fanny Parke, John 
Parke^ (the father of the author of the JRecoUeciiom), 
and Martha Parke. The two eldest children died very 
young ; and it is said that grief for their loss so preyed 
upon the mind of the devoted father, who was equally 
endowed with deep affections, as with manly beauty, 
that it hastened his death, which occurred at the age 
of thirty years. He left a young widow with two small 
children, and a large fortune. His family mourned the 
loss of a most tender parent, and his numerous servants 
an indulgent master.f 

* On that occasion a friend of the snitor WTX)to to him as follows :— 
" Dear Sir : This comes at last to hringyon the news that I beliere will be most 
agreeable to yon of any you have ever heard — that yon may not be long in suspense 
I shall tell yon at once — I am empowered by yonr father to let you know thai he 
heartily and willingly consents to yonr marriage with Miss Dandridge — that he has 
so good a character of her, that he had rather yon should have her than any lady in 
Yirginia — nay, if possible, he is as much enamored with her character as yon are with 
her person, and this is owing chiefly to a prudent speech of her own. Hurry down 
immediately for fear ho should change the strong inclination he has to yonr marrying 
directly. I stayed with him all night, and presented Jack with my little Jack's horse, 
bridle, and saddle, in yonr name, which was taken as a singular favor. I shall say 
no more, as I expect to see yon soon to-morrow, bnt conclude what I really am, 
" Tour most obliged and affectionate humble servant, 
" To Colonel Daniel Parke Cubtis, New Kent." "J. Power. 

The "Jack " referred to in this letter was a small negro boy to whom the old gen- 
tleman had taken a most violent fancy ; and on one occasion when in great displeas- 
ure with his son, Daniel, on account of his refusing to concur in his ambitious views, 
he made a will, duly recorded, leaving all his fortune to this boy. Through the soli- 
citations of his friends and his own paternal feelings, when the ill-humor had vanish- 
e4, he destroyed that will, but manumitted the boy with his mother, Alice, and pro- 
vided them with a most comfortable maintenance. 

t Daniel Parke Custis was bom at " Queene's creeke,'* according to the record in 
a family Bible at Arlington House, on the 15th of October, 17II. There is also a 




The circumstances attending the union of Mrs. Custis I 
with Washington are well known, and a narrative of them | 
will be found in the JRecolkctions.* Indeed, her life from ' 
that time became a matter of history. The death of her 
only remaining daughter, Martha, at the age of sixteen, 
threw a cloud of the deepest sorrow over the happiness 
of the family at Mount Vernon. If we may judge from 
a miniature taken by the elder Peale, and now in the 
possession of his son, Rembrandt, and two other portraits, 
she was endowed with rare beauty, and yet of a com- 
plexion so deeply brunette, that she was always called I 
the " dark lady." Her delicate health, or, perhaps her fond I 
affection for the only father she had ever known, so 
endeared her to the "general," that he knelt at her 
djdng bed, and with a passionate burst of tears, prayed 
aloud that her life might be spared, unconscious that 
even then her spirit had departed. 

Martha expired at Mount Vernon on the 19th of June, | 
1773. Washington had been absent at Williamsburg, 
on public duty, for sometime, and on his return found 
her in the last stage of consumption. He had arranged 
to accompany the governor of Virginia (Lord Dimmore) 
to the western coimtry, but the death of Miss Custis 
caused him to remain at home a long time to console 
his wife, and recover from the effects of the blow. In 

record there, that " Gorernor Spottswood, the Honorable William Byrd, Esq., and 
Mrs. Hannah Lndwell, were godfathers and godmother." There were some por- 
traits of the Castis family at Abington, on the Potomac, which have long since 
cmmbled into dost. One who bore the name of Castis is remembered as being 
represented as a soldier, in a complete suit of vmor; and two now at Arlington, 
painted by Van Dyke, tradition says came from Holland, where the family origi- 
nated. The portraits of Daniel Parke Castis, husband of Miss Dandridge (after- 
ward Mrs. Washington), and of his father, are both at Arlington house. 
* Bee sketch of Martha Washington. 



testimony of her love for her stepfather, Miss Custis be- 
queathed to him all of her large fortune, which was en- 
tirely in money. 

Of Colonel Daniel Parke, already mentioned as one of 
the ancestors of the present Custis family, and of his 
eventful career, an interesting volume might be written. 
This is not the place for even a very extended notice 
of him ; yet some facts and correspondence, having a re* 
lation to the family, seem to find here an appropriate 
position. Besides this, they give us glimpses of char- 
acter in the olden time, which will not fail to gratify the 
reader and pardon a digression. 

There is a splendid portrait of Colonel Parke at Arw 
lington house, painted by Sir Godfrey Kiieller, in which 
he is represented as arrayed in a coat of crimson velvet 
embroidered with gold, and which well becomes his fine 
figure and eminently handsome face. He was bom in 
the colonies, but passed most of his life in England, 
where he possessed valuable estates, leaving his wife 
with two daughters in charge of his Virginia property, 
which was also extensive. She found this charge so 
burdensome, that in her letters, as we have already 
observed, she begs to be relieved, and urges his return. 
She even wrote to his merchant and man of business, 
Micajah Perry, to use his influence in persuading him to 
retium. But the fascinations of the court prevailed over 
a sense of duty, and while there he was appointed aid- 
de-camp to the great Duke of Marlborough, attended 
hiTTi in the battle of Blenheim, and was made the bearer 
of the following letter to the Duchess of Marlborough: — 

"I have not time to say more, but to beg you will 
give my duty to the queen, and let her know her army 


has had a glorious victory. M. Tallard and two other 
generals are in my coach, and I am following the rest 
The bearer, my aid-de-camp, Colonel Parke, will give her 
an accomit of what has passed. I shall do it in a day or 
two by another more at large.* Marlborough. 

«ui«^i«<13, 1704." 

It is a high honor to be the bearer of tidings of victory 
to a monarch, and at that time a reward of £500 was 
usually given by the sovereigns of England for such 
services. Colonel Parke, whose estate was ample, re- 
quested Queen Anne to give him her portrait instead. 
The request was granted, and the portrait was painted in 
miniature, and set with diamonds. Colonel Parke's por- 
trait, painted in 1707, shows this miniature pendant from 
his neck by a red ribbon, Marlborough's despatch to the 
queen in his right hand, and the battle of Blenheim in 
the backgroimd. Another portrait of Colonel Parke, 
painted by Kneller, is stiU in the possession of William 
Dillon, Esq., whose late wife was his great-niece. 

It appears by the following letter to his daughter, that 
Colonel Parke went to Flanders as a volunteer, where, 
doubtless, his gallant conduct won for him his appoint- 
ment in the stajff of Marlborough : — 

« St. James, 1702. 

« My Dear Fanny : I am going a volunteer under the 
Duke of Marlborough, to Flanders, where I served also 
in the last campaign with my Lord Arron, the Duke of 

* This battle was fought on thd 2d of Angtist, 1704, between the English and 
oonfederates, commanded by Marlborough, and the French and Bavarians nnder 
BCaishal Tallard and the Elector of Bavaria. The loss of the latter was twenty- 
teven thousand killed and thirteen thousand prisoners. The English nation re- 
warded Marlborough with a large domain, and erected for him one of the finest seatf 
la the kingdomi known as the domafai and house of Blenheim. 

24 MEMOm OF 

Ormond's brother, and was in every action. God knows 
if I may ever see you more, but if I do not^ I shall take 
care to leave you and your sister in very happy circum- 
stances, therefore do not throw yourself away upon the 
first idle young man that offers if you have a mind to 
marry. I know it is the desire of all young people to be 
married, and though very few are as happy after mar- 
riage as before, yet every one is willing to make the 
experiment at their own expense. Consider who you 
marry is the greatest concern to you in the world. Be 
kind and good-natiu:ed to all yoiu: servants. It is much 
better to have them love you than fear you. My heart 
is in Virginia, and the greatest pleasure I propose to 
myself is the seeing you and your sister happy. That 
you may be ever so, is the earnest desire of your afieo- 
tionate father, « Daniel Paeke. 

^ I got some reputation last summer, which I hope I 
shall not lose this ; I am promised the first old regiment 
that shall fall, being now made a colonel.'' 

Colonel Parke was afterward commissioned a general, 
and appointed governor of the Leeward islands. An 
old book in the Arlington library, written by George 
French, contains an account of his administration there, 
and of the rebellion in Antigua, by which it seems 
that he became obnoxious to a seditious faction, was 
overpowered by numbers, and when there were no hopes 
of safety showed an imdaunted resolution. When 1 e 
had scarcely a second left, in a personal defence, he de- 
fied the whole strength of the rebels, till at last> he 
received a shot in his thigh, which, though not mortal, 
disabled him, and he fell into the enemy's hands. 


* They had now an opportunity of sending him away 
to what place and in what manner they think fit," says 
the accoimt^ " but instead thereof, they use him with the 
utmost contempt and inhumanity. They strip him of 
his clothes, kick, spurn at, and beat him with the butts 
of their muskets, by which means, at last, they break his 
back. They drag him out into the streets by a leg and 
arm, and his head trails and beats from step to step of 
the stone stairs at the entrance of his house, and he is 
dragged on the coarse gravelly streei^ which raked the 
skin from his bones. 

*^ These cruelties and tortures force tears from his 
eyes, and in this condition he is left expiring, exposed 
to the scorching sun, out of the heat of which he begs 
to be removed. The good-natured woman, who, at his 
request, brought him water to quench his thirst, is 
threatened by one Samuel Watkins to have a sword 
passed through her for her hmnanity, and the water is 
dashed out of her hands. He is insulted and reviled by 
every scoundrel, in the agonies of death, but makes no 
other return but these mild expressions : ' Gentlemen, if 
you have no sense of honor left, pray have some of 
humanity.' He gratefiiUy owns the kindness of friends, 
and prays God to reward those who stood by him that 
day. At last he was removed into the house of one Mr. 
John Wright, near the place where he lay, and there, 
reconmiending his soul to Gt>d, with some pious ejacula- 
tions, he pays the great debt of nature, and death, less 
cruel than his enemies, put a period to his sufferinga 

*^ After they had surfeited themselves with cruelties, 
they plundered the general's house and broke open his 
store-houses, so that his estate must have suffered by 

26 MEHOm OF 

that day in money, plate, jewels, clothes, and household 
goods, by the most moderate computation, five thousand 
pounds sterling, for which his executors have obtained 
no satisfaction to this day. Thus died Colonel Parke, 
whose brave end shows him suflBciently deserving of the 
commission he bore, and by his death acquired an honor 
to his memory, which the base aspersions of his enemies 
could not overthrow." This tragedy occurred on the 
7th of December, 1710. 

Colonel Parke's will, in which he devised all of his for- 
tune in the Leeward islands to an illegitimate daughter, 
on condition that she should take his name and coat-o£ 
arms, naturally gave great oflfence to his children, and a 
tedious law-suit was the consequence. His legal de- 
scendants are still in possession of much of his property 
in Virginia^ and part of the handsome service of plate 
presented to him by Queen Anne. His friends maintain 
that in his public career his life was irreproachable, and 
that loyalty to the queen was the cause of his destruc- 
tion ; yet his royal mistress forgot her favorite, allowed 
his murderers to hold his government of Antigua, and 
never remunerated his heirs for the losses sustained in 
her cause. The treatment he received is an emphatic 
example of the wisdom of the injunction, ^ Put not your 
trust in princes." 

Among the old family papers at Arlington house, I 
have found many amusing and interesting letters, written 
by Colonel William Byrd, of Westover (to whom refe^ 
ence has already been made), who as we have observed, 
married a daughter of Colonel Parke, and was for a long 
time in London after the death of his father-in-law, at- 
tending to the settlement of that gentleman's estate. 


As some of these letters have reference to family matters, 
and are interesting in themselves, 1 insert a few, believ- 
ing that they are not out of place here, considering their 
connection. They are addressed to Colonel John Ciistis, 
his brother-in-law. 

The following letter, in which reference is made to 
Colonel Parke, was written in Virginia two years before 
the tragedy occurred in Antigua : — 

« Octoler, 1709. 
**I have lately be^n favored with an unusual pleasure 
from Antigua, in which I find we have not altogether 
been forgotten. Our Father Parke says his time was 
very short and he could not write to you then^ but is 
much in charity with us all. I give you joy on the 
blessing you have had of a daughter, and hope she will be 
an ornament to the sex, and a happiness to her parents. 
Our son sends you his dutiful respects, and I may ven- 
ture to say, as much for Miss Evelyn, who has grown a 
great romp, and enjoys very robust health. How is 
Madam Dunn ? for there goes a prophecy about, that in 
the eastern parts of Virginia a parson's wife will, in the 
year of our Lord, 1710, have four children at a birth, 
one of which wiU be an admiral, and another Archbishop 
of Canterbury. What the other two will prove, the sybil 
can not positively say, but doubtless they will be some- 
thing extraordinary. 

^ My choicest compliments to Mrs. Custis, and if Mrs. 
Dunn be not too demure a prude, now she is related to 
Hie church, I would send her my salutes in the best form, 
^ Your most affectionate humble servant, 

W. Byrd. 
" To Colonel Johk Custis.** 


On the 21st of January, 1715, Colonel Byrd wrote to' 
Colonel Custis, from London, as follows : — 

^ Tis a singular pleasure to hear by my brigantine of 
my dear brother's recovery from so sharp and tedious an 
illness. I long to be with you, for this place, that used 
to have so many charms is very tasteless, and though my 
person is here, my heart is in Virginia. My affairs suc- 
ceed well enough, but aU solicitation goes on very slowly 
by reason that the ministry is taken up with the Rebel- 
lion, which is still as flagrant as ever in Scotland, and 
my patron, the Duke of Argyle, commands there against 
them * I am in perfect peace with all concerned in 
debts due from Colonel Parke. I have paid the most 
importunate, and allow interest for the bonds I can not 
yet discharge, and should be very easy if I could get the 
interest of his customhouse debt remitted, which I do 
not yet despair of. I wish my dear brother a full con- 
firmation of his health. If he has the courage to venture 
upon another wife, I hope he will be more easy in his 
second choice than he was in his firstf 

" I am, with most entire affection, dear brother, 

"Your most obedient servant, W. Bybd." 

* King James IL, wu driven from the English throne in 1688. In 1715 his son, 
Edward, made an nnsnccessful attempt, through the aid of the Scotch, to regain the 
throne of his father, as his ancle, Charles II., had that of his sire, in 1660. This 
effort produced quite a serious rehellion. A grandson of King James made another 
attempt to recover the throne by the aid of the Scotch, in 1745, and a still more seri- 
ous rebellion was the consequence. The father and son who made these attempts, 
are known in history as the Old and the Young Pretenders. 

t At about this time Colonel Byrd purchased a watch in London for Colonel 
Custis, and in a letter that accompanied it to Virginia, he said : " I forebode this to 
be a sort of equipage with which you intend to set out a courting. The misfortune is, 
that you can not with tolerable decency draw forth your watch in presence of your 
mistress without giving her some suspicion that you measure the time yon spend in 
her company." 


Again, on the 2d of October, 1716, Colonel Byrd wrote 
from London to Colonel Custis, as follows: — 

**It is a great surprise to you as to many others, that 
Mr. Roscow has been made receiver-general.* I confess, 
if I had given away the place, it is likely Mr. Roscow is 
not the person in the world I should soonest have given 
it to, but if you put the case that I sold it, you would 
not wonder that I should dispose of it to so fair a bidder 
as he was; and, indeed, I fancy there are not many 
would have given £500 for it. Besides, it is not an easy 
matter to transfer an office depending upon the treasury ; 
and if I should have taken so much time as to send 
over to Virginia to treat with any person there, I might 
have slipt my opportunity and lost my market This 
being the case, you will cease to wonder at the matter. 
The kind visit which my wife has made me will be the 
occasion of my staying here another winter, that so she 
may see this town in all its glory ; and I am the more 
content to tarry, because the lieutenant-governor has 
sent over a spiteful complaint against me and Colonel 
Ludwell, which it concerns me to answer. I assure 
you it was not my apprehension of being removed by 
any complaint that might be formed against me that 
made me resign ; but such an office as that of receiver- 
general of the king's revenue makes a man liable to be 
ill-treated by a governor, under the notion of advancing 
his majesty's interest, by which pio\is pretence he may 

* Beceiyer-generml of the colony of Vii^'nia, held br Colonel Byrd at that time. 
This letter lifts the yeil from the secret workings of the old colonial government, 
when placemen disposed of offices to the highest bidders ; for then, as now, there 
were laige opportanities for public plunder. The pwpU then had little to say con- 
cerning the administration of public affairs, especially by those aijpointed by the 

30 UEMom OF 

heap insupportable trouble upon that officer, if he should 
have the spirit to oppose his will and pleasure — he 
must either be a slave to his humor, must fawn upon 
him, and jump over a stick whenever he is bid, or else 
he must have so much trouble loaded upon him aa to 
make his place uneasy. In short, such a man must be 
either the govemor^s dog or his ass ; neither of which 
stations suit in the least with my constitution. For this 
reason I resolved to make the most of it by surrender- 
ing to any one that would come up to my price, well 
knowing that my interest in the treasury was suffi- 
cient to do it, and now I am at full liberty to oppose 
every design that may seem to be arbitrary or unjust 
The current news which you had of my being governor 
of the Leeward Islands, expresses very naturally the 
genius of our country for invention, I protest to you it 
never once entered into my head to sue for that gov- 

^ God in heaven bless you and your two little cherubs, 
to whom I wish all happiness, being your most affection- 
ate brother. 

At this time Colonel Byrd wrote as follows to an un- 
known female friend : — 

^1 have been made happy with several of Irene^s let- 
tei'S, and at this time stand in need of most diversion to 
support me under the melancholy I suflfer for my dear 
Fidelia's absence. I fear you are too busy in copying 
after the wise women that Solomon describes, to spend 
much of yom* time upon how do ye's. But remember 
that the consequence of care is early wrinkles, and what- 
ever you may get by it, you will be sure to lose in 


peace and constitutioii. They tell me you have been 
immoderately afflicted for the loss of your * dear Poppet/ 
but> by the terms on which it was born, you were to part 
with it when its Maker pleased. You ought to have re- 
flected that Providence acts by unerring wisdom, and 
Hierefore would never had recalled its gifts but because 
it was better so than the contrary would be. God Al- 
mighty is ever contriving for our happiness, and does 
many things for our good which appear to our short 
'sight to be terrible misfortunes. But by the time the 
last act of the play comes on, we grow convinced of our 
mistake, and look back with pleasure to those scenes 
which at first appeared unfortunate. This is the case in 
most accidents that are called disasters, misery, and many 
other terms, which our ignorance gives them. We should 
imitate the philosopher that we read of, who, when he 
heard of his son's death, cahnly observed, that he was 
saved from the evil to come ; and of the misconduct of his 
wife, told his friend without any disorder, that he knew 
he had married a vmrum. This equality of temper 
would save the world abundance of sighs and com- 
plaints, especially that part of it that acknowleges 
itself in the care of a wise and merciful God. 

^ Pardon me, dear Irene, for preaching, which is ill-bred, 
because it supposes that the party stands in need of it 
However, I can excuse the rudeness by pleading the in- 
finite inclination I have for your happiness. I would 
have you without faulty which will suppose you without 
any misfortune." 

Toward the close of the year 1716, Colonel Byrd 
wrote to Colonel Custis, as follows : — 

^ My daughter, Evelyn, has arrived safe, thank God, and 


1 hope I shall manage her in such a manner, that she 
may be no discredit to her country. I am endeavoring 
to get something jGrom the treasury for your children 
and mine, but as the success of it is somewhat doubtful, 
I will mention no more about it till it shall be deteiv 
mined. I do long to see you, but can hardly persuade 
myself to return till I can get it decided, whether a 
governor may hang any man he takes to be his adver- 
sary or not. For if it be in his power to appoint me 
my judges, I am sure I won't come within his reach lest 
I fall a sacrifice to his resentment However, I am 
laboring with all my might to hinder so great a power 
from being lodged in any bashaw, lest they be too much 
inclined to make use of it. We have got both the to- 
bacco law and that about the Indian trade repealed, 
which I hope may not be unacceptable to the country. 
I wish you, and your dear, pretty children, all health and 
happiness, being with all my love, dear brother, your 
most obedient, humble servant W. Byrd." 

Shortly 'after this. Colonel Byrd conveyed to Colonel 
Oustis very melancholy intelligence, as follows : — 

" London, IBth December, 1716. 

^ When I wrote last I little expected that I should be 
forced to tell you the very melancholy news of my dear 
Lucy's death, by the very same, cruel distemper that 
destroyed her sister. She was taken with an insupport- 
able pain in her head. The doctor soon discovered her 
ailment to be the small-pox, and we thought it best to 
tell her the danger.* She received the news without 

* Two years later than this (1718), Lady Mary Wortley Montagu returned from 
Constantinople, and introdnced the practice of inoculation for the small-pox, which 
she had learned while in that eastern city. Vaccination was introduced by Jenneri 
about the year 1776. 


the least fright^ and was persuaded she would live until 
the day she died^ which happened in 12 hours from the 
time she was taken. Gracious God what pains did she 
take to make a voyage hither to seek a grave. No 
stranger ever met with more respect in a strange coun« 
try than she had done here, from many persons of dis- 
tinction, who all pronounced her an honor to Virginia. 
Alas ! how proud was I of her, and how severely am I 
punii^ed for it But I can dwell no longer on so afflict- 
ing a subject^ much less can I think of anything else, 
therefore, I can only recommend myself to your pity, 
and am as much as any one can be, dear brother, your 
most affectionate and humble servant, W. Byrd." 

Eetuming from this long digression, we will resiune" 
the memoir of the author of the RecoUectiom. 

George Washington Parke Custis was bom at Mount 
Airy, Maryland, on the thirtieth of April, 1781. That 
was the seat of his maternal grandfather, Benedict Cal- 
vert, a descendant of Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore.* 
The walls of this venerable mansion are graced with 
find portraits . of several of the Lords Baltimore, by 
Vandyke ; and one of Eleanor Calvert, the mother of 
Mr. Custis. It represents a young lady of a romantic 
and slight figure in a riding costume, with a boy's hat 
and open jacket She seems scarcely fifteen, with a 
bright and hopeful countenance. Such was her temper- 
ament^ we are told, through all the toils of life. The com- 
mencement of her career was brilliant enougL Married 
at sixteen to John Parke Custis, a youth of nineteen, 

* Cecil Calyert was dra aeeond Lord Baltimore, and son of the fint of that title, 
who obtained from Charles the First a charter for a domain in America, which, in 
honor of his Queen, Henriette BCarie (Maiy), he called Mcayland. 



the ward and fetvorite of Washington, the only son of 
Mrs. Washington, of large fortune, and a most amiable 
and generous disposition, they passed several years at 
Abingdon, a comitry-seat on the Potomac, near Wash- 
ington city, in the enjoyment of such felicity aa rarely 
falls to the lot of mortals 

Afler the death of Mrs. Washington's daughter, al- 
ready mentioned, the hopes of the mother centred in 
this son, who was then between sixteen and seventeen 
years of age. She was extremely indulgent to him, 
and she often pleaded in his behal]^ when Washington 
found it necessary to exercise a wholesome restraint 
upon him. He was placed under the care of an episco- 
pal clergyman, at Annapolis, in Maryland, to be educated, 
but the wayward boy was frequently away from his 
studies, engaged in fox-hunting and other amusements 
at Mount Vernon. He conceived a strong desire to 
travel, but Washington opposed a scheme that would 
interrupt his studies. It was abandoned, but he soon 
became diverted from his books by a passion stronger 
than a desire to travel. He became deeply enamored 
of Eleanor, the second daughter of Benedict Calvert, of 
Mount Airy, Maryland, and much to the concern of 
Washington, when he discovered it, they formed a matri- 
monial engagement. His only objection was their ex- 
treme youth ; and on the third of April, 1773, he ad- 
dressed the following letter to Mr. Calvert : — 

"Mount Vkrnon, April 3rd, 1773. 

"Dear Sm: I am now set down to write to you on a 

subject of importance, and of no small embarrassment 

to me. My son-in-law and ward, Mr. Custis, has, as I 

have been informed, paid his addresses to your second 


daughter^ and, liaving made some progress in her affec- 
tions, has solicited her in marriage. How far a union of 
this sort may be agreeable to you, you best can tell ; but 
I should think myself wanting in candor, were I not to 
CQufess, that Miss Nelly's amiable qualities are acknowl- 
edged on all hands, and that an alliance with your family 
will be pleasing to his. 

^ This acknowledment being made, you must permit 
me to add, sir, that at this, or in any short time, his 
youth, inexperience, and unripened education, are, and 
will be, insuperable obstacles, in my opinion, to the com- 
pletion of the marriage. As his guardian, I consider it 
my indispensable duty to endeavor to carry him through 
a regular course of education (many branches of which, 
I am sorry to add, he is totally deficient in), and to 
guard his youth to a more advanced age, before an 
event, on which his own peace and the happiness of an- 
other are to depend, takes place. Not that I have any 
doubt of the warmth of his affections, nor, I hope I may 
add, any fears of a change in them ; but at present I do 
not conceive that he is capable of bestowing that atten- 
tion to the important consequences of the married state, 
which is necessary to be given by those who are about 
to enter into it^ and of course I am unwilling he should 
do it till he is. J£ the affection which they have avowed 
for each other is fixed upon a solid basis, it will receive 
no diminution in the course of two or three years, in 
which time he may prosecute his studies, and thereby 
render himself more deserving of the lady, and useful 
to society. If, unfortunately, as they are both yoimg, 
there should be an abatement of affection on either side, 
or both, it had better precede than follow marriage. 

86 MEMOm OF 

^ Delivering my sentiments thus freely will not^ I hope, 
lead you into a belief that I am desirous of breaking off 
the match. To postpone it is all I have in view; for I 
shall recommend to the young gentleman, with the 
warmth that becomes a man of honor (notwithstanding 
he did not vouchsafe to consult either his mother or me 
on the occasion), to consider himself as much engaged 
to your daughter as if the indissoluble knot were tied ; 
and, as the surest means of effecting this, to apply him- 
self closely to his studies (and in this advice, I flatter 
myself, you will join me), by which he will, in a great 
measure, avoid those little flirtations with other young 
ladies, that may, by dividing the attention, contribute 
not a little to divide the affection. 

" It may be expected of me, perhaps, to say something 
of property ; but^ to descend tx) particular^, at this time, 
must seem rather premature. In general, therefore, I 
shall inform you, that Mr. Custis's estate consists of 
about fifteen thousand acres^ of land, a good part of it 
adjoining the city of Williamsburg, and none of it forty 
miles from that place; several lots in the said city; 
between two and three hundred negroes; and about 
eight or ten thousand poimds upon bond, and in the 
hands of his merchants. This estate he now holds, inde- 
pendent of his mother's dower, which will be an addition 
to it at her death ; and, upon the whole, it is such an 
estate as you will readily acknowledge, ought to entitle 
him to a handsome portion with a wife. But as I should 
never require a child of my own to make a sacrifice of 
himself to interest, so neither do I think it incumbent 
on me to recommend it as a guardian. 

At all times when you, Mrs. Calvert, or the young 


ladies can make it convenient to favor us with a visits 
we should Jbe happy in seeing you at this place. Mrs. 
Washington and Miss Custis. join me in respectM com- 
pliments, and, 

" I am, dear sir, your most obedient servant.'* 

It was agreed that the youth should pass two years 
at college, before the marriage could take place. He 
was sent to King's (now Columbia) college, in New York 
city, but he remained there only a few months. Love 
and learning did not move in harmony, and on the third 
of Februaiy, 1774, young Custis was married to Miss 
Calvert, when the bridegroom was a little more than 
nineteen years of age. \ 

Four children were the fruits of this unioA, all born at \ 
Abingdon, except George Washington Parke. Elizabeth 
Parke was bom on the twenty-first of August, 1776, and . 
married Mr. Law, nephew of Lord Ellenborough. She i 
was a lady of great beauty and talent Martha Parke \ 
was bom on the thirty-first of December, 1777, and was ' 
early married to Thomas Peter. She was a woman of 
fine and dignified appearance. Her husband was a man 
of wealth, and great excellence of character; and she , 
passed her long life in the conscientous performance of \ 
all her domestic duties. Eleanor Parke, bom on the ■ 
twenty-first of March, 1779, married Lawrence Lewis, ^ 
the favorite nephew of General Washington., George 
Washington Parke, the youngest child, first saw the 
light, as we have observed, at Mount Airy, in April, 

Very soon the bright sky that illumined the household 
of John Parke Custis and his young wife became dark- 

38 MEMOm OF 

ened. He ,was aid-de-camp to General Washington at 
the siege of Yorktown, A violent attack of camp-fever 
obliged him to leave his post for Eltham, a place not far 
distant General Washington hastened thither as soon 
as possible, but was met at the door by Dr. Craik, who 
informed him that all was over. The chief bowed his 
head, and in tears gave vent to his deep sorrow ; then 
turning to the weeping mother, he said : " I adopt the 
two younger children as my own.'** Thus, at six months 
of age, did my father, the subject of this Memoir, 
become the child of Moimt Vernon, the idol of his 
grandmother, and an object on which was lavished the 
caresses and attention of the many distinguished guests 
who thronged that hospitable mansion. His beautiful sis- 
ter Nelly often observed : ^ Grandmamma always spoiled 
Washington." fie was *^the pride of her heart," while 
the public duties of the veteran prevented the exercise 
of his influence in forming the character of the boy, 
too softly nurtured under his roof, and gifted with 
talents which, under a sterner discipline, might have 
been made more available for his own and his coimtiys 

It was not until he entered the college at Princeton, 
that the attention of the "father" was particularly 
diawn to those faults, which should have been cor- 
rected at an earlier period. The deep solicitude which 
these faults occasioned may be estimated, in a meas- 
ure, by the correspondence between Washington and 
the son of his adoption, appended to this Memoir, 

At the time of the birth of Eleanor (the eldest of the 
two children adopted by Washington), her mother was 

.* Geoige Washington Parke Costis, and Eleanor Parke Cutis. 


very ill, and Mrs. Washington took the child to Mount 
Vernon, to be nursed by the wife of the steward, a 
healthy English woman named Anderson, who had lost 
her infant She oaQed Mrs. Anderson ^ mammy," and 
remembered running with her to meet the General and 
Lady Washington, on their return from camp in a car- 
riage drawn by six horses. She was then three years 
old, having remained all that time under the care of 
Mrs. Lund Washington, the wife of the general's agent. 
Her young brother, George, was nursed by the same 

A daughter of Mrs. Lewis, (formerly Eleanor Parke 
Custis) informed the writer that their first tutor was 
Gideon Snow. "I saw him when I was in Boston," 
she said, "in 1824. He called with a grown daughter 
to see my mother, and talked of ^little George,' and 
seemed sincerely attached to both his pupils, and to be 
himself respected and beloved in Boston,"* Their sec- 

* The following letter, written to Mr. Castis hy bis old tator, after the lapse of 
more than fifty years, possesses macfa interest : — 

"BosTOW, 1th March, 1850. 

" Mt Dsak Fbibnd : I am much gratified by receiving yoor esteemed letter of 
dd instant yesterday. Ton ask a copy of your letter of ancient date. With pleas- 
ure I comply with your reqaest. The original has been preserved with care and 
interest, for the love I bore the writer ; bat if the writer has a wish to possess it, I 
•hall be gratified to send it to him. I received it enclosed by oar mataal friend, Mr. 
Lear, in a letter, which I can not find, bat recollect he informed me it was written 
at yonr own reqaest, on a very warm afternoon. When finished yon expressed yonr 
wish to have it forwarded. Mr. Lear requested me to retain it with care, as it was 
the first letter yon had expressed a wish to write, and the time woald come when 
yon would reoeive pleasure in seeing it shoald yonr life be spared. 

" I showed yon the letter when I had the pleasure of meeting you in Boston, after 
an absence of more than fifty years. I do not recollect naming the date at any time. 
I might hare done so— -the date Is 1787, instead of 1785 as named by you. 

" In looking over a few of Mr. Lear's letters, which I have retained, I see, under 
date July 9th, 1787, 'I have a message : Washington sends his love to yon, and 
says you are not a man of your word, for you promised to come down here on Snn> 

40 liEMom OF 

ond tutor was Mr. Lear, afterward private secretaiy to 
General Washington, who lived at the president's house 
in Philadelphia. 

Nelly Custis was considered one of the most beautiM 
women of the day, to which her portrait^ at Arlington 
house, by Gilbert Stuart, bears testimony. All who knew 
her can recall the pleasure which they derived from 
her extensive information, brilliant wit, and boundless 
generosity. The most tender parent and devoted fiiend, 
she lived in the enjojnnent of her affections.'^ She was 
often urged to write her memoirs, which might even 
have surpassed, in interest to her countrymen, those of 
Madame de Sevigne and others of equal note, as her 
pen gave free utterance to her lively imagination and 
clear memory. Would that we could recall the majiy 
tales of the past we have heard from her lips, but alas I 
we should fail to give them accurately. One narrative 

day and did pot'^Mj inclination was good, but a call to another act prevented. 
Wlien we met again yoar interest did not appear diminished. On the 9th Jannary, 
1788, 'handsome soft black cloth was parchased for your coat and overalls.' Dec. 
18, 1788, 1 was asked to inquire of Dr. Craik where he procured the Latin grammar 
for his sons, ' as I am about initiating my young pupil in that language.' These 
extracts may amuse. From your dear, departed mother I always received maternal 
kindness. The recollection of her will never pass from me. I passed one Sunday at 
Hope Park very happily. Your dear mother and your sisters were present. Mrs. 
Snow requests her respectful remembrance. I thought of you at Bichmond with 
the president I imagined yon happy in the enjoyments of the interesting scene. 
I thank you for your kind wishes, and sincerely reciprocate them. 

" GiDBON Show." 

The following is the copy of the letter alluded to by Mr. Snow : — 

"Mount Vkbhoit,. Ifay 12tA, 1787. 

** Deab Snow : I should be very happy to see you here if you can find time to 
come down. When will you send my waggon to me ? For my old one is almost 
worn out, and I shall have none to get in my harvest with. 
I am, dear Snow, your friend, &c., 

Very H'ble Serv't, G. W. P. Custis." 

* She died in Clarke county, Vuginia, in 1852, at the age of seventy-four years. 


is retained, as it made a strong impression at the time. 
She said the most perfect harmony always existed ^^ be- 
tween her grandmamma and the general;" that in all 
his intercourse with her he was most considerate and 
tender. She had often seen her when she had some- 
thing to communicate, or a request to make, at a mo- 
ment when his mind was entirely abstracted £rom the 
present, seize him by the button to command his atten- 
tion, when he would look down upon her with a most 
benignant smile, and become at once attentive to her 
and her wishes, which were never slighted. She also 
said, the grave dignity which he usually wore did not 
prevent his keen enjoyment of a joke, and that no 
one laughed more heartily than he did, when she, her- 
self a gay, laughing girl, gave one of her saucy descrip- 
tions of any scene in which she had taken part, or 
any one of the merry pranks she then often played; 
and that he would retire from the room in which her 
young companions were amusing themselves^ because 
his presence created a reserve which they could not 
overcome. But he always regretted it exceedingly, as 
he liked nothing better than to look on at their sports 
and see them happy. His letter to her on the occasion 
of her first ball, may be so appropriately introduced 
here, that we give it entire, precisely as it was written 
in the original, now before us. Miss Custis was then 
about sixteen years of age. 

**Phila., January 16, 1795. 
"Your letter, the receipt of which I am now acknowl- 
edging, is written correctly and in fair characters, which 
is an evidence that you command, when you please, a 
fidr hand Possessed of these advantages, it will be 


your own fault if you do not avail yourself of them, 
and attention being paid to the choice of your subjects, 
you can have nothing to fear from the malignancy of 
criticism, as your ideas are lively, and your descriptions 
agreeable. Let me touch a little now on your George- 
town ball, and happy, thrice happy, for the fair who 
were assembled on the occasion, that there was a man 
to spare ; for had there been 79 ladies and only 78 gen- 
tlemen, there might, in the course of the evening, have 
been some disorder among the caps; notwithstanding 
the apathy which one of the company entertains for the 
'youtJi of the present day, and her determination * never 
to give herself a moment's uneasiness on account of any 
of them/ A hint here ; men and women feel the same 
inclinations to each other now that they always have 
done, and which they will continue to do until there ia 
a new order of things, and yow, as others have done, 
may find, perhaps, that the passions of your sex are 
easier raised than allayed. Do not, therefore, boast too 
soon or too strongly of your insensibility to, or resist- 
ance of, its powers. In the composition of the human 
firame there is a good deal of inflammable matter, how- 
ever dormant it may lie for a time, and like an inti- 
mate acquaintance of yours, when the torch is put to it^ 
that which is witUn t/ou may burst into a blaze ; for which 
reason, and especially too, as I have entered upon the 
chapter of advices, I will read you a lecture drawn 
from this text 

^ Love is said to be an involuntary passion, and it is, 
therefore, contended that it can not be resisted. This 
is trae in part only, for like all things else, when nour- 
ished and supplied plentifully with aliment, it is rapid in 


its progress; but let these be withdrawn and it may 
be stiQed in its birth or much stinted in its growth, 
For example, a woman (the same may be said of the 
other sex) all beautiful and accomplished, will, while her 
hand and heart are undisposed o^ torn the heads and 
eet the circle in which she moves on fire. Let her 
marry, and what is the consequence. The madness 
ceases and all is quiet again. Why? not because there 
is any diminution in the charms of the lady, but because 
there is an end of hope. Hence it follows, that love 
may and therefore ought to be under the guidance of 
reason, for although we can not avoid first impressions, 
we may assuredly place them under guard; and my 
motives for treating on this subject are to show you, 
while you remain Eleanor Parke Custis, spinster, and 
retain the resolution to love with moderation, the pro- 
priety of adhering to the latter resolution, at least imtil 
you have secured your game, and the way by which it 
may be accomplished. 

^ When the fire is beginning to kindle, and your heart 
growing warm, propound these questions to it. Who is 
this invader? Have I a competent knowledge of him? 
Is he a man of good character; a man of sense ? For, 
be assured, a sensible woman can never be happy with a 
fooL What has been his walk of life ? Is he a gambler, 
a spendthrift, or drunkard ? Is his fortune sufficient to 
maintain me in the manner I have been accustomed to 
live, and my sisters do live, and is he one to whom my 
friends can have no reasonable objection ? If these in- 
terrogatories can be satisfactorily answered, there will 
remain but one more to be asked, that, however, is an 
important one. Have I sufficient ground to conclude 

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8on of his only sister, Elizabeth, of whose remarkable 
resemblance to the general, mention is made in the 
memoir of their mother, given in the BeeoBeetians. They 
were married on the twenty-second of February (Wash- 
ington's birthday), 1799. A month before, Washington 
wrote to his nephew, as follows : — 

"Mount Vernow, 2Sd January^ 1799. 

**Dear Lawrence: Yoiur letter of the 10th instant I 
received in Alexandria, on Monday, whither I went to 
become the guardian of Nelly, thereby to authorize a 
license for your nuptials on the 22d of next month, 
when, I presume, if your health is restored, there will be 
no impediment to your union.* 

^ The letters herewith sent were received two or three 
days ago ; and until your letter of the above date came 
to hand, I knew not with certainty to what place to 
direct them. They are put tmder cover to your brother 
of Fredericksburgh, to await your arrival at that place. 

*^I enclose the one to your lieutenant, Mr. Lawrence 
Washington, for safety, and because it may be necessary 
that you should have a conference with him respecting 
the plan for recruiting your troops when the order and 
the means for doing so are received. All, however, that 
you, Washington, and Custis, have to do at present, is 
simply to acknowledge the receipt of the letter firom the 

* The following letter, antborising the license, is oopied fifom the original, which 
ii eddreeied ** To CH>tain Qeoige Deneale, clerk of Pnirfia county court :"— 

'<MouHT Vbbvox, 19e& FA. 1799. 
"8»: Ton will pletae to great a license for the manlage of Eleanor Parko 
Cnstia with Lawrence Lewis, and this shall be jonr anthoiitf for so doing. 
•'From sir, 
** Witneu, " Yoar reiy humble serrant, 

'^Thomas Pbtsx. «G. Washinotov. 

"Gbobob W. p. Custis." 


secretary of war, to inform him whether you do, or do 
not accept the appointment, and in either case to request 
him to thank the president for the honor he has con- 
ferred on you in making it* Perhaps, as this acknowl- 
edgment will not he as prompt as might have been ex- 
pected from you and Custis (for it was supposed that 
both of you were to be found at Mount Vernon), it 
would not be amiss if you were to add, that being on an 
excursion into the upper coimtry is the cause of it. All 
here^ as I presmne you wQl learn from a more pleasing 
pen, are well; I therefore shall only add, that I am, dear 
sir, your sincere friend and affectionate uncle, 

*^Ge0. WASmNGTON. 
"Mr. Law. Lewis." 

A few months after this, Washington wrote to his 
nephew, as follows, in reply to a letter from the young 
husband concerning a portion of the Moimt Vernon es- 
tate. Little did any of the parties then suppose, that in 
less than three months, the hand that penned this letter 
would be paralyzed by death, and that the wiU written 
by that hand, would so soon call for executors : — 

"Mount Vebnon, 20th September, 179D. 

^ Bear Sir : From the moment Mrs. Washington and 
myself adopted the two youngest children of the late 

• When, in the rammer of 1798, long-pending^ difficaUies with France seemed to 
be tending toward speedy war, the Congress anthorized qnite a large standing armj, 
And appointed Washington commander-in-chief, with General Alexander Hamilton 
as his first lientenant. Washington consented to accept the appointment, only on 
condition that General Hamilton should be acting commander-in-chief, unless cir^ 
comstances should make it necessary for the retired president to take the field. 
Many young men, especially of families of rerolntionary veterans, aspired to mili- 
tary honors at this time. Among others who received commissions, were those al- 
luded to in this letter, namely, Lawrence Lewis, Lawrence Washington, and George 
Washington Patke Custis. They were never called to the field, as the storm of war 
passed by without bursting upon the land. 


Mr. Custis, it became my intention (if they survived me 
and conducted themselves to my satisfaction) to con- 
sider them in my will when I was about to make a dis- 
tribution of my property. This determination has un- 
dergone no diminution^ but is strengthened by the con- 
nection one of them hsa formed with my family. 

" The expense at which I live, and the improductive- 
ness of my estate, will not allow me to lessen my income 
while I remain in my present situation. On the con- 
trary, were it not for occasional supplies of money in 
payment for lands sold within the last four or five years, 
to the amount of upwards of fifty thousand dollars, I 
should not be able to support the former without in- 
volving myself in debt and difl&culties. 

^ But as it has been understood &om expressions occa- 
sionally dropped from Nelly Custis, now your wife, that 
it is the wish of you both to settle in this neighborhood, 
contiguous to her friends, and as it would be inexpedient, 
as well as expensive, for you to make a purchase of land, 
when a measure which is in contemplation would place 
you on more eligible ground, I shall inform you, that in 
the will which I have made, which I have by me, and have 
no disposition to alter, that the part of my Mount Vernon 
tract, which lies north of the public road leading from the 
Gum spring to Colchester, containing about two thousand 
acres, with the Dogue-river farm, mill, and distillery, I 
have left you. Gray's heights is bequeathed to you and 
her jointly, if you incline to build on it, and few better 
sites for a house than Gray's hill and that range, are to 
be found in this coimtry or elsewhere. 

*^Tou may also have what is properly Dogue-run 
farm^ the mill, and distillery, on a just and equitable 

48 MEMom OF 

rent ; as also the lands belonging thereto, on a reason- 
able hire, either next year or the year following, it being 
necessary, in my opinion, that a yoimg man should have 
objects of employment Idleness is disreputable under 
any circumstances, productive of no good, even when 
unaccompanied by vicious habits, and you nught com- 
mence building as soon as you please, during the progress 
of which Moimt Vernon might be made your home. 

^ Tou may conceive, that building before you have an 
absolute title to the land is hazardous. To obviate this, 
I shall only remark, that it is not likely any occurrence 
will happen, or any change take place that would alter 
my present intention (if the conduct of yourself and wife 
is such as to merit a continuance of it) ; but be this as it 
may, that you may proceed on sure groimd with respect 
to the buildings, I will agree, and this letter shall be an 
evidence of it, that if hereafter I should find cause to 
make any other disposition of the property here men- 
tioned, I will pay the actual cost of such buildings to 
you or yours. 

** Although I have not the most distant idea that any 
event will happen that could effect a change in my 
present determination, nor any suspicions that you or 
Nelly could conduct yourselves in such a manner as to 
incur my serious displeasure, yet^ at the same time; that 
I am inclined to do justice to others, it behooves me to 
take care of myself, by keeping the staff in my own 

^ That you may have a more perfect idea of the landed 
property I have bequeathed to you and Nelly in my will, 
I transmit a plan of it, every part of which is correctly 
laid down and accurately measured, showing the number 

•Uwii' N 1" ^-^ 1.- 


AV C> 


of fields^ lots, meadows^ &c., with the contents^ and rela- 
tive situation of each, all of which, except the mill and 
swamp, which has never heen considered as a part of 
Dogue-rmi farm, and is retained merely for the purpose 
of putting it into a better state of improvement, you may 
have on the terms before-mentioned. With every kind 
wish for you and Nelly, in which your aunt> who is still 
much indisposed, unites, 

^ I remain your affectionate uncle, 

"Geo. WAsmNGTON. 
••Mr. Lawbewcb Lewis." 

"Mount Vernon, 28^ September^ 1799. 
^ My dear Sib : The enclosed letter was written agree- 
ably to date, and sent to the postoffice in Alexandria, 
but owing to an accident it missed the western mail, and 
was returned to me, since which, Mr. Anderson,* in part- 
nership with his son, John, has discovered an inclination 
to rent my distillery and mill. I am disposed to let them 
become the tenants, provided they wiU give a reasonable 
rent, and matters in other respects can be adjusted. The 
reasons are, that although Mr. Anderson is, in my opinion, 
an honesty sober, and industrious man, understands the 
management of the plough and the harrow, and how to 
make meadows, yet he is not a man of arrangement; he 
wants system and foresight in conducting the business to 
advantage, is no economist in providing things, and takes 
little care of them when provided — when, to these de- 
fects in his character, are added, his acting too much 
from the impulse of the moment (which occasions too 
much doing and undoing), and his high wages and emolu- 
ments, I have no hesitation in declaring, that it is my 

* Waslungton't stewaid. 

50 MEMom or 

wish to place my estate in this cotmty on a new estab- 
lishment^ thereby bringing it into so narrow a compass 
as not only to supersede the necessity of a manager^ but 
to make the management of what I retain in my own 
hands a healthy and agreeable amusement to look after 
myself if I should not be again called in the public ser^ 
vice of the country. ^ As the old man is extremely 
obliging and zealous in my service, I am unwilling, by 
any act of mine to hurt his feelings, or by discarding 
him to lessen his respectability in the eyes of the public, 
but if it should appear to be his own act, both our ends 
would be answered. I should be lessened so much of my 
general concerns, and if you take the Dogue-run farm 
(by odds the best and most productive I possess), I can, 
if I remain quiet at home, with great eafie attend to the 
other three and the mansion-house, and thereby ease my- 
self of the expense of a manager. You will perceive by 
my letter of the 20th, herewith enclosed, that the lands 
therein mentioned are given for the express purpose of 
accommodating you in a building site, in which case I 
did not, nor do I now see how you could do without the 
farm, which is part of the premises, or the hands thereon ; 
and were it not for the reasons which apply to Mr. 
Anderson, the mill and distillery ought to accompany it 
as part of the same concern. I shall not go more into 
details at this time, as I hear fix>m a letter to Nelly that 
you may be expected shortly. Mr. Anderson, after I 
had written my letter of the 20th, hinted his desire of 
renting firom me, and was informed I had made the offer 
to you, and until I received your answer I could say 
nothing definitely to him on the subject, and bq the 
matter remains. Mr& Washington has not recovered 


her healthy on the contrary^ is at this time weak and low. 
Mr. and Mrs. Peter (now here) and their children are 
welL We all unite in best wishes for you, Nelly, and 
Mr. Carter's family. Your affectionate uncle, 

•*Mr. Lawrence Lewis." 

We have again been led into a digression on a relative 
subject Let us now pursue the Memoir to its termina- 
tion, without further interruption. 

Before he had reached his eighteenth year, young 

Custis was appointed a comet of horse in the army, as 

appears by the following letter from the secretary of 

war: — 

^Wae Department, January lOih^ 1799. 

^ Sir : I have the honor to inform you, that the presi- 
denty by and with the advice and consent of the senate, 
has appointed you a comet in the army of the United- 

" Tou are requested to inform me as soon as conven- 
ient, whether you accept or not the appointment, that I 
may notify the sam^ to the president 

^ To obviate misconception, it is proper to mention, 

that a want of materials having prevented a complete 

nomination and appointment of the whole number of 

officers for the troops to be raised, the president has 

thought it advisable to reserve the subject of their relar 

tive rank for further arrangement 

^ I am, sir, with respect, your obedient servant, 

Jambs M^Henrt. 
«Mr. George W. P. Custis." 

Mr. Custis was soon afterward promoted to the posi- 
tion of aid-dcKjamp to General Charles Cotesworth Pinck 


ney, of South Carolina, with the rank of colonel But 
he was never called mto active service; and a few 
months afterward he was sorely bereaved by the death 
of his illustrious foster-father. That event occurred on 
the fourteenth of December, 1799, and the adopted son 
became a prospective executor of that great man's will * 
Mount Vernon continued to be his home until after the 
death of his grandmother, when he commenced the erec- 
tion of a beautiM mansion at Arlington, an estate of a 
thousand acres, left him by his father, and lying upon 
the west side of the Potomac, opposite Washington city. 
There he resided imtil his deatL It is a most lovely 
spot, overlooking the Potomac ; and from the noble por- 
tico, that adorns its front, so conspicuous from every 
point of the federal city and its vicinity, he saw that city 
grow into its present grand proportions, from a humble 
and uninteresting village. 

At the age of twenty-three, Mr. Custis married Mary 
Lee Fitzhugh, a lady whose many virtues endeared 
her to all who came within the circles of her in- 
fluence, and who will ever live in the memory of her 
friends. While the pen of filial afiection may not 
be trusted in delineating a character so beloved, it 

* In the last clause of his will, Washington said : " I oonstitnte and appoint my 
dearly beloved wife, Martha Washington, my nephews, William Aagaatine Washing- 
ton, Bushroil Washington, George Step toe Washington, Samnel Washington, and 
Lawrence Lewis, and my ward, Geoiige Washington Parke Custis (when he shall 
have arrived at the age of twenty-one yean), executrix and executors of this my 
last Will and Testament." The will was signed and sealed on the ninth of July, 
1 799. In it was the following clause : " I give and bequeath to George Washing- 
ton Parke Oustifl, the grandson of my wife, and my ward, and to his heirs, the tract 
I hold on Fonr-milo run, in the vicinity of Alexandria, containing one thousand and 
two hundred acres, more or less, and my entire square, No. 21, in the city of Wash- 


may be pardoned for traoscribmg the following testi- 
mony of a fiiend : — 

**Tothe Edttor$ of the National Intelligencer: 

« Savannah, May 16, 1853. 

^ Gentlemen : Allow me from this distant city to place 
an humble wreath, bedewed with many tears, on the 
grave of the best of friends. Since no one living could 
do justice to the character of that eminent lady, whose 
decease has spread the gloom of night through all the 
halls of Arlington, tremblingly I shrink from the at- 
tempt to recall and trace out, even faintly, that most rare 
combination of virtues and graces which, as no modesty 
or humility could conceal, no language can adequately 

" Happy in her descent from the union of Fitzhugh, 
of Chatham (the friend of Washington), a gentieman 
unsurpassed for dignity and courtesy of maimers by 
any who enjoyed the society of Mount Vernon, with 
one of the most beautifrd, accomplished, and religious 
ladies that ever bore the name of Randolph, all the in- 
structions and associations, the habits and studies of her 
childhood and youth, were suited to nurture those just 
principles and pure and generous sentiments which ever 
pervaded and adorned her entire character. Early al- 
lied by marriage to a gentieman bred up in Mount Ver- 
non while the spot was the home of the father of his 
country — a gentleman whose genius, taste, eloquence, 
and courtesy, have attracted multitudes from this and far 
distant lands to that mansion, where, alas, he now sits in 
Borrow and darkness — she dedicated herself to those 
gentie offices, quiet duties, and daily graceM ministries 
of love, so becoming to her station and her sex. 


* Those who best knew this lamented lady will testify- 
to a charming simplicity and sincerity, expressed in her 
aspect, manners, and conversation, blended with a ma- 
jesty of goodness far surpassing the fairest creations of 
the painter's or the poet's art Her clear and compre- 
hensive reason, ever submissive as a child to the teach- 
ings of its Author; her integrity never wavering and 
without guile ; the purity of all her motives and affec- 
tions ; the energy of purpose with which she applied 
herself to duty, and that constant cheerfulness which 
made to her all duty pleasure, rendered her judgment 
on all moral questions well-nigh infallible, and gave se- 
renity, consistency, and incomparable beauty to her life. 
For a period of thirty years the writer recollects no in- 
stance in which this distinguished Christian lady erred 
in judgment on any question of taste, propriety, or duty. 
Her example was a light, never declining, and never 
eclipsed, which the wise could not hesitate to follow, nor 
less serious observers to feel and admire. She was fa- 
miliarly acquainted with the best English literature, and 
read much, though very careful to select works of un- 
blemished and established reputation, and confining her- 
self mainly, toward the close of her life, to books on 
practical religion and to Christian biography. But infi- 
nitely beyond all the writings of men she valued the 
word of God. This was her daily companion, study, and 
guide, and in the law of God was her meditation and 
delight all the day. She had a remarkably quick per- 
ception of beauty and sublimity in composition, art, or 
nature ; and whenever she discerned these qualities, joy 
lighted up her countenance with a radiance pure and 
gentle as that shed through the windows of a cathedral 


from holy fire upon its altar. No member of the Pro- 
testant Episcopal church, was more ardently attached to 
its solemn worship and commimion, while she embraced 
in her afiectionate regards the whole company of Christ's 
. disciples, never doubting the unity of his kingdom, or that 
to his church there is but one Head, and though many 
members, but one Body. 

^ Precious to her were all the services of the sanctu- 
ary. She loved its very gates; she entered them with joy 
and thanksgiving ; her soul was filled with reverence of 
the heavenly King in those sacred courts where his 
honor dwelleth. What disciple present with her in the 
house of God, what casual observer, what stranger, what 
child has not been instructed^ felt his soul warmed by 
the manner, the fervor of her- heart-penetrating devo- 

^ But how can I speak of her as she shone at home, 
and in the midBt of her family and friends ? She was a 
guardian-angel to the objects of her love, and when she 
left them it was like the going down of the sim for ever. 
Joy was turned into heaviness, and songs into the voice 
of them that weep. The fresh flowers of spring seemed 
to loose their fragrance, to fade and become withered 
when ceased that beautiful life, more fragrant even in 
memory than the roses or precious odors, gums and 
spices of Cashmere, Ceylon, or ' Araby the blest' Though 
her life was not shorty as was said by Atterbiuy of Lady 
Cutts, ^ her death was sudden ; she was called in haste 
and without any warning; one day she drooped and the 
next she died ; nor was there the difierence of many 
hours between her being very easy in this world and 
very happy in another.^ Her duties all discharged, the 


56 MEicom ojp 

cause of benevolence and religion^ aided by habitual and 
generous gifts and earnest prayers, her work all well 
done, her lamps well trimmed and brightly burning, she 
obeyed the summons. Truly was it said in that great 
hour, a ^ purer spirit never left this world for the man- 
sions of heaven," 

"A volume would be insufficient to describe those in- 
nmnerable acts of courtesy, kindness, and beneficence 
which adorned and enobled the life of Mrs. Custis ; a life 
retired from general observation, but widely extended 
in the power of its influence, and, as we doubt not, in 
the importance of its results. We have read of Lady 
Bussell, the magnanimous daughter of the good Earl of 
Southampton; of Mrs. Eamsay, the devout and judicious 
companion of the historian of South Carolina ; we have 
admired the fortitude and genius of Madame Roland j 
the mystical but sublime piety of Madame Guion, the 
charming grace and tenderness of Elopstock's wife, and 
many other touching portraits of female excellence; 
but in all the elements of a character to be loved, 
trusted, and imitated, a character to grow brighter by 
study and time, to be handed down with increasing hon- 
ors to future ages, and stand in serene beauty ^among 
the ruins of the world, we find none in the annals of 
female biography to surpass that of her on whose dust 
we lay this poor ofiering of a sad but grateful heart"* 

Mr. and Mrs. Custis had fom* children, all daughters, 
only one of whom (Mary Custis, wife of Colonel Eobert 
E. Lee of the United States army) survived the period 
of infancy. Upon her the fondest affections of both 
parents were centred. From her &ther she never 

* ICn. CuBtia died at Arlington on the 83d of Aprils 1853. 


received aa unkind word. He was endowed with an 
even temper and remarkably buoyant spirit ; and tow- 
ard his family, his servants, his Mends, and the world, 
&ere was a constant outflow of kindly feeling from his 
warm and generous heart 

Identifying himself with the past> through the power 
of strong association, he scarcely seemed to live in the 
present, though deeply interested in the current events 
of the day. He exercised an unbounded hospitability^ 
and loved to pom* forth to his delighted auditors the 
treasures of his richly-stored mind and wonderfiil mem- 
ory. He had a happy faculty for expressing his thoughts 
by both pen and voice ; and this was exercised at a very 
early period of his life^ ajs is indicated in the following 
letter from the eminent General Henry Lee, of the revo- 
lution^ written to him early in the year 1800, when 
young Custis was not quite nineteen years of age : — 

"Philad'a, 16^«yy. 

^ Deak Sm : Tour polite note, accompanying your feel- 
ing address to the youth of America, was duly received. 
The perusal gave me much pleasure. 

*^The sentiments which it breathes do honor to your 
heart ; and I ardently pray a similar spirit may pervade 
the rising generation throughout these states. 

^I wished to have sent the paper to the press here; 
but, referring to your letter, I find no permission of that 
sort^ and therefore have confined my communicati(>n of 
it to my own circle. With best wishes for yom* welfiire, 
I am your friend and obt servant, 

* Henry Lee." 

The address alluded to was on the subject of the death 


of Washington, and its eulogist had recently pronounced 
an admirable oration on the same subject^ before the fed* 
era! Congress, by invitation of that body. 

Possessed of a quick and lively imagination, Mr. Custis 
sometimes employed a leisure hour in penning poetic 
efiusions ; and on several occasions, at the earnest solici- 
tuitions of friends, he composed dramas, to be acted for a 
specific purpose. The following letter to his wife, in re- 
lation to one of these eflforts, exhibits in a remarkable 
manner the facility with which he could put his thoughts 
into shape; and also the kindness of his nature. Jlis 
wife was then on a visit to the family of the now vener- 
able Bishop Meade : — 

"Arlington, 12 SepVr^ 1833. 

^My Dearest Wife: Your letter has been received, 
giving an account of your pleasurable trip through Fau^ 
quier, and safe arrival among your friends in Frederick. 
Your account of the appearance of the venerable Chiefi 
Justice Marshall is particularly interesting. If you had 
written a little more in detail, I would have composed a 
fragment upon it, entitled 'A Scene in Fauquier! Dear, 
glorious old man! I wish he could lay his patriarchal 
hands upon our boy, and bless him. You know Lafay- 
ette's triumph in this country is attributed to his having 
received a blessing from the ' mother,' on his departure, 
in 1784. 

^ I shall hear from my dear Mary and her boy to-day, 
and, if there is anything to communicate, I will write 
again in a day or two. If you do not hear from me in 
quick time, you may conclude all are welL 

^ Remember me kindly and a£fectionately to the good 
bishop, and the excellent people aroimd you. Health 


attend you, dearest wife ! Happiness I know you have 
wherever you are. 
* Write often, and believe me always yours, &c., 

«G. W. P. Cusns. 

*^P. S. — I have made a great mental effort lately, but 
1 am sure you and the bishop will think my energies 
might have been better employed. I had promised the 
poor rogues of actors a play for the 12th Sept., the anni- 
versary of the battle of North Point; but, finding myself 
not in the vein, I wrote to them to defer it On Monday, 
9th, the mahager came on from Baltimore, and entreated 
me to prepare something for the 12th, as it would put 
six or seven hundred dollars in his pocket On Monday 
not a line was finished. At five o'clock I commenced, 
and wrote until twelve ; rose the next morning at five, 
and by seven sent off by the stages a two-act piece, with 
two songs and a finale, called North Pointy or Baltimore 
Defended, the whole completed in nine hours. It is to 
be played to-night To-morrow I shall hear of its suc- 

'^The principal female character is called Marietta; 
runs away from her father, disguised as a rifle-boy, &c., &c. 

« To Mrs. M. L. Custis, 

<< Mountain View, near Millwood, 

^ Frederick county, Virginia.*' 

Mr. Custis's private correspondence was written with 
much ease and grace, and always manifested the vivacity 
of his temperament His letters to his family are of a 
character so piurely domestic, that they would have no 
interest to the public. The following, having relation to 
anotiier of his literary productions (which appears among 
the ReeoUectiom), may with propriety be introduced here : 


"Arlington, IM 7«^, 1833. 

" My Dearest Wife and Daughter : Your letter arrived 
yesterday. It is not in my power to go down to-day ; 
but if nothing occurs, and you remain in your present 
mind, I will go in the next boat for you, though fcan 
only remain imtil the following Wednesday. God knows 
I can be nowhere happier than with my dear children 
and precious grandson ; and, again, the garrison and mili- 
tary matters, the sea-prospect, vessels, &c., aU conspire to 
make a sojourn at the Point a most pleasurable thing to 
me ; but a hard necessity compels me to the constant su- 
perintendence of my affairs at home. I hope another 
year, if I make a tolerable sale of my lands in Stafford 
and Westmoreland, to be more prosperous. 

" I have been requested to write a short biography of 
my grandmother, to be accompanied by a splendid en- 
graving from one of my originals, for Longacre's work, 
called The Nationdl GdUery of Portrait^j and have consent- 
ed to do it I have written nothing and painted scarcely 
anything, but have read all the time. I have not been 
on my farm ; go to bed exactly at ten, rise at six, break- 
fast at seven, and dine at two. I find myself often call- 
ing that darling boy in my reveries. Give him grandpa's 
kiss and blessing ; and that God may bless you all, prays 
your husband and father, G. W. P. Custis. 

*<To Mrs. M. L. Custis, 

"Old Point Comfort, Virginia. 

"P. S. — My Puss has returned, sadly beaten by wild- 

Mr. Custis's talent for oratory was brilliant; and, had 
due attention been paid to its cultivation, he would doubt* 
less have ranked among the first in the land Hid 


speeches, upon many occasions^ would fQl a volume. 
One of the earliest of those which have been preserved, 
was on the occasion of the Ameral solemnities held at 
Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, on the first of 
September, 1812, in honor of General James M. Lingan, 
a worthy soldier of the Revolution, who was killed by a 
political mob, in Baltimore, on the twenty-eighth of July, 
1812. This funeral oration was extemporaneous * Of it 
a contemporary said : " It riveted the attention of the 
audience. The solemn stillness which reigned was only 
interrupted by sighs and tears. We can compare the 
eloquence of Mr. Custis with nothing but the supposed 
eloquence of antiquity. His words possess the fire of 
Demosthenes, and his actions the grace of Cicero. Old 
warriors, who had ahnost forgotten how to weep, felt the 
stream of sympathy stealing down their farrowed cheeks, 
while their deep, scarred breasts heaved with convulsive 
sobs. Every period glowed with inspiration." 

Not long after this (fifth of June, 1813), he was called 
to address a large audience at Georgetown, assembled to 
celebrate the then recent Kussian victories over Napo- 
leon.-]- In that address Mr. Custis displayed, according to 
his contemporaries, some of the most noble characteris- 
tics of true oratory; and it drew from the Russian min- 
ister at Washington the following letter : — 

^ WA8HIN0TON, the 1th Junsj 1818. 

^ Sm : In delivering your oration on the occasion of 
the celebration of the Russian victories, you have been 
guided by the motives of an enlightened and indepen- 
dent patriot The subject of it could not fail to be high- 
ly interesting to every friend of humanity and virtue; 
and you must have been highly gratified on perceiving 

• See Note ii., p. 571. t See Note iii., p. 585. 


the strong impression produced upon your respectable 
audience by the dignified, touching, and eloquent man- 
ner you presented it to their minds. You succeeded in 
making them fuUy sympathize with the distresses of my 
coimtrymen who have so bravely stemmed the homicidal 
hurricane raised from the revolutionary den of France, 
and made them magnanimously rejoice with us for hav- 
ing crushed the most impious attempt against our na- 
tional independence. You may imagine, sir, what effect 
it produced upon the hearts of those whose cradles have 
been burned with their beloved Moscow, and whose tears 
can only be assuaged by their enemy's blood. 

"Permit me to express to you my gratitude, that of 
my family, and of all my countrymen who shall peruse 
your oration, for the zeal and interest you have displayed 
in our cause ; and allow me to send you a small medal, 
with the likeness of Alexander the First, the only one 
which is now in my possession. I can not give you a 
greater token of the value I set on your acquaintance. 

"I have the honor to be with the most sincere and 
high consideration, 

" Sir, yoiu* very humble and obedient servant^ 

"A. Daschkoff. 

* P. S. — ^You would confer on me a great obligation, if 
you permit me to take a copy of your oration (should 
it be not printed), which I would like to send to Russia 
by the first favorable opportunity." 

Mr. Custis was often called upon to speak in public, 
at every period of his life, nor did age seem to diminish 
the ardor of his feelings. When in December, 1855, the 
Amoskeag Veterans of Manchester, New Hampshire^ 


joined their surviving companions in arms during the 
war of 1812, at Washington city, Mr. Custis was an 
honored guest among them. He accompanied them, 
and a large concourse of citizens, to Moimt Yemon. 
The whole company went down from Washington city 
in steamers. On that occasion, Mr. Custis wore the 
epaulette which Washington placed upon his shoulder 
in 1798, as a comet of horse. "At Alexandria^" said 
the Waakinffton Evemng Staty ^ a large conco\u:se of citi- 
zens assembled who listened with gratification to the 
stirring strains of the band. Fort Washington was soon 
reached, and, landing to the tune of ^Yankee Doodle,' 
the party took possession of the stronghold, no sentinel 
appearing to challenge their right 

^As the boat approached the wharf at Mount Yemon, 
the band played the ' Dead March in Saul,' but on land- 
ing, st the especial request of Mr. Custis, the solemn 
notes were changed into the more inspiring 'Washing- 
ton's Grand Marck' Ascending the hill the long coliunn 
uncovered, and with reverential tread passed the hal- 
kwed spot— 

*^ < VHiere rest the ashes of the noblest man, 
Thatever freeman monmed since time began ; 
Whose lofij virtues in no age surpassed, 
Have blessed our own age and shall bless the last/ 

^Countermarching, the battalion repaired to a level 
space near the tomb, where it was formed in hollow 
square, and ably addressed by Colonel Potter, who im- 
pressed on every mind the privilege in being permitted 
to gaze on the sacred place, where rest the remains of 
him, who was ^ first in war, first in peace, and first in the 
hearts of his countrymen/ He dwelt upon his virtues, 

64 MEMOm OF 

remarking, that he saw ^ no north, no south, no east, ro 
west' He concluded by introducing the only surviving 
member of the Washington family, Gr. W. P. Custis, Esq. 

^ Loud applause greeted Mr. Custis, who was listened 
to with deep attention, as he recalled his interesting re- 
miniscences of the illustrious owner of the locality near 
whose last resting-place they stood. It was an interest- 
ing scene to see this living relic of the past surrounded 
by the veterans, many of them near their last campaign.'** 

At an early period he became much interested in 
the improvement of the breed of sheep. Colonel 
David Hmnphreys, American minister at Madrid, had 
recently introduced the fine-wooled Merino sheep into 
the United States. Mr. Custis saw the great advantages 
that his country might derive fifom the cultivation of 
fine wool, and the establishment of manufactories of cloth^ 
and in 1803 he inaugurated an annual convention for 
the promotion of agriculture and domestic manufactures, 
known throughout the country by the title of ^ Arlington 
Sheep-Shearing." These gatherings were at Arlington 
spring, a large fountain of living waters that gushes from 

* There is no copy of this ipeecfa to be foand among the papen of ICr. Cnstis. It 
was doubtless the immediAte and anpremeditated oatpoarings of his heart. Colonel 
Potter, in a letter to Mr. Lossing, dated January 10, 1859, alluding to this speech, 
says: — 

" This was among his best, if not die very best of his public speeches. It was on 
an interestiDg occasion, and his ir\ends called it his happiest effort. I was in com- 
mand of the battalion of 'veterans,' and during our whole march from Manchester, 
N. H., to Mount Vernon, when the best speakers were in requisition at Worcester, 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, I heard no speech that in matter and 
manner equalled his in true eloquence. Among the hundreds present there was not 
a dry eye. Men of iron, in my own corps, who probably had nerer wept since boy- 
hood, were overcome, and shed tears like boys, the drops standing upon their bronzed 
cheeks like dew in early morning. True, the time and place had its effect, but 
there was true eloquence in the speech itself.*' 


beneath the shade of a venerable oak, not. far from the 
banks of the Potomac. There, for many years, on the 
thirtieth of April, the annual shearing took place. A 
large concourse of people would assemble to partici- 
pate in or witness the ceremonies. Toasts were drank, 
speeches were made, and prizes, provided at the sole ex- 
pense of Mr. Custis, were distributed among those who 
presented the best specimens of sheep or wool, and do- 
mestic manufactures. These were the first prizes ever 
offered for such objects in America Under the great war- 
tent of Washington, yet preserved at Arlington house, 
many of the noblest men of the land have assembled on 
these festivals, when they and the entire concourse were 
entertained in a most generous manner by the host, who 
usually made a stirring speech appropriate to the occasion. 
In one of them he said, prophetically : " America shall be 
great and free, and minister to her own wants by the 
employment of her own resources. The citizen of my 
country will proudly appear, when clothed in the pro- 
duce of his native soil." It must be remembered that, at 
that time, every yard of broadcloth worn ia the United 
States was imported from Europe. 

The following letters to Mr. Custis, from Mr. Madison 
(then secretary of state, and soon aJPterward president of 
the United States), possess an interest in this connec- 
tion: — 

^Mr. Madison has received Mr. Cus.tis's note of the 
30th ultimo, with the specimen of fine wool accompany- 
ing it He offers for himself the thanks to which Mr. 
Custis is entitled, from all his fellow-citizens, for his laud- 
able and encouraging efforts to increase and improve an 
animal which contributes a material so precious to the 



independent comfort and prosperity of our country. 
Mr. Madison wishes that Mr. Custis may be amply grati- 
fied in the success of his improving experiments, and 
that his patriotic example may find as many followers as 
it merits. 
"Washington, Atigust 2, 1807." 

" I have been duly favored, dear sir, with yours of the 

7th. Not having taken with me to Virginia a sample of 

the Smith's island wool, which you were so good as to 

furnish me, I can not judge of its merit by comparison 

with the fleeces in the part of the country where I dwell. 

I regret it the more, as I have always considered them 

as among the best in point of fineness, though not of 

weighty which the American flocks yield. It gives me 

pleasure to find your attention to this interesting subject 

does not relax, and that you are so successfully inviting 

to it other public-spirited gentlemen. 

^I remain, sir, with great respect and esteem, 

* **Tour most obedient humble servant, 

"James Madison. 
"Washington, October 10, 1807." 

The beautiful flock of fine sheep upon the Arlington 
farm were preyed upon by thieves and dogs, xmtil their 
nmnber was reduced to two. These, in the language of 
the owner, " long ranged over the hills of Arlington in 
solitary state." Until the close of his life, Mr. Custis 
took great interest in agricultural affairs, and was for 
several years previous to that event, an active member, 
and one of the vice-presidents of the United States Agri- 
cultural Society. 

In the war of 1812, he served as a volimteer to 
oppose the British when they penetrated Maryland, 


and ascended the Potomac, to attack Washington city. 
He would never accept any pay for his services; and 
while assisting the veterans of that war in prosecuting 
their claims upon the government, he withdrew his own. 

When Lafayette came to the United States, in 1824, 
as the guest of the nation, Mr. Custis was among those 
who met him at the federal capital as a personal friend. 
True, his recollection of the illustrious Frenchman, while 
on his last visit to Moimt Vernon in the autumn of 1754, 
was dim and shadowy, yet the son of that hero and bene- 
factor, who now accompanied him, and who bore the name 
of George Washington, had been the companion of his 
youthful days at Mount Vernon, when Lafayette was in 
exile.* Mr. Custis spent much time with the illustrious 
guest at Arlington and elsewhere. At the tomb of 
Washington, in the presence of a large number of per- 
sons, he presented Lafayette with a ring, in which was 
some of the hair of the Pater Patriae. The presentation 
was accompanied by some touching remarks, to which 
Lafayette responded in the most feeling manner. An 
account of the proceedings on that occasion may be found 
in the Appendix. 

After the departure of the illustrious guest from 

* The following letter written by the younger Lafayette, while in this country, to 
Hr. Giutis, is pieseired among others, at Arlington : — 

" Washinotom Citt, January the third, 1825. 

" Mt DBAS Custis : My father being able to dispose of himself on Wednesday, 
will do himself the pleasure of going that day to dine at Arlington. It is so long since 
I wished for that satis&ction myself, that I most sincerely rejoice at the anticipation 
of it Yon know, my friend, how happy I was when we met at Baltimore. Since 
that day, I felt every day more and more, how much oar two hearts were calculated 
to understand each other. Be pleased, my dear Custis, to present my respectful 
homage to the ladies, and teceiTe for yourself the expression of my most affectionate 
and brotherly sentiments. 

" G. W. Lafatbttb." 


America^ Mr. Custis wrote and published a series of 
most entertaining articles^ entitled, ComerBotmis vnth 
Lafayette. It was at that time that he conceived the 
design of committing to paper his own recollections of 
the private life of Washington, and the first of the series 
was published in the National Intelligencer in 1826. 

One of the principal amusements of Mr. Custis's later 
years, was painting revolutionary battle-scenes in which 
Washington participated. Upon these he worked with 
the greatest enthusiasm. Considering the circumstances 
xmder which they were produced — painted without being 
first composed or drawn in outline, by an entirely self- 
taught hand more than threescore and ten years old — 
they are remarkable. In general conception and group- 
ing, they are spirited and original. He was not disposed 
to devote the time and labor requisite to their careful 
execution, and therefore, as works of art merely, they 
have but little merit Their chief value lies in their 
truthfulness to history in the delineation of events, inci- 
dents, and costumes. They are all at Arlington, six in 
nxnnber, namely, battles of Trenton^ Princeton^ German- 
tourn, and Monmovthy WasMnffton at Yorktoum, and the Sur- 
render at Yarktawn. 

For some weeks previous to his death, Mr. Custis com- 
plained of debility and depression of spirits ; but even 
then, he contemplated, with much pleasure, an excursion 
to the great West, to attend the agricultural fair at 
Louisville. Unwillingly was he compelled to relinquish 
this design ; and only for four days did he occupy the bed 
from which he never arose. His disease was pulmonary 
pneumonia. Fully impressed with the belief that he 
could not survive the attack, the terrors of death seemed 


mercifully withdrawn^ and with the gentleness and trust 
of a child did he await its approach. Regarding his 
daughter and her children who surrounded him, with 
touching affection, he often alluded to his ^ blessed wife/' 
and her unceasing prayers for him. After a night of in- 
tense suffering and insensibility, he roused himself, and 
with that transient gleam of light that usually pre- 
cedes dissolution. Solemnly he embraced each member 
of his family, took leave of an old servant who attended 
in his room, requested his pastor to be summoned, to 
whom he avowed his belief and hope in the only atone- 
ment offered for sinners, with clasped hands joined in the 
prayer for the dying, and then gently sunk to rest in the 
seventy-seventh year of his age. 

Thus expired, on the 10th of October, 1857, the last 
male representative of his family — thus was broken for 
ever a link between the illustrious Father of his Country 
and the present generation. 

"Pftlida mon a'qno pnUat pede paaperam tabernas, 
Begam-qne tnrrea." 

The foneral of Mr. Custis took place at Arlington on 
the 12th. ^ As was anticipated," said the National Intel- 
ligencer, ^ the solemn event convened a numerous con- 
course of Mends who had long been associated with the 
venerable man, and who had enjoyed many pleasing 
hours in listening to and witnessing the feelings of genu- 
ine patriotism which inspired him, as he related familiar 
mcidents in the life and character of the illustrious 

" Besides the family and their particular fiiends, officers 
of the army and navy, distinguished gentlemen of the 
legal profession, residents of Washington, Georgetown, 

70 MEMOm OF 

and Alexandria, as well as the neighbors of the deceased 
for many miles aroxmd, thronged the parlors and haUs. 

"^Momit Vernon Guards of Alexandria^' the ^Associ- 
ation of the Siurvivors of the War of 1812 of the Dis- 
trict of Columbia^' a delegation of the ^Jamestown So- 
ciety of the District^' field and staff ofiEicers of the volui>- 
teer-regiment> and the Washington light-infantry, with 
their banners and fine martial music, and a delegation 
of the ofl&cers of the President's mounted guard, all 
travelled a distance of six miles to unite in the solemn 
testimonials of respect 

^^ The pall-bearers appointed were, William W, Seaton, 
Philip R Fendall, Cassius F. Lee, Bushrod W. Hunter, 
Henry Dangerfield, and William B. Randolph. 

^ The religious services were conducted in an impres- 
sive manner by the Rev. C. B. Dana, of Christ chxurch, 
Alexandria, according to the usages of the Protestant 
Jlpiscopal church. 

" The interment took place in a beautifbl grove a short 
distance from the mansion, after which all retired in 
silence. The occasion awakened touching reminiscences 
of many pleasant days spent at the celebrated ^ Spring 
of Arlington.'"* 

* The Arlington spring already mentioned, as the place of the annaal sheep- 
shearing, was, for manj years, a point of great resort for picnic-parties from Wash- 
ington, Gieorgetown, and Alexandria; and a small boat, used for conveying parties 
thither, was named " G. W. P. Custis/' It was estimated that at some seasons, 
from fifteen to twenty thousand people visited the spring on such occasions. Around 
the spring is a beaatifal shaded lawn ; and the generous proprietor, ever ready to 
give happiness to others, erected a wharf for the public accommodation, a store- 
room, kitchen, dining-hall sixty feet in length, and a saloon of the same dimensions 
for dancing in. No spiritous liquors were permitted to be sold there, and visiters 
were not allowed there on the sabbath. All that be asked in return, was good be- 
havior, and a reciprocation of the kind feeling which made every class of respectable 
dtizons cordially welcome. 


The death of Mr. Ciistis produced a marked sensation 
throughout the country. He was universally known, 
beloved, and honored, as the " child of Mount Vernon ;" 
and everywhere the press paid the tribute of most pro- 
found respect to his memory. ^ For several years," said 
the National Intelligencer, in noticing his death, " he had 
stood alone in his relations to the Father of his Country, 
ever anxious, with filial reverence and affection, to illus- 
trate his character, and from the rich stores of his never- 
failing memory, to bring forward an annual tribute to 
his immortal worth. Known and honored by his fellow- 
countrymen, his departure will awaken universally a 
profound regret 

*^Bom amid the great events of the Revolution, by 
the death of his father (Colonel Custis, of the army, and 
a son of Mrs. Washington by a former marriage), which 
occurred near the close of the war, he found his home 
during childhood and youth at Mount Vernon, where his 
manners were formed after the noblest models ; and from 
the great worthies of that period, frequent guests there, 
he received impressions of wisdom and patriotism that 
were never effaced. Under the counsels of Washington 
he pursued his classical studies at Princeton, and when 
deprived by death of his great guide and father (and 
soon after of his revered grandmother), he devoted him- 
self to literary and agricultural pursuits on his ample 
estate of Arlington. 

"Mr. Custis was distinguished by an original genius 
for eloquence, poetry, and the fine arts ; by a knowledge 
of history, particularly the history of this country ; for 
great powers of conversation, for an ever-ready and gen- 
erous hospitality, for kindnesa to the poor, for patriotism, 


for constancy of friendship, and for a more than filial 
devotion to the memory and character of Washington. 
His early speeches on the death of General Lingan and 
the overthrow of Napoleon were everywhere read and 
admired, even by those who dissented from the senti- 
ments, for the beauty of their conception and their 
impassioned eloquence. Those familiar with the columns 
of this journal will not forget how largely we, and the 
coimtry, are indebted to the warm and ever-cheerful 
spirit of the deceased for many invaluable reminiscences 
of Kevolutionary history, of the distinguished men of 
those times, and especially of the private life of their 
glorious chief in the retirement of the shades of his 
home at Moimt Vernon. 

^ Thousands from this country, and from foreign lands, 
who have visited Arlington to commune with our de- 
parted friend, and look upon the touching memorials 
there treasured up with care, of him who was first in the 
hearts of his countrymen, will not forget the charm 
thrown over aU by the ease, grace, interest, and vivacity 
of the manners and conversation of him whose voice, 
alas ! is silent now. The multitudes of our fellow-citi- 
zens accustomed, in the heat of summer, to resort to the 
shades of Arlington, will hereafter miss that old man 
eloquent, who ever extended to them a warm-hearted 
welcome and became partaker of their joy." 

In stature, Mr. Custis was of medium height, and well- 
formed; his complexion fair and somewhat florid; his 
eyes light and expressive of great kindliness of natOTe ; 
his voice full, rich, and melodious ; his deportment grace- 
ful and winning ; his courtesy to strangers extremely cor- 
dial ; and his afiection for his friends, warm and abiding. 




Philadelphia, 15th November 1796. 

Dbak Washington : Yesterdays mail brought me your 
letter of the 12th instant, and under cover of this letter 
you will receive a ten-dollar bill, to purchase a gown, &c., 
if proper. But as the classes may be distinguished by a 
different insignia, I advise you not to provide these with- 
out first obtaining the approbation of your tutors; other- 
wise you may be distinguished more by folly, than by 
the dress.* 

It affords me pleasure to hear that you are agreeably 
fixed ; and I receive still more fi:om the assurance you 
give of attending closely to your studies. It is you 
yourself who is to derive immediate benefit fi:om these. 
Tour coimtry may do it hereafter. The more knowl- 
edge you acquire, the greater will be the probability of 
your succeeding in both, and the greater will be your 
thirst for more. 

I rejoice to hear you went through your examination 

* Tonng CoRtiis, was a stadent in Fdnoeton college, New Jenej, at that time, 
and Washington, then president of the United States, was residing in Philadelphia, 
IliAt being the federal city. 


with propriety, and have no doubt but that the president 
has placed you in the class which he conceived best 
adapted to the present state of your improvement The 
more there are above you, the greater your exertions 
should be to ascend ; but let yom* promotion result from 
your own application, and from intrinsic merit, not from 
the labors of others. The last would prove fallacious, 
and expose you to the reproach of the daw in borrowed 
feathers. This would be inexcusable in you, because 
there is no occasion for it; forasmuch, as you need 
nothing but the exertion of the talents you possess, with 
proper directions, to acquire all that is necessary ; and 
the hours allotted for study, if properly improved, will 
enable you to do this. Although the confinement may 
feel irksome at first, the advantages resulting from it, to 
a reflecting mind, will soon overcome it 

Endeavor to conciliate the good wiQ of all your fellow* 
btudents, rendering them every act of kindness in your 
power. Be particularly obliging and attentive to your 
chamber-mate, Mr. Forsyth; who, from the account I 
have of him, is an admirable young man, and strongly 
impressed with the importance of a liberal and finished 
education. But above all, be obedient to your tutors, 
and in a particular manner respect the president of the 
seminary, who is both learned and good. 

For any particular advantages you may derive from 
the attention and aid of Mr. Forsyth, I shall have a dis- 
position to reward. One thing more and I will close this 
letter. Never let an indigent person ask, without re- 
ceiving aometJdng, if you have the means ; always recol- 
lecting in what light the widow's mite was viewed. 

Your grandmother, sister, and all here are well, and 


feeling a strong interest in your welfare, join most cordi- 
ally Tvith me in every good wish for it. 

I am your sincere fiiend, 

G. Washington. 
Bfr. Geo. Washington Fabke Cubtis. 

Philadelphia, 28^/4 November, 1796. 

Deab Washington : In a few hasty lines, covering your 
sister's letter and a comb, on Satiu'day last, I promised to 
write more fiilly to you by the post of this day. I am 
now in the act of performing that promise. 

The assurances you give me of applying diligently to 
your studies, and fulfilling those obligations which are 
enjoined by your Creator and due to his creatures, are 
highly pleasing and satisfactory to me. I rejoice in it on 
two accoimts ; first, as it is the sure means of laying the 
foundation of your own happiness, and rendering you, if 
it should please God to spare your life, a useful member 
of society hereafter ; and secondly, that I may, if I live 
to enjoy the pleasure, reflect that I have been, in some 
degree, instrumental in effecting these purposes. 

You are now extending into that stage of life when 
good or bad habits are formed. When the mind will be 
turned to things useful and praiseworthy, or to dissipa- 
tion and vice. Fix on whichever it may, it will stick by 
you ; for you know it has been said, and truly, " that as 
the twig is bent so it will grow." This, in a strong point 
of view, shows the propriety of letting your inexperience 
be directed by maturer advice, and in placing guard upon 
the avenues which lead to idleness and vice.. The latter 
will approach hke a thie^ working upon your passions ; 
encouraged, perhaps, by bad examples; the propensity 


to which will increase in proportion to the practice of it 
and your yielding. This admonition proceeds from the 
purest affection for you ; but I do not mean by it, that 
you are to become a stoic, or to deprive jorxrself in the 
intervals of study of any recreations or manly exercise 
which reason approves. 

*Tis well to be on good terms with all your fellow- 
students, and I am pleased to hear you are so, but while 
a courteous behavior is due to all, select the most de* 
serving only for your friendships, and before this becomes 
intimate, weigh their dispositions and character well, 
True friendship is a plant of slow growth ; to be sincere, 
there must be a congeniality of temper and pursuits. 
Virtue and vice can not be allied ; nor can idleness and 
industry ; of course, if you resolve to adhere to the two 
former of these extremes, an intimacy with those who 
incline to the latter of them, would be extremely embar- 
rassing to you ; it would be a stumbling-block in your 
way, and act like a millstone hung to your neck, for it 
is the nature of idleness and vice to obtain as many 
votaries as they can. 

I would guard you, too, against imbibing hasty and 
unfavorable impressions of any one. Let your judgment 
always balance well, before you decide ; and even then, 
where there is no occasion for expressing an opinion, it 
is best to be silent, for there is nothing more certain 
than that it is at all times more easy to make enemies 
than friends. And besides, to speak evil of any one, im- 
less there is imequivocal proofe of their deserving it, is 
an injujy fi)r which there is no adequate reparation. 
For, as Shakespeare says, ^ He that robs me of my good 
name enriches not himself but renders me poor indeed," 


or words to that effect Keep in mind that scarcely any 
change would be agreeable to you at first from the sud- 
den transition, and from never having been accustomed 
to shift or rough it And, moreover, that if you meet 
with collegiate fere, it will be unmanly to complain. 
My paper reminds me it is time to conclude. 

Your sincere friend, 


P. S. — I presume you received my letter covering a 
ten-dollar bill to pay for your gown, although it is not 
mentioned. To acknowledge the receipt of letters is al- 
ways proper, to remove doubts of their miscarriage. 

PmLADELPmA, 19<A December, 1796. 
Deab WASfflNGTON: I am not certain whether I have 
written to you since the receipt of your letter of the first 
instant for, as my private letters are generally despatched 
in a hurry, and copies not often taken, I have nothing to 
resort to, to refresh my memory ; be this, however, as it 
may, we are always glad to hear from you, though we 
do not wish that letteivwriting should interfere with yomr 
more useftd and profitable occupations. The pleasure of 
hearing you were well, in good spirits, and progressing 
as we could wish in your studies, was conmiunicated by 
your letter of the fourteenth instant ^ your grandmamma ; 
but what gave me particular satisfaction, was to find that 
you were going to commence, or had commenced a course 
of reading with Doctor Smith,* of such books as he 

* Samnel Stanhope Smith, then president of Princeton college, was a distinguish- 
ed Presbyterian clergyman. He was bom at Peqaea, Pennsylvania, in March, 1 750 ; 
was educated at his father's academy ; entered Princeton college when in his six* 
teentli year; took the degree of bachelor of arts in 1769, when he was graduated* 


had chosen for the purpose. The first is very desirahle, 
the other indispensable ; for, besides the duty enjoined 
upon you by the instructions of your preceptors, wlulst 
your own judgment is locked up in immaturity ; you now 
have a peculiar advantage in the attentions of Doctor 
Smith to you, who, being a man of learning and taste 
himself, will select such authors and subjects, as will lay 
the foundation of useful knowledge ; let me impress it 
upon you, therefore, again and again, not only to yield 
implicit obedience to his choice and instructions in this 
respect, but to the course of studies also, and that you 
would pursue both with zeal and steadiness. Light 
reading (by this, I mean books of little importance) 
may amuse for the moment, but leaves nothing soUd 

The same consequences would follow from inconstancy 
and want of steadiness — for 'tis to close appUcation and 
constant perseverance, men of letters and science are in- 
debted for their knowledge and usefulness ; and you are 
now at that period of life (as I have observed to you in a 
former letter) when these are to be acquired, or lost for 
ever. But as you are well acquainted with my sentiments 
on this subject^ and know how anxious all your friends are 

and soon afterward became a tutor in the college. There be remained two years, 
stndjing theology at the same time, when he became a licensed minister, and entered 
upon missionary labors in the western counties of Virginia. He was very popular, 
and was selected to preside over the new college of Hampden Sidney, in Prince Ed- 
ward county, Vii^nia. He was chosen professor of moral philosophy in Prinoeton 
college, in 1 779 ; and after laboring successfully for several years as vice-president, to 
build up the college, and as a clergymen for the interests of the Presbytenan church, 
he was chosen, in 1795, president of the college, in place of Doctor Witherspoon, 
who had died the preceding year. Ill health compelled him to relinquish his chai^go, 
in 1812, and in August, 1819, he died, at the age of nearly seventy years. Doctor 
Smith was distinguished for his great goodness, thorough scholarship, polished man- 
ners, eloquence as a preacher, and elegance and perspicuity as a writer. 


to see you enter upon the grand theatre of life^ with the 

advantages of a finished education, a highly cultivated 

mind, and a proper sense of your duties to God and 

man, I shall only add one sentiment more before I close 

this letter (which, as I have others to write, will hardly 

be in time for the mail), and that is, to pay due respect 

and obedience to your tutors, and affectionate reverence 

to the president of the college, whose character merits 

your highest regards. Let no bad example, for such is 

to be met in aU seminaries, have an improper influence 

upon your conduct. Let this be such, and let it be your 

pride, to demean yourself in such a manner as to obtain 

the good will of your superiors, and the love of your 


Adieu — I sincerely wish you well, being your attached 

and affectionate Mend, 

G. Washington. 
To Mr. Geo. Washington Custis. 

PaiLADBLPmA, llth January^ 1797 

Deab Washington: I hasten to acknowledge the re- 
ceipt of your letter, dated the 7th instant, but which did 
not get to my hands imtil yesterday, and to express to 
you the sincere pleasure I feel in finding that I had in- 
terpreted some parts of your letters erroneously. As 
you have the best and most unequivocal evidence the 
case is susceptible of, that I have no other object in view 
by extending my cares and advice to you than what will 
redound to your own respectability, honor, and futme 
happiness in Ufe, so be assured, that while you give me 
reasons to expect a ready submission to my counsels, and 
while I hear that you are diligent in pursuing the means 
which are to acquire these advantages, it will afford me 


infinite gratification. Your last letter is replete with 
assurances of this nature — I place entire confidence in 
them. They have removed all the doubts which were 
expressed in my last letter to you, and let me repeat it 
again, have conveyed very pleasing sensations to my 

It waa not my wish to check your correspondences — 
very far from it; for with proper characters (and none 
surely can be more desirable than with your papa and 
Mr. Lear), and on proper subjects, it will give you a 
habit of expressing your ideas ujnm all occasions with 
facility and correctness. I meant no more, by telling 
you we should be content with hearing firom you once a 
week, than that these correspondences were not to be 
considered as an injimction or an imposition, thereby in- 
terfering with your studies or confeems of a more im- 
portant nature. So far am I firom discoimtenancing 
writing of any kind (except upon the principle above- 
mentioned), that I should be pleased to hear, and you 
yourself might derive advantages firom a short diary 
(recorded in a book) of the occurrences which happen 
to you within your sphere. Trifling as this may appear 
at first view, it may become an introduction to more in- 
teresting matters. At any rate, by carefiilly preserving 
these, it would afford you more satisfaction in a retro- 
spective view, than what you may conceive at present 

Another thing I would recommend to you — not be- 
cause /want to know how ffou spend your money — and 
that is, to keep an account-book, and enter therein every 
farthing of your receipts and expenditures. The doing 
of which would initiate you into a habit^ fix)m which con- 
siderable advantages would result Where no account 


of this sort is kept, there can be no investigation; no cor- 
rection of errors ; no discovery from a recurrence thereto^ 
l^rherein too much, or too little, has been appropriated to 
particular uses. From an early attention to these mat- 
ters, important and lasting benefits may follow. 

We are all well, and all unite in best wishes for you } 
and with sincere aJQfection I am always yours, 

G. Washington. 
Mr. G. Washington Custis. 

Nassau Hall, 25^ March^ Yl^l. 

Dearest Sir : A letter from my sister this morning, in- 
formed me of your safe arrival at Mount Vernon, the 
ignorance of which event has hitherto prevented me 
fh)m writing. I congratulate you on a thing so ardently 
wished for by all those interested in your welfare.. The 
marks of approbation and esteem manifested in the man* 
ner of the different states through which you passed, 
must have have been highly gratifying, and the pleasure 
felt on reaching the destined haven must have rendered 
your happiness compkte. 

The different studies I have passed through during 
the winter, I am now reviewing ; and the evident good 
effects resulting from an attention to them at first, are 
now conspicuous. The examluation will come on in a 
fortnight, and immediately after tlie vacation will com- 
mence. The money you were so kind as to transmit for 
my expenses, I shaU receive at my departure, and keep 
regular accounts of all expenditures. I shall start the 
next day, and pass through Philadelphia without stop* 
ping, so that I can have twenty days to stay at home j 
my anxiety to attain this end will preponderate against 
all other considerations. The Boman history I have 



read, reviewed, and am perfect in. The translating 
French has become quite familiar, and the great amount 
of writing attending this exercise has improved my hand 
I have read a great many good authors this winter, and 
have particularly studied Hirnie ; have obtained a tolerable 
idea of geography, and, sir, in justice to myself and my 
own endeavors, I think I have spent my time in a man* 
ner not to be complained of. I must confess I have not 
made so much progress in arithmetic as I ought, owing 
to a variety of circumstances, and the superficial man- 
ner in which I imbibed the first principles ; but in the 
ensuing smnmer I shall make up the deficiency, and then 
hope I shall have nothing to regret li^ sir, by remain- 
ing in Philadelphia I could serve you in any way, I will 
do so with pleasure. For myself, I have no desire to 
delay a moment. I conclude, by wishing you all health 
and happiness. Remember me to all the family, and be- 
lieve me sincerely yours, G. W. P. Custis. 
GcoRGS Washinoton, Esq. 

Mount Veunon, 3d Aprils 1797. 

Dear WAsmNOTON: Tour letter <»f the 25th ultimo has 
been duly received, and as your grandmamma or sister 
will write to you by tliis post, I shall leave it to them to 
furnish you with the details of our journey, and the 
occinrences since cur arrival. 

It gives me singular pleasure to hear that your time 
has been so well employed during the last winter, and 
that you are so sensible of the good effects of it yourself 
If your improvement in other matters is equal to that 
which is visible in your writing, it can not but be pleas- 
ing to your friends ; for the change there, both in the 
characters and diction is considerably for the better. A 


perseverance in such a course will redound much to your 
own benefit and reputation, and will make you at all 
times a welcome guest at Mount Vernon. 

I have nothing to do in which you could be usefully 
employed in Philadelphia, and approve your determin- 
ation to delay no time at that or any other place on the 
road, that you may have the more of it to spend among 
your friends in this quarter, who are very anxious to see 

We are all in a litter and dirt, occasioned by joiners, 
masons, and painters, working in the house, all parts of 
which, as well as the ouirbuildings, I find upon examin- 
ation, to be exceedingly out of repairs. 

I am always and affectionately yours, 


The following letter, as evincing General Washington's 
deep solicitude for his adopted son, is here inserted, al- 
though the occasion that called it forth is unknown, the 
letter of Dr. Smith not being found among the corre- 
spondence : — 

Mount Vbrnon, 2Ath May^ 1797. 

Reverend and dbab Sm : Your favor of the 18th instant 
was received by the last post, the contents of which, 
relative to Mr. Custis,''filled my mind (as you naturally 
supposed it would) with extreme disquietude. Prom his 
infancy I have discovered an almost unconquerable dis- 
position to indolence in everything that did not tend to 
his amusements; and have exhorted him in the most 
parental and Mendly manner often, to devote his time to 
more useful pursuits. His pride has been stimulated, and 
his family expectations and wishes have been urged as 


iuducements thereto. In shorty I could say nothing to 
him now by way of admonition, encouragement^ or ad> 
vice, that has not been repeated over and over again. 

It is my earnest desire to keep him to his studies aa 
long as I am able, as well on account of the benefits he 
will derive from them, as for the purpose of excluding 
him from the company of idle and dissipated yoimg men 
until his judgment is more matured. 

I can but thank you, sir, for your exertions to remove 
the error of his present thoughts, and I shall hope for 
your fiuiher endeavors to effect it. If you find, however, 
that the attempt will be in vain, I shall rely on your 
judgment to employ his time in such studies as you con- 
ceive will be most advantageous to him during his con- 
tinuance with you, and I know of none more likely to 
prove so than those you have suggested, if his term at 
college will close with the next vacation. With very 
great esteem and regard, I am, reverend sir. 

Your most obedient and very humble servant, 

G. Washington. 

The Reverend Doctor S. Sanrn. 

Several letters must have been destroyed, as the 
^ error'' referred to by Washington is not explained. If 
we may judge from the following letter, it V(^a forgiven. 

Nassau Hall, 29<A May^ 1797. 
Dearest Sir : Words can not express my present senr 
sations ; a heart overflowing with joy at the success of 
conscience over disposition is all I have to give. Dearest 
sir, did you but know the effect your letter has produced 
it would give you as consummate pleasure as my former 
one did pain. My very soul, tortured with the stings of 


conacience^ at length called reason to ite aid, and happily 
ibr me triumphed. That I shall ever recompense you 
for the trouble I have occasioned, is beyond my hopes. 
However, I will now make a grand exertion, and show 
you that your grandson shall once more deserve your 
fevor. Could you but see how happy I now am, you 
would soon forget all that is past, and let my future con- 
duct prove the truth of my assertions. Good God, how 
just your letter ! but, alas, we are poor weak creatures, 
and never believe what we do not feel. Could I hope 
this would restore your peace of mind my happiness 
would be complete. My time appears to me now too 
short I shall seize the present moments, and God grant 
I may be a pleasure to my friends, family, and self I 
can not say too much on this subject, I wait for your 
letter which I can already read. That I have abused 
such goodness is shocking, that I shall ever do so again 
I win risk my life. Confiding, dearest sir, in your equity 
and fatherly affection, I subscribe myself, with the sin- 
cerest and* most heartfelt joy, 

G. W. P. CusTis. 

MouKT Vernon, Ath June, 1797. 
Tour letter of the 29th ultimo, came to hand by the 
post of Friday, and eased my mind of many unpleasant 
sessntions and reflections on your account It has, in- 
deed, done more, it has filled it with pleasure more easy 
to be conceived than expressed ; and if your sorrow and 
repentance for the disquietude occasioned by the preced- 
ing letter, your resolution to abandon the ideas which 
were thereiii expressed, are sincere, I shall not only 
heartily forgive, but will forget also, and bury in ob- 
livion all that has passed. 


As a testimony of my disposition to do this — of the 
hope I had conceived that reflection would overcome an 
indolent habit or bad advice — not a hint respecting this 
matter has been given to any of your friends in this 
quarter, although Doctor Stuart* and your mother (with 
their children) left this on Thursday last, after «i stay of 
a week, and both Mr. Law and Mr. Peter have been here 
since the receipt of it. In a word, your grandmamma^ 
sister, and myself, are all who were acquainted there- 

You must not suffer the resolution you have recently 
entered into, to operate as the mere result of a moment- 
ary impulse, occasioned by the letters you have received 
from hence. This resolution should be foimded on sober 
reflection, and a thorough conviction of yom* error, other- 
wise it will be as wavering as the wind, and become the 
sport of conflicting passions, which will occasion such a 
las&itude in your exertions as to render your studies of 
little avail. To insure permanency, think seriously of the 
advantages which are to be derived, on the one hand, 
from the steady pursuit of a course of study to be marked 
out by your preceptor, whose judgment, experience, and 
acknowledged abilities, enables him to direct them ; and, 
on the other hand, revolve as seriously on the conse- 
quences which would inevitably result from an indispo- 
sition to this measiure, or from an idle habit of hankering 
after \mprofitable amusements at your time of life, before 
you have acquired that knowledge which would be found 
beneficial in every situation; I say h^ore^ because it is not 
my wish that, having gone through the essentials, you 
should be deprived of any rational amusement afterward; 

* Doctor Stuart married young Custu's mother not long after her hnshand's death. 


or, lodtly, from dissipation in such company as you would 
most likely meet under such circumstances, who, but too 
often, mistake ribaldry for wit and rioting, swearing, in- 
toxication, and gambling, for manhness. 

These things are not without momentary charms to 
young minds susceptible of any impression, before the 
judgment in some measure is formed, and reason begins 
to preponderate. It is on this ground, as well as on ac- 
count of the intrinsic advantages that you yourself would 
experience hereafter from it^ that I am desirous of keep- 
ing you to your studies. And if such characters as I 
have described should be found instrumental, either by 
their advice or example, in giving your mind a wrong 
bias, shun them as you would a pestilence ; for, be assiured, 
it is not with such qualities as these you ought to be 
allied, or with those who possess them to have any 

These sentiments are dictated by the purest regard for 
your welfare, and from an earnest desire to promote yoiw 
true happiness, in which all your friends feel an interest, 
and w^ould be much gratij&ed to see accomplished, while 
it would contribute in an eminent degree to your re- 
spectability in the eyes of others. 

Your endeavors to ftdfiU these reasonable wishes of 
ours can not fail of restoring all the attentions, protec- 
tion, and affection, of one who ever has been, and will 
continue to be, your sincere friend, 

Mr. Georob W. P. Custis. 

Nassau Hall, June 8thj 1797. 
Warn a heart overflowing with gratitude, love, and joy, 
I return you thanks for your favor of the 4th ultimo, and 


could my words do justice to my feelings^ I would paint 
them in their highest tints, but words communicate ideas 
not sensations. Tour letter, fraught with what reason, 
prudence, and affection, only can dictate, is engraven on 
my mind, and has taken root in a soil which I shall cul- 
tivate, and which, I hope, may become fruitful ; and, dear 
sir, while I look up to that Providence which has pre- 
served me in vay late contest with my passions, and en- 
abled me to act in a way which will redound to my 
honor, permit me to make this humble confession, that if 
in any way, or by any means, I depart from your direction 
and guardianship, I may suffer as such imprudence shall 
deserve. That your letter and the directions contained 
therein, were from the purest motives, I can not doubt 
for one moment, as they are from one to whom I have 
looked foi support on earth, and from whom I have ex- 
perienced the most unbounded generosity. Dining my 
i^cess from college I was not idle, having with Doctor 
Smith studied the use of the globes, and got a tolerable 
insight into geography. We shall pursue, this summer 
privately, Priestley's Elements of Natural History, and 
Smith's Constitution. I have, at length, attained a room 
to myself, and shall take for a room-mate a Mr. Cassius 
Lee, son of Richard Henry Lee, a young man lately ar- 
rived from the eastward, where he has been pursuing 
his studies privately. He is of an amiable disposition, and 
very well informed. I shall have an opportunity of 
giving you better information about him when he has 
resided with me some time, as yet he is perfectly agree- 
able and very engaging. My class are now studying the 
Soman History, with which I am well acquainted, having 
previously studied it with the doctor. The things you 


oommissioned me to get I have provided^ and suppose 
you have the accounts now for adjustment They are 
perfectly suitable^ and I hope reasonable. I will now 
conclude^ with expressing, what I have alwajrs had near- 
est my heart, a desire of your esteem. Be assiu^d naught 
shall be wanting on my part to obtain the same ; and that 
the great Parent of the univerae may prolong yoiir days, 
is the sincere prayer of your ever affectionate, 

G. W. P. CusTis. 

Nassau Hall, July \st, 1797. 

Deakest Sm : Since my last, nothing material has oc- 
curred ; the weather is excessively sultry, the thermom- 
eter being generally at 98^, which makes study and con- 
finement very disagreeable. I have much time to read, 
which I shall employ to that end, and am studying Priest- 
ley's Lectures on History, with the doctor, and reading 
Smollett and Hume by myself 

We shall commence geography the middle of this 
month, and devote the remainder of the session to that 
alone. I have studied the use of the globes and maps 
during my recess from college. 

I have written to my old private tutor to solicit his 
correspondence; and have received a letter from him ex- 
pressing his approbation of the measure. 

The fourth of July will be celebrated with all possible * 
magnificence ; the college will be illmninated and caunou 
fired ; a ball will be held at the tavern in the evening, 
nehich I shall not attend, as I do not consider it con- 
sistent wi&k propridy. 

Mjr. Cassius Lee, the gentlemen I informed you I had 
taken as a room-mate, is a remarkably moral and modest 
young man. I have no doubt we shall live happily to- 


gether. He is a son of Richard H. Lee^ and brother to 
Ludwell. My room is fitted up very neatly and comfort- 
ably, though when the senior class leave college, I may 
almost have my choice. 

Mr. Burwell called on his way to Boston, and in&rmed 
me you were not very welL I sincerely hope it pro- 
ceeded merely from cold or fatigue, and will not produce 
unpleasant consequences. 

I now^ conclude, wishing you health and all the happi- 
ness this world can afford. Be assured I remain, 
Most sincerely,. 

Your affectionate, 

G. W. P. Cdstis. 

P. S. — ^Mr. Lee's respectful compliments wait on you, 
sir. He is happy to inform you he left yoyxr nephew 
well at Andover, Massachusetts. 

To Georgb Washington, Esq. 

Mount Vbrnon, 10^ Jtify, 1797. 

Deab WASfflNQTON : Your letter of the first instant was 
received by the last mail (on Friday), and your other 
letter, of the eighth of June, remains unacknowledged, 
owing principally to engagements without doors in my 
harvest fields, and to company within, for we have scarcely 
been alone a day for more than a month, and now have 
a house full, among whom are your sisters. Law and 

To hear you are in good health, and progressing well 
in your studies, affords peculiar satisfaction to your 
friends, and to none more than myself; as it is my 
earnest desire that you should be accomplished in all 
Uie useful and polite branches of literature. 

To correspond with men of letters, can not fail of 


being serviceable to you, provided it does not interfere 
with your more important duties, and to hear their sen- 
timents on particular points may not be amiss ; but you 
are not to forget that your course of studies is under the 
direction of Dr. Smith, who is, at least, equal to any you 
can correspond with ; who knows what you have learned, 
and what is necessary for you to learn, to be system- 
atical I enjoin it strongly upon you, therefore, not to 
suJBer any opinion or advice of Mr. Z. Lewis, however 
well meant they may be, to divert you j&om the prose- 
cution of any plan which may be marked out by Dr. 
Smith, or to produce the least hesitation in your mind, 
for no good can come of it, and much evU may. 

It gives me much Measure to hear that you have got 
a chamber-mate that is agreeable to you. We hope he 
will continue to be so, for your mutual satis&ction and 

The weather haj9 not been intensely hot with us ; at no 
time this summer has the mercury exceeded 90^, and 
but once, and this waa on the twenty-fourth of June, has 
it been so high. 

If it has been usual for the students of Nassau college 
to go to the balls on the anniversary of the Declaration 
of Independence, I see no reason why you should have 
avoided it^ as no innocent amusement or reasonable ex- 
penditure will ever be withheld fix)m you, 

I take it for granted, that yoiu: grandmamma and sister 
Nelly (if no more of the family) are writing to you, 
and as they detail more than I can the domestic news, I 
will only subscribe myself. 

Your affectionate, Geo. WASfflNGioN 

To Mb- G. W. P, Custis. 


Nassau Hall, Jidy 14/A, 1797. 

Most Honored Sir: I have just received your kind 
favor of the tenth ultinio, together with the enclosed, for 
all of which accept my thanks. I congratulate you upon 
the enjoyment of your health and prospects of future 
felicity, whidb. that you may attain and experience is my 
fervent prayer. 

The gentlemen, whose correspondence I have submit*- 
ted to your inspection, are Messrs. Lewis, Law, Lear, and 
Dr. Stuart. With respect to your apprehensions of 
Lewis's advice on subjects which materially affect my 
conduct^ I own they are perfectly just^ and am happy 
you have suggested them, as they will put me on my 
guard. Our letters ore on topics which occasion remarks 
on both sides, and are improving to me alone, as they 
lend to correct style and give fluency to expression. I 
am studying the principles and uses of history in gene* 
ral, in a course of lectures by Priestley, and shall be able 
to apply them to any history so as to make it easy to be 
understood and entertaining. I have also much leisure 
for reading, as the class are studying Bonum antiquities, 
which I have gone through with ilie doctor. The fourth 
of July was very grand ; we fired three times sixteen 
rounds from a six-pounder, and had public exhibitions of 
speaking. At night the whole college was beautifully 
illuminated. The ball waj3 instituted by the students, 
and principally attended by them. My ideas of mpra- 
priety proceeded from a distaste of such things dining a 
recess from them, as I was confident all relish for study 
would be lost after such enjoyment; for there is a di£feiw 
once between the mind's being entirely taken off from an 
object) to which it can return with increased Vigor, and 


a momentarj relapse, which only whets the appetite that 

' ^san not be satiated. 

The thermometer m the sun is 110^, 98^ in the shade. 

We wear light clothing, and are permitted to appear 

in morning-gowns. I am at present in want of uothiiif% 

tmd perfectly welL With kind remembrances to 'Jl 

my friends and ficmily, I conclude with wishing yju 

health, peace, and happiness, the only blessings tUn 

world can bestow and man enjoy, and subscribe mysult] 

with sincere affection and duty. 


G. W. P. CuOTis. 
GsORGs Washington, EdQ* 

MotJNT Vbrnon, 23d JuUfy 1797. 

D£AR WASfflNGTON ! YouT letter of the 14th instant has 
been duly received, and gives us pleasure to hear that 
you enjoy good healthy and are progressing well in your 

Far be it from me to discourage your correspondence 
with Dr. Stuart, Mr. Law, or Mr. Lewis, or indeed with 
any others, as well-disposed and capable as I believe 
ihey are to give you specimens of correct writing, proper 
subjects, and if it were necessary, good advice. 

With respect to your epistolary amusements gene- 
rally, I had nothing further in view than not to let them 
interfere with your studies, which were of more interest- 
ing concern ;, and with regard to Mr. Z. Lewis, I only 
meant that ho suggestions of his, if he had proceeded to 
^ve them, were to be interposed to the course pointed 
out by Dr. Smith, or suffered to weaken your confidence 
therein. Mr. Lewis was educated at Yale college, and 
aa is natural, may be prejudiced in fiivor of the mode 


pursued at that seminary ; but no college has turned out 
better scholars^ or more estimable characters^ than Nas- 
sau. Nor is there any one whose president is thought 
more capable to direct a proper system of education than 
Dr. Smith ; for which reason, if Mr. Lewis, or any other, 
was to prescribe a different course fix)m the one you are 
engaged in by the direction of Dr. Smith, it would give 
me concern. Upon the plan you propose to conduct 
your correspondence, none of the evils I was fearful of 
can happen, while advantages may result ; for composi- 
tion, like other things, is made more perfect by practice 
and attention, and just criticism thereon. 

I do not hear you mention anything of geography or 
mathematics as parts of your study ; both these are ne- 
cessary branches of useful knowledge. Nor ought you to 
let your knowledge of the Latin language and grammati- 
cal rules escape you. And the French language is now 
so universal, and so necessary with foreigners, or in a 
foreign country, that I tliink you would be injudicious 
not to make yourself master of it 

You certainly do not observe the degree of heat by 
Farenheit's thermometer, or it must be in a very hot 
exposure if you do; for at no time this summer has 
the mercury been above 90°, or at most 91°, at this 
place ; and I should think Princeton must be as cool at 
least as Moxmt Vernon, being nearly two degrees north 
of it 

Tour mamma went from here (with your sister Nelly) 
to Hope Park, on Wednesday, and is as well as usual. 
Your sister Law and child, were well on that day ; and 
Mr., Mrs., and Eleanor Peter are all well at this place 
now, and having many others in the house, among whom 


are Mr. Volney and Mr. WiUiam Morris. I shall only 

add, that I am sincerely and affectionately, 

Yours, G. Washington. 

Mr. G. W. P. CusTis. 

Nassau Hall, July 80<A, 1797. 

Dearest Sir: It is with pleasure I acknowledge the 
receipt of your obliging favor of the 23d ultimo, and 
must congratulate you upon the enjojonent of your 
health, the preservation of which should always be our 
aim, and I have no doubt, as long as you are able to 
take your accustomed exercise that you will be perfectly 

Mr. Z. Lewis has kept up the correspondence. His 
letters have generally contained common-place remarks 
on different subjects. His plans, were he to suggest any, 
would have very Uttle weight with me, and would not 
tend to counteract those of Doctor Smith, I assure you. 
As to the other gentlemen, I am well convinced they 
would merely suggest, and not pretend to influence me 
in any pursuit pointed out by him. 

With respect to the study of geography, I had forgot- 
ten that you were unacquainted with the course of the 
class, or I should have mentioned it particularly. We 
are now engaged in geography and English grammar, 
both of which we shall nearly conclude this session. 
The senior class will leave college in about a fortnight, 
when we shall become junior or second class, not in 
studies, as we do not commence mathematics till next 
session. The time appears to glide away imperceptibly. 
This session wants but eight weeks of being out. 

It was with heartfelt satisfaction I read that Buonaparte 
had sued for the Uberation of the marqmsy and sincerely 


hope poor Mr. Lafayette may have some authentic ao^ 
counts concerning the same, which will, no doubt^ afford 
him great relief in his present state of suspense.* 

The weather has become more moderate. I have no 
news to tell you, except that Greenleaf is in jail and 
likely to remain there. 

Present my love to the family, and be assured, dearest 
sir, that bound by ties indissoluble in themselves, and 
sacied to me, I remain. 

Your dutiful and affectionate, 

G. W. P. CusTis. 

Mount Vernon, 29th Auguiiy 1797. 

Dear WAsmNGTON: Your letter of the 21st instant, 
came to hand by the last post, and as usual, gave us 
pleasure to hear that you enjoyed good health, were 
progressing well in your studies, and that you were in 
the road to promotion. 

The senior class having left, or being on the point of 
leaving college, some of them with great eclat, ought to 
provoke strong stimulus to those who remain, to acquire 
equal reputation, which is no otherwise to be done than 
by perseverance and close application; in neither of 
which I hope you will be found deficient. 

Not knowing the precise time that the vacation com* 
mences, I have put under cover with this letter to Doctor 
Smith, forty dollars to defray the expenses of your jour- 
ney ; and both your grandmamma and myself desire that 
you will not think of doing it by water, as the passage 

* The Marquis de Lafayette suffered mttch dnrinj^ the storm of the old French 
Rerolation. He was oomp^ed to flee from his coantty, but being arrested, was 
for three years in prison in a dnngeon at Olmntz, in Germany. His son, George 
Washington Lalkyette, above alluded to, came to America, and found a home iq 
the iamily of Washington, at Monat Vernon, until his father was set at liberty. 


may not only be very tecHauSj but subject to a variety of 
accidents^ to wbich a journey by land is exempt; and as 
the yellow fever is announced from authority to be in 
Philadelphia, we enjoin it on you strictly to pursue the 
route, and the direction which you may receive from the 
president of the college, to avoid the inconveniences and 
consequences which a different conduct might involve 
you and others in« 

Although I persuade myself that there is no occasion 
for the admonition, yet I exhort you to come with a 
mind steadfastly resolved to return precisely at the time 
allotted, that it may be guarded against those ideas and 
allurements which imbend it from study, and cause re- 
luctance to return to it again. Better remain where you 
are than suffer impressions of this sort to be imbibed 
from a visits however desirous that visit may be to you, 
and pleasing to your friends, who will prefer infinitely 
your permanent good, to temporary gratifications ; but 
I shall make all fears of this sort yield to a firm persua- 
sion, that every day convinces you more and more of the 
propriety and necessity of devoting your youthful days 
in the acquirement of that knowledge which will be ad- 
vantageous, grateful, and pleasing to you in maturer 
years, and may be the foundation of your usefulness 
here, and happiness hereafter. 

Tour grandmamma (who is prevented writing to you 
by General Spotswood and family's being here) has been 
a good deal indisposed by swelling on one side of her face, 
but it is now much better. The rest of the family within 
doors are all well, and all unite in best regards for you, 
with your sincere friend^ and affectionate, 

Mr. G. Washinoton Custm. 


The cprrespondence for the year 1797 here closed. 
We next find a letter from Washington to Mr. McDowell, 
president of St. John's coUege, Annapolis. We know not 
why Mr, Custis was removed from Princeton. 

Mount Vernon, 5^ MarcJiy 1798. 

Sm: Consequent upon a letter received from Mr. 
George Calvert recently, this letter will he presented to 
you by Doctor Stuart, who is so obliging as to accom- 
pany young Mr. Custis to Annapolis for the purpose of 
placing him at college imder your auspices, and making 
such arrangements respecting his boarding and the pre- 
cise line of conduct for him to observe, and such course 
of studies as you and he (the temper and genius of the 
youth being considered) shall conceive most eligible for 
him to pursue. 

Mr. Custis possesses competent talents to fit him for 
any studies, but they are counteracted by an indolence 
of mind, which renders it difficult to draw them into 
action. Doctor Stuart having been an attentive observer 
of this, I shall refer you to him for the development of 
the causes, while justice from me requires I should add, 
that I know of no vice to which this inertness can be at- 
tributed. From drinking and gaming he is perfectly 
free, and if he has a propensity to any other impropriety 
it is hidden from me. He is generous and regardful ot 

As his family, fortune, and talents (if the latter can be 
improved), give him just pretensions to become a useftil 
member of society in the councils of his country, his 
friends, and none more than myself, are extremely desir- 
ous that his education should be liberal, polished, and 


suitable for this end ; any suggestions to promote these 

views will be thankfully received. Whatever is agreed 

upon by Doctor Stuart in my behalf, with relation to 

Mr. Custis, will meet the approbation of, and be complied 

with by, sir, your most obedient humble servant^ 

G. Washington. 
Mr. McDowell, 

President of the College at Annapolis. 

Annapolis, March 12^, 1798. 
Dearest Sir : I arrived here in due season, after a very 
agreeable journey, and found all my relations well, and 
Annapolis a very pleasant place. I visited the principal 
inhabitants while the doctor was here, and found them 
all very kind. Mr. McDowell is a very good and agree- 
able man. He has examined me, and I am now pursuing 
the study of Natural Philosophy, and hope to distinguish 
myself in that branch as well as others. Arithmetic I 
hav^ reviewed, and shall commence French immediately 
with the professor here. I was so fortunate as to get in 
with a Mrs. Brice, a remarkably clever woman, with whom 
I live very weU and contented. There are several clever 
young men boarding in this house, with whom I asso- 
ciate on the most friendly terms. The mail is going 
out> and I have only to add, that I constantly bear in 
mind your virtuous precepts, and hope to benefit by 
them, and am most sincerely and affectionately your 

dutiful, G. W. P. Cusns. 

George Washington, Esq. 

Mount Vernon, 19rt March, 1798. 
Dear WAsmNGTON: Tour letter of the 12th instant 
has been received; and it gives me and your firiends 





here much pleasure to find that you are agreeably 
fixed, and disposed to prosecute your studies with zeal 
and alacrity. 

Let these continue to be your primary objects and 
pursuits ; all other matters at your time of life are of 
secondary consideration. For it is on a well-grounded 
knowledge of these, your respectability in maturer age, 
yoiu* usefulness to your country, and, indeed, your own 
private gratification, when you come seriously to reflect 
upon the importance of them, will depend. The wise 
man, you know, has told us (and a more useful lesson 
never was taught) that there is a time for aU things ; and 
now is the time for laying in such a stock of erudition aa 
will efiect the purposes I have mentioned. And above 
all things, I exhort you to pursue the course of studies 
that Mr. McDowell, of whom every one, as well as your- 
self, speaks highly, has or shall mark out as the most 
eligible path to accomplish the end. It is from the ex- 
perience and knowledge of preceptors that youth is to 
be advantageously instructed. If the latter are to mark 
out their own course, there would be little or no occa- 
sion for the former, and what would be the consequence 
it is not diflScult to predict. 

One or other of the family will expect to receive a 
letter fi'om you once a fortnight, that we may know how 
you are in health ; in addition to which, I shall expect to 
hear how you are progressing in your studies, as time 
advances. All here join in best wishes for you, among 
whom, your sister Peter is of the number ; and you may 
be assured of the friendship of your affectionate, 

Mr. G. W. p. CusTis, 


Annapolis, April 2d, 1798. 

Dearest Sir: Toiir letter arrived by the ordinary 
course of mail, which goes by Baltimore, and gave me 
sincere pleasure hearing you and the family were in 
good health. 

I was somewhat unwell for some time after coming 
here, owing to the water, but it is entirely removed now. 
I am going on with the class in college and attending 
the French master, who is, I believe, very competent 
Every week we write dissertations on various subjects, 
which are both amusing and instructive, and create laud- 
able emulation. 

I am very happily situated, perhaps better than many 
others ; and could a repetition of those sentiments I have 
always avowed express my gratitude and obligations to 
you, they should be here expressed j but it is sufficient 
that they are indelibly engraven on my mind, and can 
never be erased while the principles on which they are 
grounded exist These principles are innate. What 
could be a greater misfortune to me than your displeas- 
ure ! What a greater happiness than your confidence ! 

I find that young M. C. has been at Mount Vernon, 
and report says, to address my sister. It may be well to 
subjoin an opinion, which I believe is general in this 
place, viz., that he is a young man of the strictest probity 
and morals, discreet without closeness, temperate with- 
out excess, and modest without vanity; possessed of 
those amiable qualities and friendship which are so com- 
mendable, and with few of the vices of the age. In 
^hoTt, I think it a most desirable match, and wish that it 
may take place with all my heart 

I have received e^ery kindness from the citizens of 


Annapolis^ ajid could anything heighten my opinion of 

your character, it would be their expressions of esteem 

and regard. Adieu, dearest sir, and believe me sincerely 

and aflFectionately yours, 

G. W. P. CusTis. 
George Washington, Esq. 

MouKT Vernon, 15th Aprily 1798. 

Dear WAsmNGTON : Your letter of the 2d instant came 
duly to hand, and gave us pleasiu'e (as you may 
naturally conceive from our solicitude foi your well- 
doing) at hearing that you had got over a short in- 
disposition; was happy in your present situation; and 
going on well in yoiu: studies. Prosecute these with 
diligence and ardor, and you will, sometime hence, be 
more sensible than now of the rich harvest you will 
gather from them. 

It gave us pleasure, also, to hear that you are kindly 
treated by the families in Annapolis. Endeavor by a 
prudent, modest, and discreet conduct, to merit a con- 
tinuance of it, but do not suffer attentions of this sort tt> 
withdraw you from your primary pursuits. 

Young Mr. C came here about a fortnight ago to 

dinner, and left us next morning after breakfast. If his 
object was such as you say has been reported, it was not 
declared here ; and therefore, the less is said upon the 
subject, particularly by your sister's friends, the more 
prudent it wiU be until the subject develops itself more. 

The family at this place are much as usual; your 
sister Peter, and her children are here, and Mr. Peter 
occasionally so. Dr. Stuart is also here at present, and 
informs us that your mother and the family (one of your 
sisters excepted) are very welL Mr. Law has been here, 


and leaving Mrs. Law at Baltimore, went back for her, 
and is not returned that we have heard of. This is all 
the domestic news which occurs to me ; and, therefore, 
with every good wish of those I have enumerated, and 
particularly the blessings of your grandmamma, 

I remain, your sincere friend, and affectionate, 

To Mr. Washington Custis. 

ANHAFOLiSt May hih, 1798. 

Dearest Sm : Colonel Fitzgerald arrived here about an 
hour ago, and has politely offered to convey a letter to 
yovL Nothing material has occurred since my last letter, 
only that we now attend college at six in the morning, 
which is by no means disagreeable, and conduces to 

With respect to what I mentioned of Mr. C in 

my last, I had no other foundation but report^ which ha^ 
since been contradicted. All the families in this town in 
which I visit, express the highest esteem and veneration 
for your character, which conduces, in great measure, to 
the satisfaction I feel in their company. 

All is well at present. I have foimd no inconvenience 
lately from the water, which affected me at first I at- 
tend college regularly, and am determined that nothing 
shall alienate my attention. 

Adieu, dearest sir, may heaven proportion her reward 
to your merit, is the sincere and ardent prayer of, 

Geo. W. P. Custis. 

P. S. — I would thank you to inform me to whom I am 
to apply for money in case of want 
Geo, Washington, Esq. 


Mount Vernon, 10th May^ 1798. 

Dear Washington : Your letter by Colonel Fitzgerald* 
has been received^ and I shall confine my reply, at pres- 
ent, to the query contained in the postscript, viz., "to 
whom I am to apply for money in case of need." 

This has the appearance of a very early application, 
when it is considered that you were provided very plenti- 
fully, it was conceived, with necessaries of all sorts when 
you left this (two months ago only) ; had £4. 6. given 
to you by me, and £3. 0. 0. by Doctor Stuart, as charged 
in his account against me (equal together to between 
9 and 10 lbs. Maryland currency) ; had a trunk purchased 
for you, a quarter's board paid in advance, &c. Except 
for yoiu* washing, and books when necessary, I am at a 
loss to discover what has given rise to so early a ques- 
tion.. Surely you have not conceived that indulgence in 
dress or other extravagances are matters that were ever 
contemplated by me as objects of expense ; and I hope 
ihey are not so by yoa As then the distance between 
this and Annapolis is short, and the commimication (by 
post) easy, regular, and safe, transmit the accounts of 
such expenses as are necessary, to me, in yoiu: letters, 
and a mode shall be devised for prompt and punctual 
payment of them. And let me exhort you, in solemn 
terms, to keep steadily in mind the purposes and the end 
for which you were sent to the seminary you are now 
placed at, and not disappoint the hopes which have been 
entertained from yoiu* going thither, by doing which, 
you will ensure the friendship, &c., of, 

To Mr. Geo. W. P. Custis. 

* Colonel Fitzgerald had been one of Washington's farorite aidf 


Annapolis, May 26, 1798. 

Dearest Sra: Tour last letter arrived safely, and con- 
veyed the pleasing intelligence of your health, a theme 
always acceptable to my grateful heart. With respect 
to my expenses I did not mean to insinuate that I was 
actually in want^ but supposed you had placed money in 
the hands of some one to whom I might apply. I have 
opened accounts with a shoemaker, taUor, and other per- 
sons from whom I might want occasional articles, which 
shall all be transmitted to you when offered. I got some 
nankeen and a gingham coat^ which, together, with a hat, 
are all the necessary articles I wanted; the hat might 
have lasted longer had it not been a worthless one. I 
have been very careful of my clothes^ and frequently re- 
vise them mysel£ 

I now enter on a subject which I will endeavor to 
make plain. Far from being addicted to dress and ex- 
travagance, I am not fond of such things, and have not 
spent money in that way. I confess, that when I have 
friends at my own house, I like to entertain them with 
little superfluities, but farther, I sacredly deny any dissi- 
pation. I visit of an evening among some families, but 
never dine out except on Sunday. I have received that 
attention from the inhabitants of this town which claims 
my sincere regard, and shall endeavor by my conduct, to 
merit their esteem. General Stone's politeness to me 
has been particular. 

Nothing material has occurred since my last. I at<- 

tend to my French constantly, with a good teacher, and 

hope to acquire the pronimciation. Adieu, dear sir, aud 

believe me, ever dutifully and intrinsically yours, 

G. W. P. CusTis. 
Geo. Washington, Esq. 


Mount Vernon, ISth June^ 1798. 

Dear Washinoton : It is now near five weeks since any 
person of this family has heard from you, though you 
were requested to write once a fortnight. Knowing how 
apt your grandmamma is to suspect that you are sick, or 
that some accident has happened to you, how could you 
omit this? 

I. have said that none of us have heard from you, but 
it behooves me to add, that from persons in Alexandria, 
lately from Annapolis, I have, with much surprise, been 
informed of your devoting much time, and paying much 
attention, to a certain young lady of that place. Know- 
ing that conjectures are often substituted for facts, and 
idle reports are circulated without foundation, we are not 
disposed to give greater credence to these than what 
arises from a fear that your application to books is not 
such as it ought to be, and that the hours that might be 
more profitably employed at your studies are mispent in 
this manner. 

Recollect again the saying of the wise man, ^ There is 

a time for all things," and sure I am, this is not a time 

for a boi/ of your age to enter into engagements which 

might end in sorrow and repentance. 

Yours affectionately, 

G. Waskngton. 
Mr. G. W. P. CusTis. 

Marlborough, June 17 thy 1798. 
Dearest Sir : I received your letter by mamma at this 
place, where I had come on my uncle's horses, and with 
Mr. McDowell's permission, in hopes of meeting hen 
She arrived the same day that I did, and informed me 
particularly respecting the subject of your letter, which 


appeared to set heavy on your mind. The report^ as 
mamma tells me, of my being engaged to the yoxmg lady 
in question, is strictly erroneous. That I gave her rea- 
son to believe in my attachment to her, I candidly allow, 
but that I would enter into engagementB inconsistent with 
my duty or situation, I hope your good opinion of me 
will make you disbelieve. That I stated to her my pros- 
pects, duty, and dependance upon the absolute wiU of 
my friends, I solemnly affirm. That I solicited her affec- 
tion, and hoped, with the approbation of my family, to 
bring about a union at some futiure day, I likewise allow. 
The conditions were not accepted, and my youth being 
alleged by me as an obstacle to the consmnmation of 
my wishes at the present time (which was farthest from 
my thoughts), I withdrew, and that on fair and honorable 
terms, to the satisfaction of my friends. 

Thus the matter ended, and should never have pro- 
ceeded so far had I not been betrayed by my own feel- 
ings. However rash and imprudent I may be, I have 
always remembered my duty and obligation to you, 
which is the guide of my actions. It was this which 
prevented my entering ii^to any engagements which 
were not entirely conditional 

To my mother I disclosed the whole affair, who is now 
perfectly satisfied ; and I hope this small statement of 
facts, which I can confirm, either upon oath or the testi- 
mony of my friends, will eradicate all uneasiness from 

Let me once more, sir, on the shrine of gratitude, 
plight my faith to you ; let me unclasp the sacred books 
of morality and lay my duty, nay, my all, at your feet 
Your beneficence could not enhance your virtues ; on my 


heart they are engraven as the benefactor, the fiiend, 

nay, the more than father of, 

G. W. R Cusm 
GEORaE Washington, Esq. 

Mount Yermon, 13<A June^ 1798. 

Sir : An ardent wish that young Custis should apply 

cl jsely to his studies, and conduct himself with propriety 

imder your auspices, induces me to give you the trouble 

of receiving these inquiries, and to know if he is in want 

of anything that can be provided for him by, sir. 

Your obedient and humble servant, 

Geo. Washington. 
Mr. McDowell. 

Annapolis, July I2th, 1798. 

Dearest Sir: Not receiving any favor from you in 
answer to my last, and only a letter from Doctor Stuart, 
in which he questions but little concerning the affair 
which caused you so much anxiety, induces me to hope 
that both my confession of the circumstances of the case, 
and my error, has obliterated from your mind all un- 
favorable impressions. Confiding in this hope, I again 
submit myself to your confidence, and assure you, that 
though urged by imprudence, I was governed by duty — 
that duty which I shall hold sacred in all my walks of 
life ; and let the goodness of my heart but cover the im- 
prudence of my actions, and I am contented. My peace 
of mind, my consciousness of rectitude, will always be to 
me a sufficient plea for my actions ; and be assured, deaiv 
est sir, nothing can contribute more to both than your 

I have nearly finished the six books of Euclid, and ex- 
pect that college will adjourn in a fortnight I can col- 


lect and forward all accounts as soon as you shall think 
fit to call for the same^ and I hope that their reasonable- 
ness will be acceptable to you. 

I need not congratulate you on an appointment* which 
was always designed by the Creator for one so ftdly 
capable of fulfilling it. Let an admiring world again be- 
hold a Cincinnatus springing up fix)m rural retirement to 
the conquest of nations; and the future historian, in 
erasing so great a name, insert that of the " Father of his 

Remember me to all, and believe me sincerely, duti* 
fully, and affectionately yours, 

Geo. W. p. Custis, 

Gren. Geo. WAsmNGTON. 

The letter immediately preceding the following waa 
not found in the package. 

Annapolis, JvJty 21«<, 1798. 
Dearest Sir: By the returning mail I heartily ac- 
knowledge your last favor, and am sincerely happy in 
having given you full satisfaction in an affair so interest* 
ing, and mutually affecting to both my fiiends and my- 
self I this day finish the six books of Euclid, and with 
that, the course marked out for me while in Annapolis. 
College breaks up Monday week (the 30th), and I shall 
always be ready when you may send for me. I shall 
enclose my accounts by next post, so as to be ready to 
leave this as soon as convenient. I would thank you to 
inform me whether I leave it entirely, or not, so that I 
may pack up accordingly. With sincere affection to all 
iriends I bid you adieu, 

G. W. P. CusTis. 

* A« oommander-in-chief of th« proTisional annj of the United States. 


Mount Vernon, 2ith Jvdy^ 1798. ' 
/ Dear Washington : Your letter of the 21st was received 

last night The question, " I would thank you to inform 
me whether I leave it entirely, or not, so that I may pack 
up accordingly/' really astonishes me ! for it would seem 
as if nothing I could say to you made more than a nuh 
nierdary impression. Did I not, before you went to that 
seminary, and since by letter, endeavor to fix indelibly 
on your mind, that the object for which you were sent 
there was to finish a course of education which you your- 
self were to derive the benefit of hereafter, and for pres- 
sing which upon you, you would be the first to thank 
your friends so soon as reason has its proper sway in the 
direction of your thoughts ? 

As there is a regular stage between Annapolis and the 
federal city, embrace that as the easiest and most con- 
venient way of getting to the latter, from whence Mr. 
Law or Mr. Peter will, I have no doubt^ send you hither j 
or a horse might meet you there, or at Alexandria, at an 
appointed time. 

The family are well ; and I am, as usual, your afteo- 

To Mr. G. W. p. Custis. 

ANNAP0Li8»JWy 23, 1798. 
Dearest Sm : Since my last I have collected all my ac- 
counts, which I transmit for yotu* perusal The only 
article I apologize for is an umbrella, which I was un- 
avoidably obliged to procure, as I lost one belonging to 
a gentleman. College breaks up on Saturday, and I 
shall be ready at any time that you may send. I will 
look over everything belonging to me and have them 


adjusted. I am very well, and at variance with no one, 
80 that I shall leave this place just as I first entered it 

Believe me, dearest sir, sincerely and affectionately 
yours, Geo. W. P. Cusns. 

Geo. Wabhingtok, Esq. 

Mount Vernon, BOth July^ 1798. 

Sm : Being very much engaged of late in a manner I 
little expected, I have not only suffered your favor of the 
19th instant to remain unacknowledged, but not attending 
to the time of the vacation of St. John's college, I have 
suffered that also to arrive, or to approach too near for 
the enclosed remittances to defray the expenses of Mr. 
Custis, before it is probable he left Annapolis. 

Allow me the liberty, for this reason, to put the ac- 
counts which he has just transmitted to me, under cover 
to you, with bank-notes of Columbia for one himdred 
dollars, to discharge and take a receipt thereon, to be re- 
turned to me. 

The pressure which is upon me at this time will not 
allow me to say anything relatively to the course of 
studies marked out for Mr. Custis when he returns to 
college. I will write more fully to you on this subject 
at a future time. Sir, I remain, your most obedient, 

To Mr. McDowell. 

Mount Vernon, 2d September^ 1798 
Sm : Tour favor of the 13th ultimo, with the accounts, 
came duly to hand, and I thank you for the trouble you 
have had in paying and taking receipts therefor. The 
small balance of £„ 3. 5i may, if you please, be given to 
Mr. Custis. 


It was my intention to have written fully to you by 
the retiun of this young gentleman to college, but the 
debilitated state into which I have been thrown by a 
fever, with which I was seized on the 18th, and could 
procure no remission of until the 25th past^ renders 
writing equally irksome and improper. 

Were the case otherwise, I should, I confess, be at a 
loss to point out any precise course of study for Mr. 
Custis. My views, with respect to him, have already 
been made known to you, and, therefore, it is not nece^ 
sary to repeat them on this occasion. It is not merely 
the best course for him to pursue that requires a con- 
sideration, but such an one as he can be induced to pur- 
sue, and will contribute to his improvement and the ob- 
ject in view. In directing the first of these objects, a 
gentleman of your literary discernment and knowledge 
of the world, would be at no loss, without any suggestions 
of mine, if there was as good a disposition to receive, as 
there are talents to acquire knowledge; but as there 
seems to be in this youth an imconquerable indolence of 
temper, and a dereliction, in fact, to all study, it must 
rest with you to lead him in the best manner, and by the 
easiest modes you can devise, to the study of such useful 
acquirements as may be serviceable to himself, and event- 
ually beneficial to his country. 

French, from having become in a manner the universal 
language, I wish him to be master o^ but I do not find, 
from inquiry, that he has made much progress in the study 
y ei Some of the practical branches of mathematics, par- 
ticularly surveying, he ought, possessor as he is of large 
landed property, to be well acquainted with, as he may 
have frequent occasion for the exercise of that study. 


I have already exceeded the limit I had prescribed to 
myself when I began this letter, but I will trespass yet a 
little more, while I earnestly entreat that you will ex- 
amine him, as often as you can make it convenient, your- 
self; and admonish him seriously of his omissions and de- 
fects ; and prevent, as much as it can be done, without too 
rigid a restraint, a devotion of his time to visitations of 
the families in Annapolis ; which, when carried to excess, 
or beyond a certain pointy can not but tend to divert his 
mind from study, and lead his thoughts to very different 
objects. Above all, let me request^ if you should per- 
ceive any appearance of his attaching himself, by visits 
or otherwise, to any young lady of that place, that you 
would admonish him against any such step, on account 
of his youth and incapability of appreciating all the re- 
quisites for a connexion which, in the common course of 
things, can terminate with the death of one of the parties 
only; and, if done without eiffect^ to advise me thereof. 
If, in his reading, he was to make common-place notes, 
as is usual, copy them fair and show them to you, two 
good purposes would be answered by it You would see 
with what judgment they were done, and it might tend 
much to improve his hand-writing, which requires nothing 
but care and attention to render it good. At present, 
all of his writing that I have seen is a hurried scrawl, as 
if to get to the end speedily, was the sole object of writing. 

With sincerest esteem and regard, I am, sir, your obe- 
dient servant^ 

Geo. WAsraNGTON. 

P. S. — ^Knowledge of book-keeping is essential to aU 
who are under the necessity of keeping accounts. 
Mr. McDowell. 



MovsT YEKHojXf 16th SepiembeTy 172S. 

Sir : The enclosed was written at the tune of its date, 
and, with Mr. Custis, I expected would have left this the 
next morning for St. John's college ; but although he pro- 
fessed his readiness to do whatever waa required of him, 
his unwillingness to return was too apparent to afford 
any hope that good would result from it in the prosecu- 
tion of his studies. And, therefore, as I have now a gen- 
tleman living with me who has abilities adequate thereto, 
will have sufficient leisure to attend to it, and has prom- 
ised to do so accordingly, I thought best> upon the whole, 
to keep him here. 

He returns to Annapolis for the purpose of bringing 
back Avith him such articles as he left there, and dis- 
charging any accounts which may have remained unpaid. 
With great esteem and regard, I am, sir, your most obe- 
dient servant, G. Washington. 

Mr. McDowell. 

Mount Vbrnon, January 22, 1799. 

Dear Sir : Washington leaves this to-day on a visit to 
Hope Park,* which will afford you an opportunity to ex- 
amine the progress he has made in the studies he wa^ 
directed to pursue. 

I can, and I believe I do, keep him in his room a cer- 
tain portion of the twenty-four hours, but it will be im- 
possible for me to make him attend to his books, if in- 
clination on his part is wanting; nor while I am out if he 
chooses to be so, is it in my power to prevent it. I will 
not say this is the case, nor will I run the hazard of do- 
ing him injustice, by saying he does not apply as he 
ouorht to what has been prescribed, but no risk will be 

* The residence of his mother's family. 


run^ and candor requires I should declare it as my opin- 
ion, that he will not derive much benefit in any course 
which can be marked out for him at this place^ without 
an abk preceptor always with him. 

What is best to be done with him I know not My 
opinion always has been, that the university in Massa- 
chusetts would have been the most eligible seminary to 
have sent him to ; firsts because it is on a larger scale 
than any other ; and, secondly, because I believe that the 
habits of the youth there, whether from the discipline of 
the school, or the greater attention of the people gen- 
erally to morals, and a more regular course of life, are 
less prone to dissipation and excess than they are at the 
colleges south of it It may be asked, if this was my 
opinion, why did I not sftnd him there ? The answer is 
as short as to me it was weighty : being the only male of 
his line, and knowing (although it would have been sub- 
mitted to) that it would have proved a heart-rending 
stroke to have him at that distance, I was disposed to 
try a nearer seminary, of good repute, wWch, fi:om some 
cause, or combination of causes, has not^ after the experi- 
ment of a year, been found to answer the end that was 
contemplated. Whether to send him there now, or, in- 
deed, to any other pubUc school, is, indeed, problematical, 
and to mispend his time at this place would be disgrace- 
fid to himself and me. 

If I were to propose to him to go to the tmiversity at 
Cambridge, in Massachusetts, he mighty as has been usual 
for him on like occasions, say, he would go wherever I 
chose to send him, but if he should go, contrary to his 
inclination, and without a disposition to apply himself 
properly, an expense without any benefit would result 


from the measure. Knowing how much I have been dis- 
appointed, and my mind distiubed by his conduct^ he 
would not, I am sure, make a candid disclosure of his 
sentiments to me on this or any other plan I might pso 
pose for the completion of his education, for which rea- 
son, I would pray that you (or perhaps Mrs. Stuart could 
succeed better than any one) would draw from him a 
fr^mk and explicit disclosiu'e of what his own wishes and 
views are ; for, if they are absolutely fixed, an attempt 
to cotmteract them by absolute control would be as idle 
as the endeavor to stop a rivulet that is constantly run- 
ning. Its progress, while mound upon mound is erected, 
may be arrested, but this must have an end, and every- 
thing will be swept away by the torrent The more I 
think of his entering William and Mary, unless he could 
be placed in the bishop's family, the more I am convinced 
of its inutility on many accounts, which had better be 
the subject of oral commimication than by letter. I 
shall wish to hear from you on the subject of this letter 
I believe Washington means well, but has not resolution 
to act well Our kind regards to Mrs. Stuart and family, 
and I am, my dear sir. 

Your obedient and affectionate servant, 

"Djlytd Stuabt, Esq. 

This is the last letter in the packet from which the 
foregoing series have been copied. The correspondence 
exhibits the old story of a youth of genius and fortune 
disappointing the hopes of his friends while at college ; 
and it presents Washington in a new lights as exercising 
the tender solicitude of a parent 


or THK 





It was the privilege of the writer to eojoy the friendship of 
Mr. Custis, the author of the following Recollections of Wash- 
ington^ for several years, and to experience, on frequent occar- 
sions, the hospitalities of Arlington House, his beautiful seat oa 
the Potomac, opposite the federal city. The subject of his Rec- 
ollections was a frequent topic of conversation, and the writer 
always expressed an earnest desire that Mr. Gustis should com- 
plete and prepare for publication, in book form, the interesting 
work begun, many years before, of recording what he knew and 
remembered concerning the private life of Washington, and some 
of his compatriots. But his spirit was summoned from earth 
before that work was completed, and the revision of what was 
already done was left to other hands. 

When invited by the only-surviving child of Mr. Custis to as- 
sist her in preparing his imperfect and unfinished Recollections 
for the press, by arranging them properly and adding illustrative 
and explanatory notes, the writer complied with pleasure, for 
filial gratitude to the Father of his Country seemed to demand the 
dedication of whatever labor might be usefully employed in the 
preservation of precious memorials of that father which had hith- 
erto been left in the perishable form of newspaper articles. 

Many of the facts recorded in this volume have already found 
their way, one by one, into our histories ; but the great mass of 
them will be fresh to every reader, and intrinsically valuable. 

The illustrative and explanatory notes have been prepared 
with the single purpose of instructing^ not amusing; and if, to 
the well-informed, many of them shall appear unnecessary, let it 
be remembered that it is only the few who are well informed, 
and that the many need instruction. 

Care has been taken not to alter the text as it flowed from the 
pen of the author, except in the way of verbal corrections, occa- 
sionally, and arrangements of the matter to avoid repetitions aa 

120 editor's preface. 

far as practicable — faults which are incident to the production 
of a series of articles upon a common topic, written at wide in- 
tervals, and from memory. The business of the editor has been 
to arrange and illustrate, according to the dictates of his best 
judgment, the materials placed in his hands by the family of the 

A few words concerning the history of these Recollections 
may not be without interest. When Lafayette visited the United 
States, in 1824 and 1825, as the guest of the nation, Mr. Custis, 
who had been the intimate companion of the marquis's son, 
George Washington Lafayette (who accompanied him), when at 
Mount Vernon, under the care of Washington, in 1797, spent 
much time with that illustrious man. After his departure, he 
wrote a series of interesting articles under the title of Conver- 
sations with Lafayette, These were published in the Alexan-^ 
dria Gazette^ and attracted much attention. Among those who 
were specially interested in them, was John P. Watson, Esq., 
the now venerable annalist of Philadelphia and New York. He 
wrote to Mr. Custis in September, 1825, urging him to answer 
publicly a series of questions which he proposed to write, and 
which would, if fully answered, " go more," as Mr. Watson said, 
*' to develop, as by moral painting, the individual character of 
General and Mrs. Washington, as they appeared in domestic and 
every-day life, than all that had ever been published." 

Mr. Custis answered Mr. Watson's letter a week afterward, 
and assured him that as soon as he had completed his Convers€h 
tions with Lafayette, of which the thirteenth number was just 
then fiDished, he. should commence the publication of Recollec 
tions of Washington in the United States Gazette^ printed at 
Philadelphia — a paper which he had often seen the first presi- 
dent "dry on his knee" as it came fresh from the press. The 
first number, entitled The Mother of Washington, appeared in 
that paper. The remainder of the series, except two numbers, 
were first published in the National Intelligencer. Such, in 
brief, is the history of the origin of these Recollections, as given 
to the writer by the venerable annalist above mentioned, iu 
May, 1869. 

B. J. V 

PouGHKFBPSiB, Augutt, 1859. 


It is the public lives of great men that are commonly 
given to the world; and with all the glare which may 
dazzle and surprise. It will be the duty of the writer of 
the following pages to withdraw the curtain^ and^ in some 
views of the private life of the most illustrious of men, 
to develop such truths as shall be acceptable to the mind 
and heart of every true American. 

Much 4inxiety always has existed, and always will 
exist, touching the private lives and actions of those who, 
on the public theatre, have played so many, such various, 
and such distinguished parts. It is somewhat remarkable, 
yet such is the fact of history, that when all of the pub- 
lic life and actions of a great man have been published 
to the world, the world invariably demands the private 
memoirs. The celebrated Montesqtdeu once asked an 
English nobleman respecting Sir Isaac Newton : ^ Pray, 
my lord, does the great Newton eat, drink, and sleep like 
other men ?" 

The interesting and authentic private memoirs of the 
Father of his Country, which form this volume, are de- 
rived from the relations of those who were the associates 
of his juvenile years, his comrades in war, and the friends 
of his fireside in peace. Concerning his domestic habits 
and manners ; the routine of his methodical life ; what 


122 author's preface. 

he said and did, when he retired from public cares and 
duties, in the evening of his glorious day, I ought to know 
much. Taken from my orphaned cradle to his paternal 
arms, nourished at his board, cherished in his bosom, from 
childhood to manhood, I ought to know something of the 
First President of the United States, and the illustrious 
Farmer of Mount Vernon. 

I write of him who fills so large a space in the best 
recollections of the world ; who« fame, pure, venerable, 
and time-honored, will descend to the latest posterity, 
like the ceaseless stream which washes the base of his 
sepulchre, whose majestic course neither rival currents 
can disturb, nor the waste of ages can impair. 

The first paper in the series of these ReeoUediom and 
Private Memoirs of the Life and Character of Washinffton, 
contains a sketch of The Mother of Washington — that 
distinguished woman, whose peculiar caat of character, 
whose precepts and discipline in the education of her il* 
lustrious son, were by himself acknowledged to have been 
the foundation of his fortune and his fame. 

The principal facts I derived from Lawrence and Robin 
Washington, Esqrs., of Chotank, the associates of the 
chief in early life, at the maternal mansion on the Rap- 
pahannock; and from Bishop, his military servant and 
humble fidend in the war of '55-'56, who helped him to 
his last horse on the field of Braddock, when death gath- 
ered so many sheaves to the gamer, and when, in the 
prophetic words of the Indian commander, in reference 
to Washington, **the Great Spirit protected that man, 
that he might become the Chief of Nations." 

The veteran Bishop died at Mount Vernon at a very 
advanced age, having long been settled in the midst o^ 


his descendants, and with every possible comfort about 
him. It was while sitting upon his knee, in the days of 
my childhood, that I often heard the old man relate the 
events of the Indian wars, and have seen him raise his 
withered arm, while his faded eye lighted up, when de- 
scribing the memorable and heroic achievements of his 
patron and commander. 

From Dr. James Craik, also, whose commission was 
signed on the same day with that of Washington, as pro- 
vincial major, I received many and important facts. He 
and Washington were comrades and fellow-captives at 
the affair of the Meadows, in '65 ; were associated in the 
War of the Revolution, and bosom friends always ; and it 
was the fortune of Craik to receive the Patriot's last sigh 
at Mount Vernon in 1799, after an affectionate inter- 
course of almost half a century. 

The labor of America's distinguished historians have 
given to this country and the world the life and actions 
of Washington, as connected with the age in which he 
flourished, and the mighty events thereoi^ in which he 
bore so prominent and illustrious a pari It has become 
the honored duty of the author of the RecoUedions to 
lift the veil that always conceals the private life of a great 
man from the public gaze, and to show the Pater Patriae 
amid the shades of domestic retirement, where, in the 
bosom of his family, on the farm, and at his fireside, friend- 
ship, kindliness, and hospitality shed their benignant lus- 
tre upon his latter daya 

Long years have elapsed since the first of these Recol- 
lediom were offered to the public. In answer to numer^ 
ous inquiries why they have not been published in book 
form, the author begs leave to observe that, having n© 

124 aijthob's pbefage. 

views as to profit^ he was desirous that the Private 

Memoirs should go to the masses of the people in the 

cheapest and most difiusible maimer practicable* 

If it has appeared to any that the RecoUedwns have 

embraced particulars too minute, the author's apology is 

in various letters, received both &om at home and abroad^ 

urging him to cmt no detaUy Junvever mmUy or deem anything 

trimly that related in the smallest degree to the Itfe and character 

of Washington. 

G W. R C. 

Ablington House, keab Alexakdbia, Ya., 1856. 




Tos WAsaaQTOTi VAxnr nr TnoniiA— 'WAsnnroroR's Eailt Torrn— His Monnsm'f 
Familt— H^ CiiAmAOTim An> ImrLimros — Thi Horn or Wasiiikgton— Thb Wild 
HoiM— TovHO WA«HiN«iO]r's TairvBFirunBM— Hit ICorant at FftvnKsicKBBUKO^Pio- 
TUBM or HKB Lm THBU — Av Alaxm zm Waibzhvton's Oaxp — His MomiK's MAVAexsoKT 
or Attaiss— HsB IhDubtet, Eoohomt, ajtd Cbakitt— Hib Ikdspxxdxncb— Hxm feas or 
LxoHTinivo— Bbobftioh or WAsnnroToif attkb hib Viotobt at Tobktown— -His Filial 
BsvimsiroB—AoinBATXoir or thb Fobbion OmoBBS— Latatxttb— Washinotom's labt 
Ibtbbtiew wmt mt ICotbbb — Hxb Dxath ^ Hxb Momncxirr. 

Of the remote ancestors of the chief, our recollections 
will, of necessity, be limited The great-grandfather, 
John Washington, came from England (from Chester, it 
is believed) at about the tune of the early settlers in the 
northern neck of Virginia, but the place of his first resi- 
dence is imknown, though it has been a matter of con- 
siderable research to his descendants.* 

^ He came with his brother Lawrence about the year 1657, and settled near the 
Potomac, between Pope's and Bridge's creeks, in the conntj of Westmoreland. 
Haying a knowledge of military matters, he was employed, soon after his arrival, in 
the command of the militia, against the Indians, with the rank of colonel. He was thns 
employed jnst previous to the breaking oat of the domestic broils in Virginia, known 
in history as Bacon's RMlion. He married Anne Pope, by whom he had two sons. 
One of these (Lawrence) married Mildred Warner, of Gloucester county, and had 
three children. Her second was Augustine, the father of George Washington. 

The following letter, translated from the German, contains some interesting par- 
tienlan respecting a branch of the Washington family. The letter from General 


Augustine Washington, the father, we find settled near 
Pope's creek, a tributary of the Potomac, in the county of 
Westmoreland, and there the great chief was bom, on the 

Wabhimgton, to which the writer allndeSy maj be seen in Sparks's Lifi and 
Writings of Wathington, toI. xi. p. 393 ; and other particulars concerning the famil/ 
in vol. i. p. 554. Jamss Washikoton is there mentioned aa having been a mer- 
chant in Rotterdam : — 

'<MuNiOH, FAmary 21, 1844. 

" HoNOBED Sis : It was not till the 17th of this month that I received jonr ikvor 
of December 13th ; I could not, therefore, answer it earlier. In compliance with 
your wish I will, with pleasure, communicate to yon some focts relating to my family. 
The branch from which I am descended has undoubtedly the same ancestor as that 
from which the American branch descended, which is proved also by the same coat- 

" The family of Washington is descended from a good old English &mily, whieb, 
in early times, owned considerable possessions in the counties of York aad Nortfi- 
ampton, and in other places, ^t became connected, by marriage, with the fiunily of 
Shiriey, Earl Ferrers. Bir Lawrence Washington married Elizabeth, a daughter of 
the second Earl Ferrers. It was also connected with that of Villiera, duke of Buck- 
ingham. A branch of the fiunily, from unknown causes, for they were wealthy, 
emigrated about the year 1650 to America; and the well^inown (one may say with 
truth the universally famous) Qeneral and President Qeoige Washington was de- 
scended from it. 

" My great-grandfather, James Washington, was so deeply implicated in the an* 
fbrtunate affair of the duke of Monmouth, in the time of Charles II., 1683 and 1684, 
that he was obliged to fly fix>m England, and, after losing by shipwreck on the coast 
of Portugal everything of his personal property that ho had been able to caxry away 
from England, he came to Holland. While there, he was frequently demanded on 
the part of England by its ambassador, and his delivery insisted upon ; but the States- 
General did not consent ; and thus he became the founder of that branch which 
then began to flourish in Holland, and is still in existence in the persons of two in- 
dividuals, cousins, lieutenants in the army and navy. 

" I possess an autograph letter of the great man, George Washington, from Mount 
Vernon, January 20, 1799, in which, among other things, it is said : ' There can be 
but little doubt, sir, of our descending from the same stock, as the branches of it 
proceeded from the same country ; at what time your ancestors left England is not 
mentioned ; mine came to America nearly one hundred and fifty years ago.' 

*' At the age of sixteen I received, in 1794, a commission in the Dutch service, 
but was unwilling to serve the Bavarian republic founded in 1795; and, being a 
faithful follower of the house of Orange, I emigrated. At the formation of the Dutch 
brigade of the Prince of Orange in the English service in 1799, I was appointed 
lieotenant in that brigade, until the disbanding of the latter, after the peace of AmienS| 
in 1802. A few months later I had the good fortune to enter the Bavarian service. 


eleventh of February (Old Btyle), 1732. This interest- 
ing spot is now marked by a stone, placed there by the 
hand of filial affection and gratitude in 1815."^ 

Since tfien, nearlj fortj-two yean have passed, of which I hare been attached no 
leas than thirty-seTen jean to the moet high penon of the king, partly as manhal 
of the court, and partly as aid-de-camp. 

" I have aUo planted a stock in Bavaria, which, if God will, is some time to bear 
good Iraic to the king and conntry. I have three sons : the eldest, Lad wig, sixteen 
yean old, is a page of his majesty the king ; the second, Max, fourteen yean old, 
is pupil in the royal corps of cadets ; and the thiixl, Ktirl, ten years old, freqnents 
the pubhc school. By my two marriages with daughten of families of the highest 
nobility in the land, my children aro placed in agreeable /Hrcumstanoes, even when 
I shall be no more ; ftod, in this manner, this branch of the family in this new conntry 
may flourish. God give his blessing to it 1 

*' It wonld lead me too fkr to enter into details of my biography ; for, being in 
earlier yean frequently exposed to the storms of fate, brought on chiefly by revolu- 
tions, and at a later period in important offices and other relations, I could not do it 
without being very long ; and, since this letter has already attnined a considerable 
•xtent, that which has been said will, I hope, satisfy you. I will only add, in order 
that you may become altogether acquainted with my situation here, that I will sub- 
join to the signature of my name what is otherwise not usual ; but in this case, I 
think, may make an exception, because it forms in a manner a part of my biography. 

" Thanking you for the literary production transmitted to me, which possesses, 
by the preface of the renowned Professor Herman, an enhanced value, I remain, 
with sentiments of perfect esteem, your devoted, 

"Bahon Von WASHiwoToir. 
" Royal Bavarian ChanAerlain, Lieutenant- General and Aid-de-Camp to his Majesty the 

King, Commander of the Order of Civil Merit of the Bavarian Crown, of the Greek 

Order of the Saviour, of the British Military Order of the Bath, Knight of the Royal 

French Order of the Legion of Honor, and Lord ofNotzing, 

"To Dr. J. G. Fluzbl. 
** Consul of the U. S. ofN. America, in Leipsic." 

* In a letter to the editor of the Alexandria Gazette, dated Arlington house, Api'l 
14, 1851, Mr. Custis gave the following interesting account of the placing of thai 
memorial stone, with his own hands, upon the spot where stood the birthplace of 
Washington : — 

" Observing in your valuable journal^ of a late date, the notice of a stone placed 
on the ruins of the house in which the beloved Washington fint saw the light, per- 
mit me to offer to you a brief account of that interestiDg event, as it occured six-and- 
thirty yean ago. 

"In June, 1815, 1 sailed on my own vessel, the 'Lady of the Lake,' a fine top- 
sail schooner of ninety tons, accompanied by two gentlemen, Messn. Lewis and 


Upon the father hecoming engaged in the agency of 
the Principe iron-works, and after the coniSagration of hia 

Grimes, boand to Pope's creek, in the county of Westmoreland, carrring with as a 
slab of freestone, having the following inscription :*— 





Our pilot approached the Westmoreland shore cantionsly (as onr vessel drew nearly 

eifht feet of water), and be was but indifferentlj acquainted with so nnfreqaented a 


" We anchored some distance from the land, and, taking to our boatu, we soon 
reached the month of Pope's or Bridge's creek, and proceeding upward we fell in with 
McKenzie Beverly, Esq., and several gentlemen compoeing a fishing party, and also 
with the overseer of the property that formed the object of oar visit We were kindly 
received by these individaals, and escorted to the spot, where a few scattered bricks 
alone marked the birthplace of the chief. 

" Desirous of making the ceremonial of depositing tiie stone as imposing as circam- 
stances would permit, we enveloped it in the ' star-spangled banner' of our country, 
and it was home to its resting-place in the arms of the descendants of foar revolu- 
tionary patriots and soldiers — Samuel Lswis, son of George Lewis, a captain in 
Baylor's regiment of horse, and nephew of Washington ; William Grtmbs, the 
son of Benjamin Grymes, a gallant and distinguished officer of the life-guard ; th« 
Captain of the vessel, the son of a brave soldier wounded in the battle of Guilford ; 
and Gboboe W. F. Custib, the son of John Parke Custis, aid-de-camp to the 
commander-in-chief before Cambridge and Yorktown. 

" We gathered together the bricks of an 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 vibst stoitb, commending it to 
the respect and protection of the American people in general, and the citizens of 
Westmoreland in particular. 

" Bidding adieu to those who had received as so kindly, we re^mbarked, and 
hoisted our colors, and being provided with a piece of cannon and suitable amuni- 
tion, we fired a salute, awakening the echoes that had slept for ages around the 
hallowed spot ; and while the smoke of our martial tribute to the birthplace of the 
Pater Patrice still lingered on the bosom of the Potomac, we spread our sails to ft 
favoring breeze, and sped joyously to our homes. 

" Such was an act of filial love and gratitude, performed more than a third of a 
century ago ; such is the history of the first stone to the memort of Wash- 

" Health and respect, my dear sir, 

"George W. P. Custm." 

* A drawing of this stone, with the inscription, may be found in Lossiug s FuU 


seat in Westmoreland, he removed, with his family, to a 
situation near the village of Fredericksburg,* whpre he died 
about middle age, universally esteemed as a man of worth 
and honor, and as a useful member of society. He is 
described as having been of fair complexion, tall stature, 
and manly proportions. 

At the time of his father's death, George Washington 
was between eleven and twelve years of age. He has 
been heard to say, that he knew Uttle of his father, other 
than a remembrance of his person, and of his parental 
fondness. Of the mother, that distinguished woman, to 
whose peculiar cast of character, and more than ancient 
discipline in the education of her illustrious son, himself 
ascribed the origin of his fortunes and his fame, we have 
much to say. 

She was descended from the very respectable family 
of Ball, who settled as English colonists, on the banks of 
the Potomacf Bred in those domestic and independent 
habits, which graced the Virginia matrons in the olden 
days, this lady, by the death of her husband, became in- 
volved in the cares of a young family, at a period when 

♦ A picture of this dweinngp of the Washinf^on family may be foand in Logging's 
Fidd'Book ofUm Revoiuiim. 

t Bishop Meade in his Hiitorif of Old Churchm, Mxni$Un, and FamilieM of Virginia, 
gives a description of a pictura of armorial bearings that he had seen, on which 
is a iion rampant with a globe in his paws; a helmet, and shield, and yizor; a coat- 
•f-mail, and other tilings betokening strength and conrage ; and for a motto words 
from a line of Ovid — CasLUMQUS tueri. On the back of the picture is written — > 
"The coat-of-arms of Colonel William Ball, who came from England with his 
fkmily abont the year 1650, and settled at the month of Corotoman river, in Lancaster 
eoanty, Yiiginta, 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 issne. Joseph's male 
issue is extinct. Genend Qeorge Washington is his grandson, by his youngest 
daughter, Mary." 




these responsibilities seem more especially to claim tlie 
aid and control of the stronger sex ; and it was left for 
this remarkable woman, by a method the most rare, by 
an education and discipline the most peculiar and im- 
posing, to form in the youth-time of her son those great 
and essential qualities which led him on to the glories of 
his after-life. If the school savored more of the Spartan 
than the Persian character, it was a fitter one in which to 
form a hero, destined to be the ornament of the time in 
which he flourished, and a standard of excellence for ages 
yet to come. 

It was said by the ancients that the mother always 
gave the tone to the character of the child ; and we may 
be permitted to say, that since the days of antiquity, a 
mother has not hved, better fitted to give the tone and 
character of real greatness to her child, than her, whose 
life and actions this reminiscence will endeavor to illus- 

The mother of Washington, in forming him for those 
distinguished parts he was destined to perform, first 
taught him the duties of obedience, the better to pre- 
pare him for those of command. In the well-ordered 
domicil, where his early years were passed, the levity 
and indulgence, common to youth, was tempered by a 
deference and well-regulated restraint, which, while it 
curtailed or suppressed no rational enjoyment, usual in 
the springtime of life, prescribed those enjoyments with- 
in the bounds of moderation and propriety. 

The matron held in reserve an authority, which never 
departed from her ; not even when her son had become the 
most illustrious of men. It seemed to say, ^ I am your 
mother, the being who gave you life, the guide who di- 


rected your steps when they needed the guidance of age 
and wisdom, the parental affection which claimed your 
love, the parental authority which commanded your 
obedience; whatever may be your success, whatever 
your renown, next to your God you owe them most to 
me /' Nor did the chief dissent from these truths, but to 
the last moments of the life of his venerable parent, he 
yielded to her w31 the most dutiful and implicit obe- 
dience, and felt for her person and character the most 
holy reverence and attachment. 

This lady possessed not the ambition which is common 
to lesser minds ; and the peculiar plainness, yet dignity 
of her habits and manners, became in nowise altered, 
when the sun of glory rose upon her house, in the char- 
acter of her child. The late Lawrence Washington, Esq., 
of Chotank, one of the associates of the juvenile years of 
the chief, and remembered by him in his will, thus de- 
scribes the home of the mother : — 

" I was often there with George, his playmate, school- \ 
mate, and young man's companion. Of the mother I 
was ten times more afraid than I ever was of my own 
parents. She awed me in the midst of her kindness, for 
she was, indeed, truly kind. I have often been present 
with her sons, proper tall fellows too, and we were all is 
mute as mice ; and even now, when time has whitened 
my locks, and I am the grand-parent of a second gener- 
ation, I could not behold that remarkable woman with- 
out feelings it is impossible to describe. Whoever has 
seen that awe-inspiring air and manner so characteristic 
in the Father of his Country, will remember the matron 
as she appeared when the presiding genius of her well- 
ordered household, commanding and being obeyed.'* 


\j Of the many anecdotes touching the early life of the 

chief, we shall present our readers with one of no ordin- 
ary interest and character. 

The blooded horse was the Virginian favorite of those 
days as well as these. Washington's mother, fond of the 
animal to which her deceased husband had been particu- 
larly attached, had preserved the race in its greatest 
purity, and at the time of oiu* story possessed several 
young horses of superior promise. 

One there was, a sorrel, destined to be as famous (and 
for much better reason) as the horse, which the brutal 
emperor raised to the dignity of consuL This sorrel was 
of a fierce and ungovernable nature, and resisted all at- 
tempts to subject him to the rein. He had reached his 
fullest size and vigor, unconscious of a rider ; he ranged 
free in the air, which he snufied in triumph, tossing his 
mane to the winds-, and spuming the earth in the pride 
of his freedom. It was a matter of common remark, 
that a man never would be found hardy enough to back 
and ride this vicious horse. Several had essayed, but 
deterred by the fury of the animal, they had desisted 
from their attempts, and the steed remained unbroken. 

The young Washington proposed to his companions, 
that if they would assist him in confining the steed, so 
that a bridle could be placed in his mouth, he would 
engage to tame this terror of the parish. Accordingly, 
early the ensuing morning, the associates decoyed the 
horse into an inclosure, where they secured him, and 
forced a bit into his mouth. Bold, vigorous, and young, 
the daring youth sprang to his imenvied seat, and bidding 
his comrades remove their tackle, the indignant courser 
rushed to the plain. 


Afl if disdaining his burden, he at first attempted to 
fly, but soon felt the power of an arm which could have 
tamed his Arab grandsires, in their wildest course on 
their native deserts. The struggle now became terrific 
to the beholders, who almost wished that they had not 
joined in an enterprise, so likely to be fatal to their 
daring associate. But the youthful hero, that ^spirit* 
protected man,"* clung to the furious steed, tOl centaur- 
like, he appeared to make part of the animal itself. 
Long was the conflict, and the fears of the associates be- 
came more relieved as, with matchless skill the rider pre- 
served his seat, and with unyielding force controlled the 
comrser's rage, when the gallant horse, summoning all his 
powers to one mighty efibrt^ reared, and plunged with 
tremendous violence, burst his noble heart, and died in 
an instant. 

The rider, *^ alive, unharmed, and without a wound,'* 
was joined by the youthful group, and all gazed upon 
the generous steed, which now prostrate, ^ trailed in dust 
the honors of his mane," while from distended nostrils 
gushed in torrents the life-blood that a moment before 
had swollen in his veins. 

The first surprise was scarcely over, With a what's to 
be done ? Who shall tell this tale ? when the party were 
summoned to the morning's meal. A conversation, the 
most mai a propos to the youthful culprits, became intro- 
duced by the matron's asking, ^ Pray, young gentlemen, 
have you seen my blooded colts in your rambles ? I hope 
they are well taken care of; my favorite, I am told, is as 
large as his sire." Considerable embarrassment being 

• This refers to a remarkable Indian prophecy, given in a fntnre chapter of this 


observable, the lady repeated her question, when George 
Washington replied, " Your favorite, the sorrel, is dead, 
madam." ^ Dead," exclaimed the lady ; " why, how has 
tliis happened ?" Nothing dismayed, the youth continued, 
* That sorrel horse has long been considered ungovern- 
able, and beyond the power of man to back or ride him j 
this morning, aided by my friends, we forced a bit into 
his mouth ; I backed him, I rode him, and in a desperate 
struggle for the mastery, he fell under me and died upon 
the spot." The hectic of a moment was observed to 
flush on the matron's cheek, but like a siunmer cloud, it 
soon passed away, and all was serene and tranquil, when 
she remarked : ^ It is well ; but while I regret the loss of 
my favorite, I rejoice in my son^ who diways speaks the iruthl^ 

At the time of this occurrence, the figure of the lad 
is described by his contemporaries as beiug that of the 
athletod of the games. Although of manners somewhat 
grave and reserved, he indulged in the gayeties common 
to the youth at that period. He particularly excelled in 
all the manly exercises, sought the companionship of the 
intelligent and deserving, and was beloved and admired 
by all who knew him. 

Upon his appointment to the office of commander-in- 
chief of the American armies,* General Washington, pre- 

* Washington was appointed commander-in-chief of all the forces raised, or to be 
raised, for the defence of the colonies, on the fifteenth of June, 1775. John Adams 
htis left on record the following interesting particulars concerning that appoint* 
ment ; — 

"Everj post brought me letters from my friends, Dr. Winthrop, Dr. Cooper, 
General James Warren, and sometimes from General Ward and his aids, and Gen- 
eral Heath and many others, urging, in pathetic terms, the impossibility of keeping 
their men together without the assistance of Congress. I was daily urging all these 
thiugs, but we were embarrassed with more than one difficulty, not only with the 
party in favor of the petition to the king, and the party who were jealous of inde- 


viously to his joining the forces at Cambridge [July 3, 
1776], removed his mother from her coimtry residence 
to the village of Fredericksburg, a situation remote from 
danger, and contiguous to her friends and relatives. 

pendence, but a third4)arty, which was a soathem partj against a northern, and a 
jcaloasy against a New-England army under tlie command of a New-England gen* 
end. Whether this jealousy was sincere, or whether it was mere pride and a haughty 
ambition of furnishing a southern general to command the northern army, I can not 
say ; but the intention was very visible to me that Colonel Washington was their object, 
aad 80 many of our stanchest men were in the plan that we could carry nothing with- 
out conceding to it. Another embarrassment, wliich was never publicly known, and 
which was carefully concealed by those who knew it, the Massachusetts and other 
NfeV-England delegates were divided. Mr. Hancock and Mr. Gushing hung back, 
Mr. Paine did not come forward, and even Mr. Samuel Adams was irresolute. Mr. 
Hancock himself had an ambition to be appointed commander-in-chief Whether 
he thought an election a compliment due to him, and intended to have the honor of 
declining it, or whether he would have accepted it, I know not. To the compliment 
he had some pretensions; for, at that ffme, his exertions, sacrifices, and general 
merits in the canse of his country, had been incomparably greater than those of 
Colonel Washington. But the delicacy of his health, and his entire want of expe- 
rience in actual sei;yice, though an excellent milida officer, were decisive objections 
to him in my mind. In canvassing this subject out of doors, I found, too, that even 
among the delegates of Virginia there were difficulties. The apostolical reasonings 
among themselves which should be the greatest were not less eneigetic among the 
samts of the Ancient Dominion than they were among us of New England. In 
several conversations I found more than one very cool about the appointment of 
Washington, and particularly Mr. Pendleton was very clear and full against it. 

" Full of anxieties concerning, these confusions, and apprehending daily that we 
should hear very distressing news from Boston, I walked with Mr. Samuel Adams 
in the statehonse-yard for a little exercise and fresh air before the hour of Congress, 
and there represented' to him the various dangers that surrounded us. He agreed 
to them all, but said, ' What shall we do V I answered him that he knew I had 
taken great pains to get our colleagues to agree upon some plan, that we might 
be nnanimons ; but he knew that they would pledge themselves to nothing ; but I 
vras determined to take a step which should compel them and all the other members 
of Congress to declare themselves for or against something. * I am determined this 
morning to make a direct motion that Congress should adopt the army before Boston, 
and appoint Colonel Washington commander of it.' Mr. Adams seemed to think 
Tery seriously of it, but said nothing. 

'* Accordingly, when Congress had assembled, I rose in my place, and in as short 
a speech as the subject would admit, represented the state of the colonies, the uncer- 
tainty in the minds of the people, their great expectation and anxiety, the distresses 


It was there the matron remained during nearly the 
whole of the trying period of the Revolution. Directly 
in the way of the news, as it passed from north to south, 
one courier would bring intelligence of success to our 
arms, another ^ swiftly coursing at his heels," the sadden- 
ing tale of disaster and defeat While thus ebbed and 

of the army, the danger of its dUsolatioD, the difficaltj of collecting another; and 
the probability that the British arm j would take advantage of our delays, march out 
3f Boston, and spread desolation as far as they could go. I concluded with a mo- 
tion, in form, that Congress would adopt the army at Cambridge, and appoint a 
general; that though this was not the proper time to nominate a general, yet, as I 
had reason to believe this was a point of the greatest difficulty, I had no hesitation 
to declare that I had but one gentleman in my mind for that important command, 
and that was a gentleman from Virginia, who was among us, and veiy well known 
to all of us ; a gentleman whose skill and experience as an officer, whose independent 
fortune, great talents, and excellent universal character would command the approba- 
tion of all America, aud unite the cordial exertions of all the colonies better than any 
other person in the Union. Mr. Washington, who happened to sit near the door, as 
soon as he heard me allude to him, from his usual modesty, darted into the library room. 
Mr. Hancock, who was our president, which gave me an opportunity to observe hia 
countenance while I was speaking on the state of the colonies, the army at Cambridge, 
and the enemy, heard me with visible pleasure ; but when I came to describe Washing- 
ton for the commander, I never remarked a more sudden and striking change of cooii- 
tenance. Mortification and resentment were expressed as forcibly as his face oonid 
exhibit them. Mr. Samuel Adams seconded the motion, and that did not soften the 
president's physiognomy at all. The subject came under debate, and several gentle- 
men declared themselves against tlie appointment of Mr. Washington, not on ae> 
count of any personal objection against him, but because the army were all from 
New England, had a general of their own, appeared to be satisfied with him, and had 
ptoved themselves able to imprison the British army in Boston, which was all they 
expected or desired at that time. 

" Mr. Pendleton, of Virginia, Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, were very explicit in 
declaring this opinion. Mr. Cushing and several others more faintly expressed their 
opposition, and their fears of discontent in the army and in New England. Mt. 
Paine expressed a great opinion of General Ward, and a strong friendship for him, 
having been his classmate at college, or, at least, his contemporary; but gave no 
opinion on the question. The subject was postponed to a future day. In the mean- 
time, pains were taken out of doors to obtain a unanimity, and the voices were gen- 
erally so clearly in favor of Washington, that the dissenting members were persuaded 
to withdraw their opposition, and Mr. Washington was nominated, I believe, by Mr. 
Thomas Johnson, of Maryland, unanimously elected, and the army adapted." —L(/i 
and Works of John Adams, ii. 415 to 418, inclusive. 


flowed the fortunes of our cause, the mother, trusting to 
the wisdom and protection of Divine Providence, pre- 
served the even tenor of her life, affording an example 
to those matrons whose sons were aUke engaged in the 
arduous contest ; and showing that unavailing anxieties, 
however belonging to human nature, were unworthy of 
mothers whose sons were combatting for the inestimable 
rights of mankind, and the freedom and happiness of uil- 
bom ages. 

When the comforting and glorious intelligence arrived 
of the passage of the Delaware (Dec. 76*), an event 
which restored our hopes from the very brink of despair, 
a number of her friends waited upon the mother with 
congratulations. She received them with calmness ; ob- 
served that it was most pleasurable news, and that George 
appeared to have deserved well of his country for such 
signal service ; arid continued, in reply to the gratulating 
patriots (most of whom held letters in their hands, from 
which they read extracts, for gazettes were not so plenty 
then as now), "but, my good sirs, here is too much 
flattery ; still George will not forget the lessons I early 
taught him — he will not forget himself, though he is the 
subject of so much praise." 

Here I will speak of the absurdity of an idea which, 
from some strange cause or other, has been suggested, 
Hiough certainly never believed, that the mother of 
Washington was disposed to favor the royal cause. Not 
the slightest foundation has such a surmise in truth. 
Like many others, whose days of enthu8ia.«?m were in 
the wane, that lady doubted the prospects of success in 
the outset of the war, and long during its continuance 

* See notes on the battle of Princeton. 


feared that our means would be found inadequate to a 
successful contest with so formidable a power as Britain ; 
and that our soldiers^ brave^ but imdisciplined and ill pro- 
vided, would be unequal to cope with the veteran and 
vn'U-appointed troops of the king. Doubts like these 
were by no means confined to this Virginia matron, but 
were both entertained and expressed by the stanchest 
of patriots and the most determined of men. When 
that mother, who had been removed to the ooimty of 
Frederick, on the invasion of Virginia, in 1781, was in- 
formed by express of the surrender of Comwallis, she 
raised her hands to heaven, and exclaimed, *^ Thank 
God, war will now be ended, and peace, independence, 
and happiness, bless our country." 

The commander-in-chief was absent from his native 
state from the spring of 75 to the fall of '81, a period of 
nearly seven years. It was his habit to send for Mrs. 
Washington at the close of a campaign, and to return 
her to Mount Vernon on the opening of an ensuing one. 
This estimable lady used to observe, that she always 
heard the first cannon on the opening, and the last at 
s , the close of the campaigns of the Revolutionary war. 
It happened that while remaining later than usual in 
the camp on the Hudson, an alarm was given^ of the 
approach of the enemy from New Yort. The aids-de- 
camp proposed that the ladies (these being the wives of 
Generals Greene and Knox, and others at headquarters) 
should be sent oflf under an escort This the chief 
revised, remarking, the presence of our wives will the 
better encourage us to a brave defence. On a dark 
night, the words of command from the officers, the 
marching of the troops, the dragging of artillery into the 


yard^ the taking out of the windows of the house^ and the 
filling of the house itself with soldiers, ^ all gave dread- 
ful note of preparation," when the enemj finding them- 
selves mistaken in their hopes of surprise, withdrew 
without coming to blows,* 

During the war, and indeed during her useful life, and 
until within three years of her death, when an afllictive 
disease prevented exertion^ the mother of Washington 
set a most valuable example in the management of her 
domestic concerns, carrying her own keys, bustling in 
her household aflairs, providing for her own wants, and 
living and moving in all the pride of independence. 
There are some of the aged inhabitants of Fredericks- 
burg who well remember the matron as, seated in an old- 
fashioned open chaise, she was in the habit of ahnost 

* This little episode, bo abruptly introduced here, is doubtless one of a series of 
ilmilar eTents which took place while the AmericBn armj lay at MorristowD, in 
Kew Jersey, during the winter and spring of 1779 and 1780. The main body of 
the army was encamped upon the southern slope of a mountain near that village, 
and until the middle of February occnpied tents. Then they were received into 
comfortable hnta, whl*h they occupied until the breaking up of the camp in the 
spring. The camp extended from the headquarters in the Ford mansion, about a 
quarter of a mile from the village of Morristown, westward for several miles. Du- 
ring that winter, the proximity of the army to the enemy in New York caused fire* 
quent alarms, which usually set the whole camp in motion. Sentinels were set at 
intervals between the camp and headquarters, and pickets were planted at distant 
points toward the Baritan and Hudson, with intervening sentinels. Sometimes aji 
alarm would commence by the firing of a gun at some distant point. This wocU 
be responded to by the sentineU all along the line to headquarters, when the 
general's life-guard would rush to the house of the chief, barricade the doors and 
throw up the windows. At each window five soldiers, with their mcukcu cocked 
and brought to a charge, would generally be placed, and there remain until ihe 
troops firom the camp marched to headquarters, and the cause of the alarm was 
ascertained. These occasions were veiy annoying to the ladies of the household ; 
for, as I was informed by the late Judge Ford (then a boy fourteen years of age, 
and living there), Mrs. Washington and his mother were obliged to lie in bed, some- 
times for hours, with their room full of soldiers, and the keen winter air from the 
opaft windows piercing through then* drawa curtaixu. 



daily visiting her little farm in the vicinity of the town* 
When there, she would ride about her fields, giving her 
orders, and seeing that they were obeyed. On one occa- 
sion an agent to whom she had given directions &s to a 
particular piece of work, varied from his instructions in 
its execution. The lady, whose coiip Sadl was as perfect 
in rural affairs as that of her eon in war, pointed out the 
error. The agent excused himself by saying, that ^ in 
his judgment the work was done to more advantage than 
it would have been by his first directions.'* Mrs. Wash- 
ington replied, " And pray, who gave you any exercise 
of judgment in the matter? I command you, sir; there 
is nothing left for you but to obey." 

Her great industry, with the well-regulated economy 
of all her concerns, enabled the matron to dispense con- 
siderable charities to the poor, although her own circum- 
stances were always far from rich. All manner of domes- 
tic economics, so useful in those times of privation and 
trouble, received her zealous attention; while every- 
thing about her household bore marks of her care and 
management, and very many things the impress of her 
own hands. 

In a very humble dwelling, at the advanced age of 
eighty-two, and suffering under an excruciating disease 
( caiicer of the breast), thus lived this mother of the first 
of men, preserving unchanged her peculiar nobleness 
?4}d independence of character. She was continually 
visited and solaced by her children and numerous grand- 
children, pertieularly her daughter, Mrs. Lewis. To the 
repeated and earnest solicitations of this lady, that she 
would remove to her house and pass the remainder of 
her days ; to the pressing entreaties of her son that she^ 


would make Mount Vemon the home of her old age, the 
matron replied; *^I thank you for your affectionate and 
dutiful offers, but my wants are few in this world, and I 
feel perfectly competent to take care of myself." Upon 
her son-in-law. Colonel Fielding Lewis proposing that he 
should relieve her in the direction of her affairs, she 
observed ; ^ Do you, Fielding, keep my books in order, 
for your eyesight is better than mine, but leave the ex- 
ecutive management to me." 

One weaknessr alone belonged to this lofty-minded and 
intrepid, woman, and that proceeded from a most affectr 
ing cause. It was a fear of lightning. In early life, a 
female friend had been killed at her side, while sitting at 
the table, the knife and fork in the hands of the unfor- 
tunate being melted by the electric fluid. The matron 
never recovered from the shock occasioned by this dis- 
tressing incident On the approach of a thunder-cloud, 
she would retire to her chamber, and not leave it again 
till the storm had passed over. 

Always pious, in her latter days her devotions were 
performed in private. She was in the habit of repairing 
every day to a secluded spot, formed by rocks and trees 
near to her dwelling, where, abstracted from the world 
and worldly things, she communed with her Creator in 
humiliation and prayer. 

Late in the year 1781, on the return of the combined 
armies from Yorktown, the mother of Washington was 
permitted again to see and embrace her illustrious son, 
the first time in ahnost seven years. As soon as he had 
dismounted, in the notidst of a numerous and brilliant 
suite, after reaching Fredericksburg, he sent to apprize 
her of his arrival, and to know when it would be her 


pleasure to receive him. And now, reader, mark the 
force of early education and habits, and the superiority 
of the Spartan over the Persian school, in this interview 
of the Great Washington with his admirable parent and 
instructor. No pageantry of war proclaimed his coming, 
no trumpets sounded, no banners waved. Alone and on 
foot, the general-in-chief of the combined armieo of 
France and America, the deliverer of his country, the 
hero of the age, repaired to pay his humble duty to her 
whom he venerated as the author of* his being — the 
founder of his fortunes and his fame ; for full well he 
knew that the matron was made of sterner stuflT than to 
be moved by all the pride that glory ever gave, and all 
" the pomp and circumstance" of power. 

She was alone, her aged hands employed in the works 
of domestic industry, when the good news was announced, 
and it was further told, that the victor-chief was in wait- 
ing at the threshold. She bid him welcome by a warm 
embrace, and by the well-remembered and endearing 
name of George — the familiar name of his childhood; 
she inquired as to his health, remarked the lines which 
mighty cares and many toils had made in his manly 
countenance, spoke much of old times and old friends, 
but of his glory not one word. 

Meantime, in the village of Fredericksburg, all was joy 
and revelry ; the town was crowded with the officers of 
the French and American armies, and with gentlemen 
for many miles around, who hastened to welcome the 
conquerors of Comwallis.* The citizens got up a splendid 
ball, to which the matron was specially invited. She 
observed, that although her dancing days were pretty 

* See acconnt of the victory at Yorktown in Chapter vi. 


well over, she should feel happy in contributing to the 
general festivity, and consented to attend. 

The foreign officers were anxious to see the mother 
of their chief They had heard indistinct rumors touch- 
ing her remarkable life and character, but forming their 
judgments from European examples, they were prepared * 
to expect in the mother, that glitter and show which 
wo\ild have been attached to the parents of the great, in 
the countries of the old world. How were they sur- 
prised, when leaning on the arm of her son, she entered 
the room, dressed in the very plain, yet becoming garb, 
worn by the Virginia lady of the old time. Her address 
always dignified and imposing, was courteous, though 
reserved. She received the complimentary attentions 
which were paid to her without evincing the slightest 
elevation, and at an early hour, wishing the company 
much enjoyment of their pleasures, observed, that it was 
high time for old folks to be in bed, and retired, leaning 
as before on the arm of her son. 

The foreign officers were amazed in beholding one 
whom so many causes conspired to elevate, preserving 
the even tenor of her life, while such a blaze of glory- 
shone upon her name and offiipring. It was a moral 
spectacle such as the Europeah world had furnished no 
examples. Names of ancient lore were heard to escape 
from their lips; and they declared, "if such are the 
matrons in America, well may she boast of illustrious 

It was on this festive occasion, that General Washing- 
ton danced a minuet with Mrs. Willis. It closed his 
dancmg days. The minuet was much in vogue at that 
period, and was peculiarly calculated for the display of 


the splendid figure of the chief, and his natural grace 
and elegance of air and manner. The gallant French- 
men who were present, of which fine people it may be 
said that dancing forms one of the elements of their ex- 
istence, so much admired the American performance, a£ 
to admit that a Parisian education could not have im- 
proved it As the eyebing advanced, the commander^ii^ 
chief yielding to the general gayety of the scene, went 
down some dozen couple in the centre dance with great 
spirit and satisfaction.^ 

Previous to his departure for Europe, in the fall of 
1784, the Marquis de Lafayettef repaired to Fredericks* 
burg to pay his parting respects to the mother, and to 
ask her blessing. 

Conducted by one of her grandsons, he approached 
the house, when the young gentleman observing, ^ There, 
sir, is my grandmother ;" the marquis beheld, working in 
her garden, clad in domestic-made dothes, and her gray 
head covered by a plain straw hat^ the mother of ^ his 
hero, his friend, and a country's preserver." The lady 
saluted him kindly, observing, " Ah, marquis, you sec an 
old woman ; but come, I can make you welcome to my 
poor dwelling, without the parade of changing my dress." 

Much as Lafayette had seen and heard of the matron 

* The venerable widow of General Alexander Hamilton, informed me, tha$ 
Washin^^ton was never known to dance after the close of the Bevolntionary war. 
She was present at many balls where he attended. He wonld sometimef watt 
through a figure or twD with ladies, daring the evening, bat never took the steps of 
the dance. 

t Lafayette revisited the United States in 1784, and with eager steps he made bis 
way to Mount Vernon as quickly as possible, after reaching our shores. ' He was 
twice a guest with Washington daring that year ; the first time in July, and the last 
in November. An account of these visits will be found in another part of this 


before^ on this interesting interview he was at once 
chaimed, and struck with wonder. When he considered 
her great age^ the transcendant elevation of her son, 
who, surpassing all rivals in the race of glory, "bore the 
palm alone," and at the same time discovered no change 
in her plain, yet dignified life and manners, he became 
assured that nature had not cast this distinguished 
woman in an ordinary mould, and that the Roman 
matron could flourish in the modem day. 

The marquis discoursed of the happy efiects of. the 
Revolution, and the goodly prospects which opened upon 
regenerated America ; spoke of his speedy departure for 
his native land; paid the tribute of his heart, in his love 
atid admiration of her illustrious son ; and concluded, by 
asking her blessing. She gave it to him, and to the 
encomiums which he had lavished upon his hero and 
paternal chief, she replied in these words, " I am not sur* 
prised at what George has done, for he was always a 
very good boy.'* 

Immediately after the organization of the present gov- 
ernment,* the chief magistrate repaired to Fredericks- 
burg, to pay his humble duty to his mother, preparatory 
to his departure for New York. An affecting scene en- 
sued. The son feelingly remarked the ravages which 
a torturing disease had made upon the aged frame of the 
mother; and addressed her with these words : ^ The peo- 
ple, madam, have been pleased, with the most flattering 
unanimity, to elect me to the chief magistracy of these 
United States, but before I can assume the functions of 
my office, I have come to bid you an affectionate fare- 
well So soon as the weight of public business, which 

'^ In the spring of 1789. 


must necessarily attend the outset of a new government^ 
can be disposed of, I shall hasten to Virginia, and" — 
Here the matron interrupted with — ^ and you will see 
me no more; my great age, and the disease which is 
fast approaching my vitals, warn me that I shall not be 
long in this world ; I trust in God that I may be some- 
what prepared for a better. But go, George, fulfil the 
the high destinies which Heaven appears to have intended 
you for; go, my son, and may that Heaven's and a 
mother's blessing be with you always." 

The president was deeply affected. His head rested 
upon the shoulder of his parent, whose aged arm feebly, 
yet fondly encircled his neck. That brow on which 
fame had wreathed the purest laurel virtue ever gave to 
created man, relaxed from its lofly bearing. That look 
which could have awed a Boman senate in its Fabrician 
day, was bent in filial tenderness upon the time-worn 
features of the aged matron. He wept A thousand 
recollections crowded upon his mind, as memory re- 
tracing scenes long passed, carried him back to the 
maternal mansion and the days of juvenility, where he 
beheld that mother, whose care, education, and discipline, 
caused him to reach the topmost height of laudable am- 
bition. Yet, how were his glories forgotten, while he 
gazed upon her whom, wasted by time and malady, he 
should part with to meet no more. Her predictions 
were but too true. The disease which so long had preyed 
upon her frame, completed its triumph, and she expired 
at the age of eighty-five, rejoicing in the consciousness 
of a life well spent, and confiding in the belief of a blessed 

In her person, the matron was of the middle size, and 




well proportioned; her features pleasing, yet strongly 
marked. It is not the happiness of the author to re- 
memher her, having only seen her with infant eyes. 
The sister of the chief he perfectly well remembers. 
She was a most majestic-looking woman, and so strikingly 
like the brother, that it was a matter of frolic to tlirow a 
cloak around her, and placing a military hat on her head, 
such was her amazing resemblance, that on her appear- 
ance, battalions would have presented arms, and senates 
risen to do homage to the chief* 

In her latter days, the matron often spoke of her own 
good boy ; of the merits of his early life ; of his love and 
duty; but of the deliverer of his country — the chief magis- 
teite of the great republic, never. Call you this insensi- 
bility ? call you it want of ambition ? Oh, no ; her ambition 
had been gratified to overflowing. In her Spartan school 
she had taught him to be good — that he became great, 
was a consequence, not the cause. 

Thus lived and died this distinguished woman. Had 
she been of the olden time, statues would have been 
erected to her memory in the capitol, and she would 
have been called the Mother of Romans. When another 
century shall have elapsed, and our descendants shall 
have learned the true value of liberty, how will the fame 
of the paternal chief be cherished in story and in song, 
nor will be forgotten her, who first " bent the twig" to 
^ incline the tree" to glory. 

Then, and not till then, will youth and age, maid and 
matron, aye, and bearded men, with pilgrim step, repair 

* This was the mother of Lawrence Lewis, the favorite nephew of Washington, 
who married Eleanor Parke Castls, mentioned in the preceding Memoir of the 
aothor of these RecoUectioM, 


to the now neglected grave of the mother of Wash- 

* It is yet a neglected grave. This Memoir was wntten more than thirty years 
ago. It was first pnbliBhed in the National Gaxette, on the 13th of May, 1826. it 
attracted a great deal of attention at the time, and a project was set on foot for the 
re-entombment of the remains of the matron, and the erection of a monument orer 
them. This movement was by no means confined to the people of Yiiginja. It 
elicited the public sympathy throughout the Union. The press, as usual, discussed 
the subject, and a New York paper proposed that the whole matter of raising the 
moderate sum of two thousand dollars, for the erection of the monument, should be 
left entirely in the hands of " the American Maids and Matrons." Mr. Gordon, the 
proprietor of the estate on which was the matron's grave, had some correspondence 
with Mr. Custis on the subject, and the inhabitants of Ftedericksbuig got up a 
memorial. But the whole project slumbered for several years. 

Finally, in 1833, Silas E. Burrows, Esq., of the city of New York, undertook to 
erect a monument to the memory of the mother of Washington, at his own expense. 
The comer-stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies, very near her grave, a spot 
which she herself had selected for burial, on the land of her son-in-law, Colonel 
Fielding Lewis, near the ledge of rocks where she used to retire for meditation and 
devotion. It was placed by Andrew Jackson, then president of the United States, 
on the seventh of May, 1833, in the presence of a great concourse of people. He 
went down the Potomac from Washington city, on the sixth, and was met at Potomac 
creek, nine miles from Fredericksburg, by the monument committee of that city. 
He was received by a military escort, by whom he was conducted to the residence 
of Doctor Wallace, in Fredericksburg, where he was entertained until the following 
day, when a lai^ge military and civic procession was formed, proceeded to the grave, 
and there engaged in imposing ceremonies. 

The procession was formed in the following order :— 

1. A detachment of cavalry. 

2. The chief architect and masonic societies. In this division, Silas E. Bnirows, 
of New York, was assigned a conspicuous and honorable station. 

3. The president of the United States in an open carriage, with the heads of de- 
partments, and his private secretary (Major Donelson), accompanied by the monu- 
ment committee. 

4. The clergy, and relatives of Washington. 

5. The mayor and common council of Fredericksburg. 

6. A handsome company of small boys, in complete uniform, with wooden guns. 

7. The officers of the army and navy of the United States, and the invited 

8. A battalion of volunteers under the command of Major Patten, and seveml 
companies of infantry from Washington and Alexandria, with the marine band. 

9. Strangers and citixens, six abreast. 

It was estimated that at least fifteen thousand persons were present on the occa- 
don. After an appropriate prayer by the Reverend £. C. M'Guire (since author of 


t Yolnme <m tfaa Beligfious Chamcter of Washington), Mr. Bassetty one of the mem- 
ben of the monament committee, deliTered an eloquent address to the president on 
the character of her whom they soaght to honor. The president made a most toach- 
ing replj, and as he deposited an inscribed plate in the comer stone, he said, *' Fellow- 
eitizens, at yonr request, and in yonr name, I now deposite this plate in the spot 
destined for it ; and when the American pilgrim shall, in after ages, come up to this 
high and holy place, and lay his hand upon this sacred column, may he recall the 
Tirtaes of her who sleeps beneath, and depart with his affections purified, and his 
piety strengthened, while he invokes blessings upon the memory of the mother of 
Mrs. Sigonmey thus wrote, in reference to this event :— 

" Long hast thou slept unnoticed. Nature stole 
In her soft minstrelsy around thy bed. 
Spreading her vernal tissue, viole^gemmed. 
And pearled with dews. 

She bade bright summer bring 
Gifts of frankincense, with sweet song of birds. 
And autumn cast his reaper's coronet 
Down at thy feet, and stormy winter speak 
Sternly of man's neglect. But now we come 
To do thee homage — Mother of our chief 1 — 
Fit homage, such as honoreth him who pays. 
Methinks we see thee, as in olden time^ 
Simple in garb, majestic, and serene ; 
Unmoved by pomp or drcnmstances ; in truth 
Inflexible ; and, with a Spartan zeal, 
Repressing vice and making folly grave. 
Thou didst not deem it woman's part to waste 
Life in inglorious sloth — to sport a while 
Amid the flowers, or on the summer wave. 
Then, fleet like the Ephemeron, away. 
Building no temple in her children's heartSi 
Save to the vanity and pride of life 
Which she had worshipped. 

For the might that clothed 
The "Pater Patrise"— for the glorious deeds 
That make Mount Vernon's tomb a Mecca shrine 
For all the earth, what thanks to thee are due, 
Who, 'mid his elements of being wrought, 
We know not — Heaven can tell." 

The monument thus commenced, was never flnished. Everything was completed 
but the obelisk with which it was to be surmounted, and the inscription. Commer- 
cial rererses soon afterward befel the noble inceptor and designer, and he was com* 
oelled to abandon his patriotic work. And with shame be it spoken, the citizens of 


Virginia have left the nnfinished monument to cramble into dast, and the mother 
of Washington to remain anhonored. Yet there is a raj of light. A correspondent 
of the New Hampshire Patriot, writing from Whampoa, in China, ander date of 
December 20, 1858, speaks thas of Mr. Barrows and the monameni: — 

" I supposed he was long since dead, and that his monument and memory would 
perish together. But he still lives ; and though his great object is suspended, it is 
not abandoned, but only adjourned till he can recuperate his fortunes. I met with 
him in Hong Kong, where, with two sons, he is conducting commercial enterprises, 
and sails back and forward between China and California with as little thought as 
you in taking the railroad for Boston. An old man and lame, on the other side of 
the globe, so fiur from his monument, and forgotten around the monument, even, as 
well as at home, it was touching to the heart to find him here, with one object, one 
thought, one last effort, remembering the ' Mother of Washington,' when he himself 
had passed from the memory of the living." 

I visited that unfinished monument near the close of 1848, when the huge obelisk 
of white marble, ready for the sculptor's hand lay there, broken and defaced. The 
monument is also of white marble, and even in its unfinished state, had an imposing 
appearance. The years of more than a quarter of a century hare now passed by 
since that comer-stone was laid, with so much pomp and promise, to the memory 
of her, of whom it was said by a distingushed gentleman in the city of modem Rome, 
that she was ** the most fortunate of American matrons, in having given to her coun- 
try and to the world, a hero without ambition, and a patriot without reproach ;" and 
yet the monument is unfinished. It stands there silently appealing to national patri- 
otism and local pride to sculpture its ornaments and seat its obelisk. It does 
more; it rebukes the insensibility of the sons and daughters of Virginia, to the 
memory of the most honored woman of the land. Tear after year the dust of the 
plain has lodged upon the top of the half-finished pile, and the winds have planted 
the seeds of flowers and weeds wild there ; and upon the base where that Qobl6«>beli8k 
should stand, the sun, the rain, and the dew, annually weave green garlands and 
festoons, as if rebuking the indolence or avarice of insensate man. Even the marble 
tablet upon which was to be inscribed the simple words, 

is covered with green moss ; and there is nothing to tell the stranger that near him 
lie the mortal remains of her who gave birth to the Father of hib Couktbt. 

A picture of this unfinished monument may be found in Louing*$ FUld-Book of 
the Revolution, 




Uml ■Washdtotoh'b Mwiattb*— Wabhinotok^ Lkttbk to H«b ok ACCBPTDfo Tint Con. 
MAicv ow ma ABiiT — MavBxs ov thb Yiboikia Uocsb op BvBonsBS — Hm PBBsoirAb 
ATTBAonom— MAHBioif-Hocn at Morira Vbbjtoh— TbbCbaw— Ha Ck>jiPAifY — A Maa- 
«BB or Slatbb— BiLLT— Bnuop— Tub Miutabt Hat and Wab Swobp— Billt a» 
MovKT Vbbhom— Wa«hikoton'8 KxBMPTioir PBOM DisxASB— Aw Eablt Bisbb— His 
Habits nc Pbitatb awd Public— His Costumb— His Wab Hobsb — His Oubstb akd 
His DuTiBS — Tofb of His Fabms— A Dbsobiptiox of Him— XJbb op thb Umbbblla — 
Toasts— WA8iinroTO!r*s Etwikos- His Habit in Wititbb^^His Exbbobb— pABTXALm 
TO Chili»bbx— WAsnxH«T0ir an Obsbbtbb OP THB Sabbath. 


Forty years a husband, General Washington retained 
an old-fashioned habit of husbands, as he always did the 
ease and elegance of old-fashioned manners.*^ From the 
time of his marriage, until he ceased to live in nature, he 
wore suspended from his neck, by a gold chain, and rest- 
ing on his bosom, the miniature portrait of his vdfe. The 
letter which he wrote to her, upon his acceptance of the 
command of the American army,f is a proof, both of his 

* Washington was married in Jannary 1759, and died in December 1799. 

t The following is a copy of tlie letter, transcribed from the antograph preserved 

at Arlington house. It is the only letter from Washington to his wife known to be 

in existence :— 

'' Fhiladslphia, June IS, 1775. 

" Mr Dbabebt : I am now sit down to write yon on a subject which fills me with 
inexpressible concern, and this concern is greatly aggrarated and increased when I 
reflect upon the uneasiness I know it will give you. It has been determined in 
Ck>ngress that the whole army raised for the defence of the American cause shall bo 
put under my care, and that it is necessary for me to proceed immediately to Boston 
to take upon ma the command of it. 

"Ton may believe me, my dear Patsy, when I assure yon in the most solemn man- 
ner, that, so far from seeking this appointment, I have used every endeavor in my 
power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to part with you and the family 


conjugal tenderness, and diffidence in receiving so im- 
portant a commission ; also, of the purity of his hearty 
and of the generous and nobly disinterested motives 
which governed his life and actions. 

Soon after his marriage, Colonel Washington became 
settled at Mount Vernon,* and was elected frequently 

bat from a consciousness of its being a tnist too great for my capacity, and that I 
should enjoy more real happiness in one month with you at home than I hare the 
most distant prospect of Bnding abroad, if my stay were to be seven times serea 
years. But as it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me apon this senrica, I 
shall hope that my nndertaking it is designed to answer some good parpose. Toa 
might, and I suppose did perceive, from the tenor of my letters, that I was appre- 
hensive I conld not avoid this appointment, as I did not pretend to intimate when 
I should return. That was the case. It was utterly out of my power to refuse 
this appointment without exposing my character to such censures as would have 
reflected dishonor upon myself and given pain to my friends. This I am sure 
could not, and ought not, to be pleasing to yon, and must have lessened me con- 
siderably in my own esteem. I shall rely, therefore, confidently on that Providence 
which has heretofore preserved and been bountiful to mo^ not doubting but that I 
shall return safe to you in the fall. I shall feel no pain from the toil or the danger 
of the campaign ; my unhappiness will flow from the uneasiness I know yon will 
feel from being left alone. I therefore beg that you will summon your whole 
fortitude, and pass your time as agreeably as possible. Nothing will give me so 
much sincere satisfaction as to hear this, and to hear it from your own pen. My 
earnest and ardent desire is, that you would pursue any plan that is most likely to 
produce content and a tolerable degree of tranquillity ; and it must add gready to 
my uneasy feelings to hear that you are dissatisfied or complaining at what I really 
could not avoid. 

" As life is always uncertain, and common prudence dictates to every man the 
necessity of settling his temporal concerns, while it is in his power, and while the 
mind b calm and undisturbed, I have, since I came to this place (for I had not time 
to do it before I left home), got Colonel Pendleton to draft a will for me, by the 
directions I gave him, which will I now enclose. The provision made for you in 
case of my death will, I hope, be agreeable. 

" I shall add nothing more, as I have several letters to write, but to desuts that yon 
will remember me to your friends, and to assure yon that I am, with the most 
Bufeigned regard, my dear Patsy, your affectionate, &c." 

* The eminence which gave name to the whole estate on the Potomac, owned by 
Washington, and on which the mansion was built, was called Mount Vernon in 
honor of Admiral Vernon of the British navy. Lawrence Washington, half-brother 
of George, and owner of the estate at that time, had served in the British army before 
Carthsgena, where Vernon was the naval commander. Lawrence died in July 175S| 


from the county of Fairfax to the house of burgesses * 
During the reigns of the provincial governors, Bote- 

M the early age of thirtjr-foar years, leaving a wife and infant dangiiter. The Monnt 
Vernon estate was bequeathed to that daaghter, and in the eventof her decease withont 
iflsne, the property was to pass into the absolate possession of Geoige, to whom, in 
his will, Lawrence had entrasted the chief care of his affairs, although he was the 
yoangest executor. He was then only twenty years of age. The daughter did not 
long sunrire her father, and Mount Vernon became the property of George Wash- 
ington. In a letter to a friend in London, soon after his marriage, Washington 
wrote concerning his home : " No estate in United America is more pleasantly 
aitoated. In a high and healthy country ; in a latitude between the extremes of 
beat and cold ; on one of the finest rivers in the world — a river well stock with vari- 
ous kinds of fish at all seasons of the year, and in the spring with shad, herring, 
baas, carp, stnigeon, &c., in great abundance. The borders of the estate are washed 
by more than ten miles of tide-water; several valuable fisheries appertain to it; the 
whole shore, in feet, is one entire fishery." 

* While engaged in the campaign of 1756, Colonel Washington was elected a 
representative of Frederick county, in the Virginia house of burgesses. Just pre- 
vious to the election, his friends urged him to leave the army for a few days, and 
give the weight of his personal presence in favor of himself, as a candidate. The 
public good required him to remain with the army, and as that always outweighed 
every private consideration, he refused to leave. There were four candidates, 
and he was chosen by a laige majority over all his competitors. '* Your friends," 
wrote one of his correspondents, ** have been very sincere, so that you have rftceivod 
more votes than any other candidate. Colonel Ward sat on the bench and repro' 
aented yon, and he was carried round the town in the midst of a general applause, 
and bnzsaing for Colonel Washington." This was a gratifying result for the young 
commander, for be had received the support of the people among whom, in the most 
trying times, he had been compelled to exercise strong military restraint. 

This election cost Colonel Washington thirty-nine pounds and six shillings, Vir- 
ginia currency. " Among the items of charge which have been preserved," says 
Sparks, " are a hogshead and a barrel of punch, thirty-five gallons of wine, forty- 
three gallons of strong beer, cider, and dinner for his friends." 

Colonel Washington was a member of the house of burgesses for about fifteen 
years. Soon after the meeting of that body, in January 1757, when Washington 
appeared there as a member for the first time, it was resolved to return thanks to 
him for the distinguished service he had rendered his country in the field. Upon 
Speaker Robinson devolved the pleasing duty. '* As soon as Colonel Washington 
took his seat," says Mr. Wirt, " Afr. Robinson, in obedience to the order, and fol- 
lowing the impulse of his own generous and grateful heart, dischai^d the duty with 
great dignity, but with such warmth of coloring, and strength of expression, as 
entirely to confound the young hero. He rose to express his acknowledgments for 
the honor, but such was his trepidation and conftision, that he could not p:ive dis- 
tinct utterance to a single syllable. He blushed, stammered, and trembled for a 


tourt* and Edeii,f the courts of Williamsburg| and An- 
napolis§ displayed as much of the polish of high life as was 

second ; when the speaker relieved him by a stroke of address that would have done 
honor to Louis the Fonrteenth in his proudest and happiest moment. ' Sit down 
Mr. Washinjrton/ said he, with a conciliatory smile, 'yonr modesty is equal to 
yoar valor, and that surpasses the power of any language that I possess.' " 

* Lord Botetourt, one of the king's lords of the bedchamlier, arrived in Viifnnia 
as governor of the colony, in the autumn of 1768. He was the successor of QoTemor 
Fauquier. He was an Englishman; upright, honorable, benevolent and aooom* 
pushed. Wlien asked by the king, on receiving his appointment, " When will yoa 
be ready to go?" he promptly replied, " To-night." His manners were very con- 
ciliatory. For this reason Junius described him as a *' cringing, bowing, fiawning, 
and sword-bearing courtier ;" and Horace Walpole said, on his departure, " if hia 
graces don't captivate the Vii^ginians, he will enrage them to fury ,* for I take all his 
douceur to be enamelled on iron." Like others of his class. Lord Botetourt had 
underrated the people be had consented to govern ; and his ostentatious display of 
vice-regal pomp, when proceeding to open the Virginia assembly, for the first time, 
disgusted them. He was, on the whole, one of the best of the royal governors erer 
Touchsafed to Virginia, and his memory is cherished with affection in the Old 
Dominion. On the green, in ftont of William and Mary College, at Wiiliamsbuiigp 
is a statue of Lord Botetourt. He died in 1771, and was succeeded by Lord 

t Sir Robert Eden was the last of the royal governors of Maryland, and suc- 
ceeded Governor Sharpe in 1768. He was a very amiable gentleman, and at the 
commencement of revolutionary movements against royal authority, he was dis- 
posed to be very conciliatory toward the people of Maryland. But, as royal gover- 
nor, he was compelled to obey the commands of his king and his ministers, and in 
80 doing, he off'ended the republican sentiment of his colony, and was obliged to 
abdicate. He returned after the war to recover his estates, and died at Annapolis, 
in September 1784. His wife was sister to Lord Baltimore. 

I Williamsburg, as we have elsewhere remarked, was made the capital of ViT" 
ginla at an early day, and the governors hold courts there in a style approaching 
that of royalty itself, only on a smaller scale. The remains of the " palace" of Lord 
Dunmore may yet be seen. These consist of the two wings. The whole was con- 
structed of brick. The centre portion was accidentally destroyed by fire, while oc- 
cupied by the French troops, immediately after the surrender of Comwallis, at Tork- 
town. It was seventy-four feet long and sixty-eight feet wide, and occupied the site 
of the old palace of Qovemor Spottswood, at the beginning of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. Attached to the palace were three hundred and sixty acres of land, beautifully 
laid out in gardens, parks, carriage-ways, and a bowling-green. 

4 Annapolis, on the Chesapeake, at the month of the Severn, became the seat vi 
the government of Maryland in the year 1694, when all the records and offices were 
moved there ftom St. Marys, the first capital. There, as at Williamsburg, wan 
found tlie most polished society ; and of so much importaace were these two placet 


to be found in the larger cities of Europe, with far less of 
their corruptions and debaucheries. It was the custom 
for gentlemen of fortune to have their town houses du- 
ring the sessions of the legislature, where they lived in 
great splendor and hospitality. Colonel Washington was 
of this number. His personal attractions, not less than 
his early renown in arms, made him a subject of much 
interest to the Europeans, who were frequent visiters to 
the capitals of Virginia and Maryland. Straight as an 
Indian arrow, he was easily distinguished in the gay 
crowds which appeared at the palaces of the vice-kings, 
by a something in his air and manner which bespoke no 
ordinary man. His lower limbs, being formed mathe- 
matically straight, he walked, as it were, on parallel 
lines, while his niode of placing and taking up his feet 
resembled the step of precision and care so remarkable 
in the aboriginal children of the forest. He might be 
termed rather a silent than a speaking member of the 
house of burgesses, although he sometimes addressed the 
chair, and was listened to with attention and respect, 
while the excellence of his judgment was put in requisi- 
tion on all committees, either of important general or 
local policy.* 

oonsidered, In point of social character, that the fint theatrical performancefl ever 
given in America, by a regular company, were at those two places. The toleration 
extended to such amusements by the Anglican chnrch, then the established church in 
Virginia and Maryland, may have had some influence in causing Hallam and his 
company first to try tliehr fbrtunes thei«. It was in 1758 and 1758 that the perform- 
ances were first presented in those two cities ; and it is on record, that Washington, 
who was rery fond of dramatic entertainments, attended them at both places. 

* So in the continental Congress, of which Washington was a member in 177A 
and 177S. He had no ability for an extemporary speaker, and did not there engage 
in the ))ublic debates. He was an excellent counsellor, and was assiduous in his at- 
tendance at Caipenter's hall whenever the Congress was in session. Patrick Henry, 
wImii asked, on his retnm home from the Congress, whom he considered the greatest 


When Colonel Washington first resided at Mount Ver- 
non, both the mansion-house and estate were inconsider- 
able. All the embellishments of the house and groimds 
are owing to his creative hand. Prior to the War for In- 
dependence, he was much attached to the pleasiu'es of 
the chase, and is described as a bold and feiarless rider. 
He kept hounds for a short time after the Revolution, but 
declined hunting altogether about 1787 or '88. 

He was never disposed to conviviality, but liked the 
cheerful converse of the social board. He indulged in 
no games of chance, except in the olden times, when re- 
quired to make up a party at whist, in playing for a 
trifle ; although, for m^y years, play of all kinds was 
unknown in his household.* After his retirement from 
public life, all the time which he could spare fcom his 
library, was devoted to the improvement of his estates, 
and the elegant and tasteful arrangement of his house 
and grounds. He was his own surveyor,-}" and the dis- 

man in that body, replied : " If you speak of eloquence, Mr. Rutledge, of Sonth Caro- 
lina, is by far the greatest orator ; but if yoa speak of solid information and sound 
judgment, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on that floor.*' 

* During his younger married life, Washington indulged in all lawfhl amuse* 
ments. His home was a gay one, and almost every day he had company at dinner. 
" Would any person believe," he says in his diaiy, in 1768, "that, with a huidndand 
one cow$ actually reported at a late enumeration of the cattle, I should still be 
obliged to buy batter for my family %" The hunting days, which occunred fre- 
quently, generally ended in a dinner at Belvoir, the seat of the Fairfaxes, a little 
lower on the Potomac, or at Mount Vernon — ^more frequently at the latter. The 
company usually staid all night, and bad weather might keep them there. Wash- 
ington was indifferent to games, but on such occasions he resorted to them to 
amuse his guests. On one of these, he records in his diary : " At home all day at 
cards; it snowing." 

t A facsimile of the record of one of the latest of his surveys, is presented in this 
work. Surveying was Washington's earliest occupation for gain« he having been 
employed in that business by Lord Fairfiix, who owned immense tracts of land in 
the valleys beyond the Blue Bidge. Washington set out on his flrst surveying 
expedition, on account of Lord Fairfax, in March, 1748, just one month from tli« 


position and appearance of his farms^ gave evident proofs 
that the genius of useful improvement had directed its 
energies with beneficial, as well as ornamental effects. 

As a master of slaves, General Washington was con 
sistent, as in every other relation of his meritorious life 
They were comfortcably lodged, fed, and clothed ; required 
to do a full and fair share of duty ; well cared for in sick- 
ness and old age, and kept in strict and proper discipline. 
These, we humbly conceive, comprise all the charities of 
slavery. To his old servants, where long and faithful 
services rendered them worthy of attachment and esteem, 
he was most kind. His huntsman and Bevolutionary at- 
tendant^ Will Lee, commonly called Billy, was specially 
provided for, and survived his master a good many years. 
Will had been a stout active man, and a famous horse- 
man, but, from accident, was a cripple for .many years 
before his death, which occurred at a very advanced age.* 
This ancient follower, both in the chase and war, formed 
a most interesting relic of the chief, and received con- 
siderable largesses from the numerous visiters to Mount 
Vernon. The slaves were left to be emancipated at the 

da/ on which he was sixteen yean of age. I have before me his original drawings 
of the plan for laying oat the grounds around the Mount Vernon mansion, made 
after his return from the army and retirement to private life, in 1784. A particular 
account of these may be found in a Tolume entitled, ** Mount Vernon, and tts Auth 
eiationSf" published in 1859, by W. A. Townsend & Company, New York. 

* I visited Mount Vernon in October, 1858, where I saw an old mulatto, named 
Westford, who had been a resident there since August, 1801. He was raised in the 
ftmity of Judge Bnshrod Washington, who came into possession of Mount Vernon, 
by inhe^tance, after the death of Mrs. Washington. Westford knew Billy well. His 
master having left him a house, and a pension of one hundred and fifty dollars a year, 
Billy became a spoiled child of fortune. He was quite intemperate at times, and 
finally ddiriwn, tremem, with all its horrora, seized him. Westford fipeqnently re- 
lieved him on such occasions, by bleeding him. One morning, a IttUe more than 
thirty years s^, Westford was sent for to bring Billy out of a fit. The blood would 
not flow. Billy was dead ! 


death of Mrs. Washington ; but it was found necessary 
{ioT prudential reasons) to give them their freedom in one 
year after the general's decease. Although many of 
them, with a view to their liberation, had been instructed 
in mechanic trades, yet they succeeded very badly as free- 
men : so true is the axiom, ^ that the hour which makes 
man a slave, takes half his worth away." j 

Bishop, an English soldier, formed' an interesting re- 
miniscence of the war of '55, He belonged to Brad- 
dock's own regiment ; and, on accoimt of possessing su- 
perior intelligence, was detailed as a body-servant, to 
accompany that ill-fated commander on the expedition 
to Fort du Quesne* Bishop firmly believed in the 
Providence which shielded the provincial colonel, in the 
memorable battle of Monongahela, and observed, he was 
the only mounted officer left. The enemy knew him 
well, from their having felt him severely, the year be- 

* On account of boundary disputes, at aliont the middle of the last century, the 
French and English in America, engaged in a war, and finally hostilities between 
the two nations were officially declared. The war commenced in the Ohio region. 
Englishmen attempted to build a fort at the forks of the Ohio, upon territory claimed 
by the French. The latter, aided by Indians, drove the English off, finished the 
fort, and named it Du Quesne, in honor of the governor-general of Canada. Against 
this fort General Braddock, an Irish officer of considerable military renown, led aa 
expedition in the year 1755. After much toil and difficulty he reached the Monon- 
gahela early in the month of July. Washington, with the rank of colonel, accom- 
panied him as aid. On the ninth, they suddenly fell into an Indian ambush, and a 
terrible encounter ensued between French and Indians on one side, and English 
and provincial soldiers on the other. Washington urged Braddock to fight, as tho 
Indians did, or rather, as the provincials were accustomed to, but that general 
would not swerve from the rules of European tactics. The consequence was, a ter- 
rible slaughter of his troops, and a defeat. Braddock himself was mortally wounded, 
and tlie remnant of his army was saved by the skill and gallant conduct of Colonel 
Washington. He was the only mounted officer who, on that day, was not wounded, 
lie had two horses shot under him, and four bullets passed through his coat. " By 
the all-powerful dispensations of Providence," he wrote to his brother, " I have been 
protected beyond all human probability or expectation." 


fore at the afikir of the Meadows f and the provincial 
military being far more obnoxious to the French and 
Indians than the European troops, from the marksman- 
ship of ihe rangers, and their intimate knowledge of the 
modes of forest warfare, the fire of the enemy became 
particularly directed against the devoted young warrior, 
whom they afterward termed " the spirit-protected man," 
destined to "become the chief of nations," and who 
^ could not die in battle " The hat worn on that eventr 
ful day, and which was pierced by two balls, was at 
Mount Vernon, and both seen and handled by several 
persons, long within our remembrance ; yet, strange to 
say, it was no where to be found on the demise of the 
chief Another and invaluable relict was also missing ; 
we mean the sword of service which was worn in action 
in the War for Independence. It was described to us, by 
one who had often buckled it to the hero's side, as being 
a kind of hanger ; and we have an indistinct recollection 
of having been told in the family, that it was given to 
General Greene at the close of the war. If so, it surely 
could not have been more worthily bestowed. Upon 
mentioning these circumstances to General Andrew 
Jackson, he was pleased to say that he would make 
inquiry among the descendants of Greene, who, if they 

*Wheii, by order of Goyemor Dinwiddie, Major Washington, in 1754, was 
marching toward the forks of the Ohio, he was informed that the French had driven 
the English away, and that a strong force of French and Indians were on their march 
to attack him. He prudently wheeled, marched back to a place called the Great 
Meadows, and there hastily erected a stockade, and called it Fort Necessity. Atrain, 
on the death of the leader of the expedition, when the whole command devolved on 
Major Washington, he advanced with four hundred men. He was soon advised of 
the approach of a much larger number of the enemy, and he fell back to Fort Neces- 
sity at the Great Meadows. There, on the third of July, he was besieged by about 
fifteen hundred foes, and on the morning of the fourth surrendered. It was upon hon 
orable terms ; and Washington and his troops were allowed to rcium to Virginia. 


possess, will, no doubt, most dearly prize so valued a gift 
as the Sward of the Revohdim* 

* This was written in Febraary, 1827. That sword, with Franklin's staff, is pre- 
served in a glass case, with other personal mementoes of Waahington, in the modci- 
ball of the patent-office at Washington citf. The handle is of ivory, colored a pale 
green, and wonnd spirally at wide intervals with silver wire. It was mannfactnred 
by J. Bailey, Fishkill, Dnchess county, New York, and has the maker's name en- 
graven upon the hilt The belt is of white leather, silver mounted, and was in the 
old French and Indian war. It bears a silver plate, on which is engraved, " 1757." 
' The long black staff grouped with the sword, was bequeathed to Washington by 
Doctor Franklin, in the following clause of the oodidl to his will : — 

" My fine crab-tree walking-stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form 
of the cap of liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Wash- 
ingUm, 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 Forbach, the dowager-duchest 
of Deux-Fonts, connected with some verses which should go with it." 

Of these relics, our lyric poet, George P. Morris, has sweetly sung in the fol- 
lowing ode, caUed ** The Sword and the St^f." 

'< The sword of the Hero ! 

The staff of the Sage! 
Whose valor and wisdom 

Are stamped on the age! 
Time-hallowed mementoes 

Of those who have riven 
The sceptre from tyrants, 

'The lightning from heaven. 

' "This weapon, O Freedom! 

Was drawn by thy son. 
And it never was sheathed 

Till the battle was won! 
No stain of dishonor 

Upon it we seel 
'Twas never surrendered - ^ 

Except to the free ! 

"While Fame claims the hero 

And patriot sage, 
Their names to emblazon 

On History's page, 
No holier relics 

Will Liberty hoard, 
Than Fsankliv's staff, guarded 

By WABHivaTON's sword." 


At the commencement of hostUities, in 1775, Bishop 
being too old for active service, was left* at home in 
charge of the manufacturing establishments of the house* 
hold, wherein the veteran would flourish his cane, ex- 
acting as perfect obedience as though he had been a 
x^ommanding oJQQ^er on parade. A comfortable hou^e 
had been built for him ; he had married ; and, looking no 
more toward his native land, he was contented to pass 
the remainder of his days on the domain of his patron, 
where he rested from labor, in the enjoyment of every 
possible ease and indulgence — the reward of his long 
and faithful services. In his comfortable homestead, and 
hoary with age, he would delight the yoimg with tales 
of fearful interest of the Indian war; while, his own 
conflicts ended, and himself at peace with all the world, 
he feebly trimmed the lamp of life, which, having burned 
for more than eighty years, could but for a little while 
longer be kept from expiring. 

Notwithstanding his perfect reverence for his patron, 
this old soldier would sometimes, presuming on the privi- 
lege of age and long services, chafe his protector on 
points of expediency, though never on those of obedience. 
The general would assume a lofty tone, saying, " It is 
very well, sir ; if you are at length tired of my service, 
you are at perfect liberty to depart." The ancient fol- 
lower of Braddock, however, knew his man, and knew 
exactly what best to do; so he would wisely become 
silent, and th6 storm which appeared to be brooding 
would quickly pass away, then returning sunshine, cheer- 
ed with the warmth of its kindness the veteran of '55.* 

* See note on page 158. Braddock had fire horses shot nnder him before re 
ceivin<; his mortal wound. Bishop was in close attendance upon his master alt 



The Washington family were subject to hereditary 
gout The chief never experienced a pang. His tem- 
perance, and the energetic employment of both his body 
and mind, seemed to forbid the approach of a disease, 
which severely afflicted several of his nearest kindred. 
His illnesses were of rare occurrence, but were particu- 
larly severe. His aversion to tlie use of medicine was 
extreme; and, even when in great suffering, it was 
only by the entreaties of his lady, and the respectful, yet 
beseeching look of his oldest friend and companion in 
arms (Doctor James Craik), that he could be prevailed 
upon to take the slightest preparation of medicine * 

General Washington, during the whole of both his 
public and private life, was a very early riser j indeed, 

the while, and assisted in carrying the wounded general from the field. He was con- 
veyed, first in a tnmbrel, then on horseback, and finally by his soldiers on a litter, 
in the flight toward Fort Cumberland. He was attended by Dr. James Craik, the 
life-long friend of Washington, and also by Colonel Washington himself. Braddock 
died on the night of the fifteenth. Just before his death, he commended Bishop, who 
had served him faithfully, to the protection of Colonel Washington, who, two hours 
afterward, read the impressive funeral service of the Anglican church over his grave, 
by the light of torches. It was a little past midnight when they laid their com- 
mander in a grave, dug in the middle of the road, to prevent his body being dis- 
covered and treated with indignity by the Indians. 

* Colonel Washington's health sufiered much during the campaigns of 1 757 and 
1758. Late in the autumn of 1757, he was compelled to leave his command and go 
home, severely soffering firom dysentery. His malady, which had been wearing 
upon him for some time, increased, and Doctor Craik warned him that his life 
was in danger. He went home to Mount Vernon, where his disease settled into a 
hver, from which he did not recover in less than four months. Ho endeavored to 
go to Williamsbnig on nigent business, in February following, but could not; and 
toward the close of that month he wrote to Colonel Stanwix, saying, " I have never 
been able to return to my command, since I wrote to you last, my disorder, at times, 
returning obstinately upon me, in spite of the efforts of all the sons of ^sculapins, 
whom I have hitherto consulted. At certain periods I have been reduced to great 
extremity, and have now too much reason to apprehend my approaching decay 
[consfimption], bein^ visited with several symptoms of such disease." He was then 
tirenty-six years of ago. As we shall hereafter observe, he was very dangerously 
ill while president of the republic. 


in the maternal mansion^ at which his first habits 
were formed, the character of a sluggard was abhorred. 
Whether as chief magistrate, or the retired citizen, we 
find this man of method and labor seated in his library 
from one to two hours before day, in winter, and at day- 
break in summer. We wonder at the amazing amount 
of work which he performed. Nothing but a method the 
most remarkable and exemplary, could have enabled him 
to accomplish such a world of labor, an amount which 
might have given pretty full employment to half a dozen 
ordinary, and not idle men, all their lives. When we 
consider the volume of his oflScial papers — his vast 
foreign, public, and private correspondence — we are 
scarcely able to believe that the space of one man's life 
should have comprehended the doing of so many things, 
and doing them so well. 

His toilette was soon made. A single servant pre- 
pared his clothes, and laid them in readiness. He also 
combed and tied his hair.* He shaved and dressed him- 
self but giving very little of his precious time to matters 
of that sort, though remarkable for the neatness and pro- 
priety of his apparel. His clothes were made after the 
old-fashioned cut, of the best, though plainest materialaf 

* In those dajs the hair was left to grow long, and was tied np in a long bnnch 
with a ribbon, behind, in a form called a queue. It was the anirersal fashion. Powder 
was also nsed for the hair, which gave it a frosted appearance. This was pat on 
with a pnff-ball, itsnallj made of cotton yam, which, with the powder, was carried in 
a dressed bnckskin pouch. 

t It was the practice in Yirginia, previous to the ReYolution, for the planters to 
send to London for all articles in common use, that could not be manufactured as 
well at home, such as agricultural implements, saddles, bridles, harness, and wearing 
apparel. Washington was in the habit of sending to his agent in London lists of ar- 
ticles that he desired for himself and family. He gave the names, ages, sixes, and 
general description of those for whom wearing apparel was needed. In an order 
si'nt to Bichard Washington, in 1761, he says, after referring to an inyoice of clothes 


When president of the United States, the style of his 
household and equipage corresponded with the dignity 
of his exalted station, though avoiding as much as was pos- 
sible everything like show or parade. The expenses of 
his presidency, over and above the salary of government, 
absorbed the proceeds of the sale of a very considerable 

already^ent : "As they are designed for wearing apparel for myself, I have com- 
mitted the choice of them to your fancr, having the hest opinion of joor taste. J 
want neither lace nor embroidery. Plain clothes, with gold,or silver buttons, if worn 
in genteel dress, are all that I desire. Whether it be the fault of the tailor or of the 
measure sent, I can not say, but, certain it is, my clothes have never fitted me well. 
I enclose a measure, and, for a farther direction, I think it not amiss to add, that ray 
stature is six feet : otherwise rather slender than corpulent." He was six feet two 
inches in height, according to the best authorities. 

Although Washington and his family were plain in their persons, they lived at 
home, and appeared abroad, not unlike the English aristocracy at that time. When 
abroad, he always appeared on horseback, with fine equipments, accompanied by 
Bi:ihop. His stable was well furnished with thoroughbred horses; and for Blrs. 
Washington and her lady-visiters, he kept a chariot and four horses, with black poe- 
tlllions in livery, and these frequently excited the admiration of travellers and dwellers 
upon the road from Mount Vernon to Alexandria, or to the neighboring estates. 

The following order, sent to his London agent for out-of-door equipage, will give 
an idea of the appearance of Washington when on the road : — 

*' 1 Man's riding saddle, hogskin seat, large plated stirrups, and everything com- 
plete. Double-reined bridle and Pelham-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 riding-frock of a handsome drab-colored broadcloth, with plain double-gttt 

" A riding waistcoat of superfine scarlet cloth and gold lace, with buttons liko 
tliose of the coat. 

" A blue snrtotttH»at. 

" A neat switch-whip, silver cap. 

" Black velvet cap for servant." 

The ladies in those days rode much on horseback (usually upon ponies), foUowea 
by black servants. The gayest of them wore scarlet cloth riding-habits. 

* The salary of the president was then, as now, twenty-five thousand dollars pei 
annum. The sale of that " considerable estate," which was chiefiy wild land, ia al- 
loded to in Washington's letter to Lawrence Lewis, printed in the Memoir of tUt 
author of these Recollections, ante, page 47. 


The president nevei appeared in military costume, 
imless to receive his brethren of the Cincinnati, or at re- 
views.* He then wore the old opposition colors of Eng- 
land, and the regimental dress of the volimteer coi^s 
which he commanded prior to the Eevolution.f With 
the exception of the brilliant epaulettes (we believe a 
present from General Lafayette), and the diamond order 
of the Cincinnati, presented by the seamen of tlie French 
fleets our allies in the War for Independence,! the uni- 
form of the commander-in-chief of the army and navy, 
under the Constitution, was as plain as blue and buff 
could make it The cocked hat, yrith the black ribbon 
cockade, .was the only type of the heroic time which ap- 
pended to the chief during his civil magistracy; in all 
other respects, he seemed studiously to merge the mili- 
taryinto the civil characteristics of his public life. 
/About sunrise. General Washington invariably visited 
and inspected his stables. He was very fond of horses. 

* A fall accoant of the Society of the Cincinnati, of which Washington was the first 
president-general, may be found in another part of this work. 

t When the sessions of the first continenul Congress closed, the whole conntrj, 
alive to the apprehension that war would soon be kindled, was filled with military 
preparations. When Washington returned to Mount Vernon, he found the inde- 
pendent companies throughout the province waiting for the voice of his experience, 
to teach them how to prepare for the conflict. He coveted the sweets of rural and 
domestic life, but duty bade him relinquish all for the good of his country. A few 
days after his arrival home, the Independent Company of Cadets of Prince WUliam 
county, a well-equipped corps, whose motto was Aut liber aut nullus, solicited him 
to take command of them, as a field-officer. They had appointed a committee to 
wait on him with the invitation, and to request him to " direct the fashion of their 
nniform, and that they also acquaint him with the motto of their company, which is 
to be fixed on their colors.'' Other companies ofiered him the same honor. He 
yielded, and reviewed the volunteer corps, which assembled at various places, always 
wearing, on such occasions, the costume of a Virginia colonel of the period. It 
waa in that costume that the elder Peale painted him, in the picture now at Arlinc^. 
ton hoQMi, a copy of wbich is given in this volume. 

I See chapter containing an account of the " Surrender of Yorktown." 


and his equipages were always of a superior order. The 
horses which he rode, in the War for Independence, were 
said to be superb. We have a perfect remembrance of 
the charger which bore him in the greatest of his tri- 
umphs, when he received the sword of the vanquished, 
on the ever-memorable nineteenth October, 1781.* It 
was a chestnut, with a white face and legs, and was called 
Nelson^ after the patriotic governor of Virginia.f Far 
different was the fate of this favorite horse of Washing- 
ton, from that of ^ the high-mettled racer." When the 
chief had relinquished his seat upon its back, after the 
war was over, it was never mounted more, but cropped 
the herbage in summer, was housed and well cared for in 
winter, oft^en caressed by the master's hand, and died of 
old age at Mount Yemon, many years after the Revolu- 

The library and a visit to the stables occupied the 
morning till the hour of breakfast This meal was with 
out change to him, whose habits were regular, even to 
matters which others are so apt to indulge themselves 
in to endless variety. Indian cakes, honey, and tea, 
formed this temperate repast J On rising from the table, 

* See chapter on the " Surrender of Torktown." 

t See a sketch of the life and services of tliis gentleman in a fatnre chapter. 

X This abstemioasness appears to have been a marked exception to a general rale. 
The Keverend Andrew Bumaby, who travelled quite extensively in America, in the 
years 1759 and 1760, and visited Mount Vernon two or three times doring the first 
year of Washington's married life, sajrs in a note, "In several parts of Viiginia, the 
ancient custom of eating meat at breakfast still continues. At the top of the table, 
where the lady of the house presides, there is constantly tea and coffee ; but the rest 
of the table is garnished out with roa5t fowls, ham, venison, game, and other dainties. 
Even at Williamsbuig, it is the custom to have a plate of cold ham upon the table ; 
and there is scarcely a Virginian lady who breakfasts without it" 

Speaking of Mount Vernon, Mr. Bumaby says : " This place is the property of 
Colonel Washington, and truly deserving of its owner. The house is moJt bcauti 


if there were guests (and it was seldom otherwise), books 
and papers were offered for their amusement ; they were 
requested to take good care of themselves, and the illush 
trious farmer proceeded to the daily tour of his agri- 
cultural concerns * He rode upon his farms entirely 
unattended, opening his gates, pulling down and putting 
up his fences, as he passed, visiting his laborers at their 
work, inspecting all the operations of his extensive agri- 
cidtural establishments with a careful eye, directing use- 
ftd improvements, and superintending them in their prog- 
ress. He introduced many and valuable foreign as well 
as domestic modes of improved h,usbandry, showing, by 
experiment^ their practical utility, and peculiar adapta- 
tion to our system of rural affairs ; and, by his zeal and 
ability, " gave a speed to the plough," and a generous 
impulse to the cause of agricultural and domestic econo- 
my — those important sources of national wealth, indus- 
try, and independence.f 

fttlly situated upon a rerj high hill on the banks of the Potomac, and commands a 
noble prospect of water, of cliffs, of woods, and plantations. The riyer is near two 
miles broad, though two hundred from the mouth, and divides the dominions of Vir* 
ginia from Maryland." 

* Nerer was hospitality dispensed with a more generous and kindly spirit. The 
translator of De Chastellux's travels in North America, at the close of the Revo- 
lution, writing of the mistress of that mansion, says : " Your apartments were your 
house ; the servants of the house were yours ; and, while every inducement was held 
out to bring you into the general society of the drawing-room, or at the table, it 
rested with yourself to be served or not with everything in your own chamber." 

t Washington raised large quantities of tobacco, wheat, and Indian com ; and ho 
aimed to have everything upon his estates of the best quality. So noted for excel- 
lence was everything bearing his brand, that a barrel of flour stamped " George W(uh» 
ington. Mount Vernon," was exempted from the customary inspection in the West 
India ports. In his Diary, under date of twenty-second January, 1790, while he waa 
president of the United States, and residing in New York, is the following entry : 
" Called in my ride on the Baron de Poellnitz, to see the operation of his (Winlaw's) 
thmjxhin&r-machine. The effc^ct was, the heads of the wheat being separated from 
the «traw, as much of the first was run through the mill in 15 minutes as made half 


The toiir of the fanns might average from ten to 
fifteen miles per day. 1 An anecdote occurs to lis at this 
moment, which, as^Tembraees a Revolutionary worthy, a 
long-tried and valued friend of the chief, and is descrip- 
tive of WasJdf^on on his farm, we shall, without apology, 
present it to our readers. 

We were accosted, while hunting, by an elderly stran- 
ger, who inquired whether the general was to be found 
at the mansion house, or whether he had gone to visit 
his estate. We repUed, that he was abroad, and gave 
directions as to the; route the stranger was to pursue, ob- 
serving, at the same time, ^ You will meet, sir, with an 
old gentleman riding alaney in plain drab clothes^ a broadrbrimmed 
white hat, a Jdekory surUch in his hand, and carrying an um- 
brella with a hng daf, wMeh is attaclied to his saddle-bow — that 
person, sir, is General Washington T The stranger, much 
amused at our description, observed, with a good hu- 
mored smile : — 

a bushel of clean wheat Allowing 8 working hours in the 24, this would yield 16 
bushels per day. Two bojs are sufficient to turn the wheel, feed the mill, and re- 
move the thrashed grain after it has passed through it. Two men were unable, by 
winnowing, to clear the wheat as it passed through the mill, but a common Dutch 
fan, with the usual attendance, would be more than sufficient to do it. The grain 
passes through without bruising, and is well separated from the chaff. Women, 
or boys of 12 or 14 years of age, are fully adequate to the management of the mill 
or thrashing-machine. Upon the whole, it appears to be an easier, more expedi- 
tious, and much cleaner way of getting out grain than by the usual mode of thrashing ; 
and vantly to be preferred to treading, which is hurtful to horses, filthy to the wheat, 
and not more expeditious, considering the numbers that are employed in the process 
from the time the head is begun to bo formed until the grain has passed finally 
through the fim." 

In December previous, Washington, ip a letter to the Baron de Poellnitz (who was 
the inventor of several agricultural machines, and had a small farm on York island, in 
the vicinity of Murray hill), had proposed to take some occasion of *' seeing the man- 
ner in which the thrashing-machine operated/' This was the occasion noted in his 
Diary. From some intimations elsewhere, it js quite certain that he sent one of 
these machines to his general overseer at Mount Vernon. 


"ITiank ye, thank ye, young gentleman ; I think, if I 
fiJl in with the general, I shall be apt to know him." 

At dinner, we had the pleasure of being introduced to 
Colonel Meade,* who had been aid-de-camp to the com- 
mander-in-chief in the war of the Kevolution. The um- 
brella was not used by Washington as an article of 
luxury, for luxuries were to him known only by name. 
Being naturally of a very fair complexion, his skin was 
liable to be affected by the influence of the sun. This 
umbrella, just as it was when last he laid it down, never 
again to require its friendly shade, we have had the good 
fortune to preserve for a quarter of a century,f and also 
the happiness to present it the patriarch of La Grange, 
in whose possession it will long be treasm*ed as the rel- 
ique of his paternal chief, and as an appropriate memo- 
lial of the modem Cincinnatus.J 

Precisely at a quarter before three, the industrious 
&rmer always returned, dressed, and dined at three 
o'clock. At this meal he ate heartily, but was not par- 
ticular in his diet, with the exception of fish, of which 
he was excessively fond. He partook sparingly of 
desert, drank a home-made beverage, and from four to 
five glasses of Madeira wine. When the cloth was 
removed, with old-fashioned courtesy, he drank to the 
health of every person present, and then gave his toast, 
his only toast — ^AU our friends" — than which a nobler 
or a kindlier sentiment never was pledged at the board 
of social friendship, or ^ brayed out with the trumpet's 
triumphs," at the carousals of a king./ 

* Colonel Richard K. Meade, fiather of Bishop Meade, of Virginia, 
t This written on the twentj-second of February, 1927. 

I Mr. Cttstifl presented the umbrella to General Lafayette when ho was in thii 
country as the nation'^ guest, in the years 1824 and '25. 


While on the subject of toasts, we will mention an- 
other. The late Colonel Cropper, of Accomac, was a 
captain in the ninth Virginia regiment of the line, which 
formed part of the southern division, under Greene, and 
covered the retreat of our discomfitted army at the battle 
of Brandywine. On the evening of that hard-fought 
day, Cropper marched the remains of his company into 
Chester, having his handkerchief fastened to a ramrod, 
in place of a flag.* After serving his country with fidelity 
and distinction, Colonel Cropper retired to his estate on 
the Eastern shore, where he lived to an advanced age. 
This worthy veteran, like his general, had but one toast, 
which he gave every day, and to all companies ; it was, 
^ God bless General Washington." Toasts are supposed 
to convey the feelings and wishes of our hearts ; and if 
ever an aspiration, warm and direct from the heart, de- 
served to find favor with " heaven's chancery " on high, 
it was when, with pious fervor, this old soldier's prayer 
Jjoplored a blessing upon his revered commander. 

The afternoon was usually devoted to the library. At 

* A British army, under General Sir William Howe, landed from a British fleet 
commanded bj bis brother, Richard Earl Howe, a few miles below Elkton, on the 
shores of Chesapeake bay, toward the close of August, 1777. Washington, with the 
American army, nuirched southward from Philadelphia to oppose Howe's progress into 
the country, and advanced some distance beyond the Brandywine creek. When the 
British approached, he was compelled to fall back to the eastern side of that stream, 
and near Chad's ford, he made a disposition of his forces to oppose the passage of the 
enemy. Philadelphia was the prize for which Howe was pressing, and Washington 
resolved to do all in his power to keep it out of his hands. By a stealthy move- 
ment, Comwallis, under cover of a fog, marched up the west side of the Brandy- 
wine with a laige force, crossed, and fell suddenly upon the right wing of the Amer- 
ican army, under General Sullivan. A severe contest ensued. Soon aAerwaid, 
Knyphausen, the Hessian general, crossed Chad's ford and attacked the American 
centre, and after a hot battle, the republicans were driven from the field, and fled to 
Chester that night The next morning they continued their retreat toward Phila- 
delphia, and encamped near Germantown, where, soon afterward, a severe engage- 
ment occurred, which is described in another chapter. 


nighty his labors over, the venerated citizen would join 
bis family and friends at the tea-table, and enjoy their 
society for several hours. He took no supper, and about 
•nine o'clock retired to bed. When without company, he 
frequently read to his family extracts from the new pub- 
lications of the day ; and, on Sunday, sermons and other 
sacred writinga*^ He read with distinctness and preci- 
sion, though with a voice, the tones of which had been 
considerably broken by a pulmonary affection in early 
life, and which, when greatly excited, produced a labo]> 
ing of the chest. He would frequently, when sitting 
with his family, appear absent; his lips would move, his 
hand be raised, and he would evidently seem under the 
influence of thoughts, which had nothing to do with the 
quiet scene around hinL This peculiarity is readily 
accounted for, since it must be no very easy matter for 
one who so long had borne the cares of public life, at 
once to lay aside all thoughts for others, and become 
content with individual concerns. 

In winter, when stress of weather prevented his taking 
his usual exercise, he was in the habit of walking for an 
hour in the eastern portico of the mansion, before retir- 
ing to rest As that portico is more than ninety feet in 
length, this walk would comprise several miles.f 

* In the library at Mount Vernon, there are several Tolnmes of sermons, and 
other roli^ous books, written by old English divines. In one of these, written by 
Sir Matthew Hale, are the antographs of the two wives of Washington's father, 
Jane Washington and Mary Washington — the latter (the mother of the general) 
wri ten under the former. 

1 In a letter to Mr Banmey (a gentleman about to depart for England), in 
which Washington desires him to make some inquiries there abont certain kinds of 
marble, with which he would like to pave the floor of the portico, he says : " The 
piazza, or colonade, for which this is wanted as a floor, is ninety-two feet eight 
{nches, by twelve feet eight inches, wiihia the margin or border that surrounds it." 


Thus, in tlie seldom-varied routine of useful industry, 
temperate enjojonent, and the heartfelt gratifications of 
domestic felicity, sped the latter days of the Father of 
his Country ; and oh ! it was delightful to behold this • 
" time-honored man," the race of whose glory was run, who 
had reached the goal of all his most earnest desires, and 
obtained a reward for all his toils, in the contemplation of 
the freedom and happiness of a rising empire, resting 
from his mighty labors, amid the tranquil retirement of 
Mount Vernon. I 

The sedentary occupations of a president of the United 
States necessarily limited the opportunities for active 
exercise. These were principally enjoyed in occasional 
rides to the country, and in frequent walks to his watch- 
maker's, in Second street^ for the purpose of regulating 
his watch by the time-keeper* As he passed along^ 
often would mother? bring their children to look on the 
paternal chie^ yet not a word was heard of president of 
the United States : the little innocents were alone ^ taught 
to lisp the name of Washington." He was rather par- 
tial to children ; their infantine playfulness appeared to 
please him, and many are the parents who at this day 
rejoice that his patriarchal hands have touched their oS^ 

* This was while he resided in Philadelphia. 

t Thousands of children hare si^iee borne the name, giyen them at baptism, of 
Geoi^ Washington. In the Londonderry (Ireland) Journal, Febmary SO, 1783, is 
the following item : " Whereas, on February 14, 1783, it pleased kind Providence to 
confer on Mathew Neely, of Bamally, parish of Tamlaghtsinlagan, and county of 
Londonderry, a man-child, whose appearance is promising and amiable, and hopes 
the Being who first cansed him to exist will grant him grace. 

** Also, in consideration and in remembrance of the many heroic deeds done by 
that uniTersally-renownod patriot. General Washington, the said Mathew Neely hath 
done himself the honor of calling the said man-child by the name of Geor^ Wa^ 
mgUm Nedy, he bebg the first child known, or so called, in this kingdom, by tbe 


General Washington was always a strict and decorous 
observer of the sabbath. He invariably attended divine 
^rvice once a day, when within reach of a place of wor- 
ship * His respect for the clergy, as a body, was shown 
by public entertainments to them, the same as to the 
corps legislative and diplomatic ; and among his bosom 
fiiends were the present venerable bishop of Pennsylva- 
nia,'}' and the late excellent prelate and ardent friend of 
American • liberty. Doctor Carroll, archbishop of Balti- 

nanus of Washington, that brilliant western star.** See MassachuaeUs Magazine, 
i., 62, Janoary, 1789. It would be very difficult to ascertain who was the first per- 
son so named in this country. 

* Washington was a member, in AiU communion, of tiie Frotestent Episcopal 
dinrch, and was for many years before and after the Revolution, a vestryman in 
Truro pariah, whose church (Pohick) built under his supervision, is yet standing. I 
have before me the original drawing of the ground-plan and elevation of that church, 
made by Washington himself. He was also a vestryman previous to the Bevolution, 
in Fairfax parish, whose 'church,, wherein he frequently worshipped, is yet standing, 
in the city of Alexandria. While president of the United States, and residing in 
New York, he attended Saint Paul's church; in Philadelphia, Christ church. He 
seldom went to the sanctuary in the afternoon, according to his own diary. 

t Bight Reverend William White, D. D., the first American bishop in the Prot- 
ostant Episcopal church. He was a son of a Philadelphia lawyer, and was bom in 
that city, on the fourth of April, 1748. The preaching of Whitefield greatly deep- 
ened his habitual and religions feelings, and on graduating at the college in Phila- 
delphia, at the age of fifteen years, he commenced the study of theology. He was 
orduned a deacon in London in 1770, and before he returned, in 1772, he received 
priest's orders. He was first an assistant minister of Christ church, Philadelphia ; 
and he was a faithful pastor in that parish for sixty-four years. He was chaplain to 
the continental Congress a short time in 1777 ; and in 1787 he and Doctor Provoost, 
of New York, were consecrated bishops. He was chiefly instruQicntal in framing 
ibe constitution of the church in America, and compiled its litufgy and canons. 
Among his last official labors was the preparation of instructions for missionaries 
going to China. That was in 18S5, when he was eighty-eight years of age. He 
preached his last sermon in June, 1836, and on the seventeenth of the following 
month he expired, when little more than eighty-nine years old. 

t Right Reverend John Carroll, D. I>., the first bishop of the Roman Catholic 

1 church in the United States. He was bom at Upper Marlborough, Maryland, on 

the eighth of January, 1785. At the age of thirteen years he was sent to the college of 

St. Omer, in French Flanders, where he remained until he was transferred to the Jos- 


On Sunday no visiters were admitted to the president's 
house, save the immediate relatives of the family, with 
only one exception : Mr. Speaker Trumbull, since gover- 
nor of Connecticut, and who had been confidential secre- 
tary to the chief in the War of the Revolution, was in the 
habit of spending an hour with the president, on Sunday 
evenings.* Trumbull practised the lesson of punctuality, 
which he learned in the service of the olden time, with 
such accuracy, that the porter, by consulting his clock, 
could tell when to stand ready to open to the Speaker's 
Belly as it was called in the family, from the circumstance 
of no hand, other than the speaker's, touching the bell 
on the evenings of the sabbath. 

nits' college at Lie^!^, six years afterward. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1769, 
became a teacher in the college of Liego, and in 1773, when the Jesuits were expelled 
from France, he was obliged to abandon a professorship at Bniges, to which he bad 
lately been appointed, and retire to England. He trayelled mach, and retamed to 
his native country in 1775. He accompanied a committee of the continental Con- 
gress, on a political mission to Canada in the spring of the following year, and 
throngbont the War for Independence, he was attached to the patriot cause. In 
1786 be was appointed yicar-general of the Boman Catholic charch in America. 
In 1790 he was consecrated a bishop, and the following year foanded the college at 
Georgetown. On the inyitation of Congress, he delivered a cnlogy on Washington, 
in St. Peter's cbnrch, Baltimore, on the twenty-second of Febmaxy, 1800. In 1808, 
Doctor Carroll was made archbishop, with fonr suffragan bishops. With every addi- 
tional duty, his zeal for his Zion seemed to increase, and he labored faithfully until 
his death, which occurred at Baltimore, on the third of December, 1815, i^hen ho 
was eighty years of age. 

* Jonathan Trumbull, son of the patriotic governor of Connecticut, of the same 
name. He was bom at Lebanon, in March 1740, and graduated at Harvard col- 
lege in 1759. From 1775 to the close of the campaign in 1778, he was paymaster 
to the army in the northern department. In 1780, he was appointed secretary and 
aid to General Washington, and in that situation he remained until the end of the 
war, in the enjoyment of the perfect confidence of the commander-in-chief. He 
was chosen a representatiye in the first Congress under the federal constitution, 
and in 1791 became speaker of the house of representatives. He was elevated to 
the senate in 1794, and in 1798 succeeded Oliver Wolcott as governor of his native 
state. He remained in office until his death, a period of eleven years. He died at 
Lebanon, on the seventh of August, 1809, at the age of sixty-nine years 


The remarkable degree of admiration and awe that 
was felt by every one, upon the first approach to Wash- 
ington, evidences the imposing power and sublimity 
which belongs to real greatness. Even the frequenters 
of the courts of princes were sensible of this exalted feel- 
ing, when in the presence of the hero, who, formed for the 
highest destinies, bore an impress from nature, which de- 
clared him to be one among the noblest of her works * 

Those who have only seen him as the leader of armies 
and the chief magistrate of the republic, can have but an 
imperfect idea of him when merged into the retired citi- 
zen, embosomed among his family and friends, cultivating 
the social and domestic virtues, and dispensing pleasure 
and happiness to all around him. 

Persons' in general have been in error, in supposing 
that there belonged to this dignified man nothing of the 
gentler sort — " no tear for pity." In the master-spirit 
in the direction of those vast events which gave a new 
empire to the world, the austerity of command could 
never destroy those kindlier feelings in which he delight- 
ed to indulge himself, and to inspire them iii others. 
Stem he was, to all whom he deemed wanting in those 
high moral requisites, which dignify and adorn our 
natures — stem he was, to the disturbers of the repose 
of society, the violators of those institutions which pro- 
mote peace and good will among men ; but he was for- 

* It is related of the Honorable Goayeraenr Morris, who was remarkable for his 
freedom of deportment toward his friends, that on one occasion he offered a wager 
that be conld treat Qeneral Washington with the same familiarity as he did others. 
This challenge was accepted, and the peiformance tried. Mr. Morris slapped Wash- 
ington familiarly on the shoulder, and snid, ** How arc yon, this morning, general V 
Washington made no reply, bat tamed his eyes npon Mr. Morris with a glance that 
fkirlj withered him. Ho afterward acknowledged, tliat nothing could induce him to 
attonpt tho samo thing again 


bearing toward the imperfections of human kind^ where 
they arose from the passions only, and not from the de- 
pravity of the heart. 

He was reserved toward the many ; but there were a 
<5hosen few, who, having passed that barrier, were wooed 
by his kindly friendship to push their fortunes, till they 
finally gained footing in the citadel of his esteem. 

He was tender, compassionate, and sympathizing. We 
have seen him shed tears of parental solicitude over the 
manifold errors and follies of our unworthy youth.* He 
shed a tear of sorrow for his suffering country in the 
dark horn: of her destiny ; and a tear of joy and gratitude 
to heaven for her deliverance, when, in 1789, he <^ross- 
ed the bridge of Trenton^ where the hands of freemen 
^ reared for him triumphal bowers," while a choir of in- 
nocents, with seraph chant, ^ welcomed the mighty chief 
once more," and " virgins fair, and matrons grave, strewed 
the hero's way with flower8."f 

The journey of the first president to the seat of gov- 
ernment was one continued triumph ; but nowhere was 
it of so feeling a character as at the bridge of Trenton. 
That was, indeed, a classic ground. It was there, on a 
frozen siuface, that, in 1776, was achieved the glorious 
event which restored the £is1>-failing fortunes of liberty, 
and gave to her drooping eagles a renewed and bolder 
flight What a contrast to the chief must have been this 
spot in 1789, when no longer ^a mercenary foe aimed 
against him the fatal blow j" when no more was heard 

* See the correspondence between Washington and young Cnstis daring the col- 
legiate days of the latter, appended to the Memoir, 

t A more minate account of Washington's reception at Trenton, when on his way 
to New York, in the spring of 1789, to be inangnrated the first president of the 
United States, will be found in another chapter. 


the roar of combat^ the shouts of the victors, the groans 
of the dying — but the welcome of thousands to liberty's 
great defender — the heartfelt homage of freemen to the 
deliverer of his country. The president alighted from 
his carriage^ and approached the bridge uncovered. As 
he passed under the triumphal arch, a cherub, in the 
form of a young girl, perched amid the foliage that 
covered it^ crowned him with laurel which will never 
fade, while the sweetest minstrelsy from human lips 
filled the air, as the hero trod on his way of flowers. 
Washington then shed tears — tears of the deepest emo- 

The merit of these appropriate and classical decora- 
tions is due to the late Mrs. Stockton, of Princeton, a 
lady of superior literary acquirements and refined taste. 
She was familiarly called diichessj from her elegance and 
dignity of manners. She was a most ardent patriot 
during the War of the Kevolution, and, with the Stockton 
family, was marked for persecution on the ruthless inva- 
sion of the Jerseys.* This distinguished lady was the 

* Like others of the si^en of the great Declaration, Mr. Stockton was marked 
for pecnliar vengeance by the enemy. So saddenlj did the flying Americans pais 
by Princeton, in the autamn of 1776, and so soon were the Hessian raltures and 
their British companions on the trail, that he had barely time to remove his family 
to a place of safety before his beantifal mansion was filled with mde soldiery. The 
boase was pillaged ; the horses and stock were driven away ; the fomiture was con- 
verted into fael ; the choice old wines in the cellar were dnmk ; the valuable library 
and all the papers of Mr. Stockton were committed to the flames, and the estate was 
laid waste. The plate had been hastily baried in the woods, in boxes. A treacher- 
ous servant revealed their place of concealment, and two of the boxes were disinter- 
red and rifled of their contents ; the other was saved. Mr. Stockton and family took 
refnge with a friend in Monmouth county. His place of concealment was discovered 
by a party of refugee loyalists, who entered the house at night, dragged him from 
his bed, and treating him with every indignity which malice could invent, hurried him 
to Amboy, and from thence to New York, where he was confined in the loathsome 
provost Jan. There he suffered dreadfully; and when, through the interposition of 



grandmother of Mr. Secretary Rush, who is ** doubly 
blessed" in his Revolutionary ancestry ; both his father 
and grandfather having signed the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence — a most honored distinction, and, we believe, 
enjoyed by no other citizen of our extensive American 

Congress, he was released, bis constitation was hopelessly shattered, and he did not 
live to see the independence of his country achieved. He died at Morven, his seat at 
Princeton, in Febmary, 1781, blessed to the last with the tender and affectionate 
attentions of his Annis, whom he called " the best of women." Night and day she 
was at his bedside, and when his spirit was abont to depart, she wrote, imprompta, 
several verses, of which the following is indicative of her feelings :— 

" Oh, could I take the fkte to him assig^ied. 
And leave the helpless family their head, 
How pleased, how peaceful to my lot resigned, 
I 'd quit the nurse's station for the bed I" 

Lossing's Fidd-Boole of the Reodvtion. 

Mrs. EUet, in her Women of ike Revolution^ has given an interesting biography of 
Mrs. Annis Stockton. She rehites, that when that excellent lady heard of tJio de- 
stmctioa of the libraiy, she remarked, that " there were two books in it she would 
like to have saved — the Bible and Young's Night Thoughts." Tradition says, that 
these two books were the only ones left. 

* Honorable Richard Rush, of Philadelphia. When Mr. Cnstis wrote, he was in 
the cabinet of President Adams, as secretary of the treasury, and in the prime of 
life, being about forty-seven years of age. He was graduated at Princeton college 
in 1797, became a lawyer, and in 1811 was appointed attorney-general of Pcnnsyi 
vania. He became the United States attorney-general in 1814. He was secretary 
of state under President Monroe, and then succeeded John Quincy Adams as min- 
ister at the court of St James. There he remained over seven years, when Mr. 
Adams called him into his cabinet. During that time ho negotiated some very im- 
portant treaties. At the request of President Jackson, Mr. Rush went to London, 
in 1836, to obtain Mr. Smithson's legacy to the United States, out of the English 
court of chancery. In August, 1838, he returned with the entire sum. In 1847, 
President Polk appointed him minister to France. After his return he remained in 
private life, at his beautiful seat of Sydenham, near Philadelphia, where, on the verge 
of octogenarian honors (having been bom in 1780) he died on the 1st. of August, 1859. 
In 1857, Mr. Rush prepared and published a valuable little volume, entitled. Wash- 
ingtan in Domettic Life, from original letters and manuscripts then in his possession. 




Ebvobs or HnroKT— Havitsb op Mcmosii'B Fall axd Rbckftion op DiATit-WowDs — 
Taken to Clabk^s Hovbi, nsas thx Battlb-Fiblo -^ Major Lbwib sbmt to takx Care op 
HiJi — His accttratb Kvowlbbob op hib Sitfation — Hib Explanation or his Wounds — 
His Dxath~Hi8 Bcual-Plaob— 'Anbodotb op his Eablt Patxiotibm — Dbath op Cap* 
TAIN Lesux— Doctob Bvsh— Thb BBTBNTXBimi BBRua Rbguisnt— Composition op tub 
Ambbican Abxt — Tbb Dia oast at Pbinobtoh — Washinovon on trb Battlb-Fielt> 
tukrb^Colonxl Fitzgbbald, urn Aid-dx-Camp. 

.There has always been an erroneous impression on the 
public mind, concerning the death of General Mercer, 
who fell at the battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777.* 

* The battlo at Princeton occarred a few days after Washington's triumph at 
Trenton, on the morning of the twenty-sixth of December, 1776, and was the closo 
of a melancholy, yet brilliant chapter in the history of the old War for Independence. 
A little while before, Washington and his army had been expelled from the east side 
of the Hudson river, and for the space of three weeks were flying across New Jersey 
before a Tictorions pnrsner, who was so close npon him at times, that each could 
hear the martial music of the other. The flight ended and repose came only when 
the Americans had crossed the Delaware, taken all the boats with them, and placed 
a broad and rapid stream filled with ice, between themselves and the foe. 

The British formed small encampments along the Jersey side of the Delaware, 
from Trenton to BnrKngton, and below. At Trenton were a thousand Hessian and 
some British cavalry. On Christmas night, Washington with his refreshed troops 
recrossed the Delaware, eight miles above Trenton, and early in the morning, fell 
npon and captured those hirelings, and, with his prisoners, went back to the Penn- 
sylvania shore. 

Once more Washington recrossed the Delaware, and with five thousand soldiers, 
encamped there. On the second of January Comwallis, with veteran British troops, 
came from Princeton to attack him. There was some fighting at Trenton just at 
evening, when the British general, feeling sure that he could capture the whole 
American army in the morning, took rest for the night. The Americans were in 
great peril. They could not retreat across ^e river, and were too feeble to fight so 
large an army as that before them, with any chance for success. So, at midnight, 


We offer the homage of our veneration for this martyr's 
memory, by giving to his adopted comitry and the world 
authentic particulars of the heroism and devotion that 
attended his fall. Our authority is derived from the late 
Major George Lewis, the nephew of the commander-in- 
chief, and captain of his Guard, and who was sent in with 
a flag to afford to the wounded general every possible 
comfort and assistance. 

It was immediately after the sharp conflict at the 
fence* between the advanced guard of the American 
army, lied by General Mercer, and the British seven- 
teenth regiment, and the retreat of the Americans 
through the orchard near to Clark's house and bam, 
that General Mercer, while exerting himself to rally his 

the ground havinp; frozen so as to allow them to roll away their cannon, the whola 
army decamped, by an anfi^qaented road, toward Princeton, learing their camp-fires 
burning, to deceive the British. In the morning Comwallis was mortified to find 
his expected prey had escaped ; and the first intimation that he had of the direction 
in which he had fled, was the booming of cannon at Princeton, jast at sanriae, which, 
though a clear morning, and in midwinter, he mistook for distant thunder. Then 
commenced the battle of Princeton between a part of Washington's army, under 
General Mercer, and some Britifih troops that had just begun their march to 
join Comwallis at Princeton. In that battle the Americans were victorious, and 
going into winter-quarters among the hills near Morristown immediately afterward, 
Washington, by sending out detachments and otherwise, drove the enemy out of 
New Jersey, except at Brunswick and Amboy. 

* When the British brigade, under LieutenantpColonel Mawhood, first discovered 
the Americans, under Mercer, near Princeton, they wheeled, and both parties rushed 
forward to cross Stony brook, then a full and frozen stream, at Worth's mills, in 
order to gain the high and advantageous ground beyond, toward Princeton. Tha 
British crossed first, but Mercer and his troops soon reached the house and orchards 
of William Clark, eastward of the present turnpike from Princeton to Trenton. 
Mercer there perceived the British line approaching from the opposite side of the 
height, and pushed through the orchard to a hedge-fence, from behind which his rifio- 
men discharged a deadly volley. It was quickly returned by the enemy, who in- 
stantly charged. The Americans, armed only with rifles and muskets, could not 
withstand the furious attack of the British bayonets. After the third fire they 
abandoned the fence and fled in great drsorder. 


broken troops, was brought to the ground by a blow 
from the butt of a musket. He was on foot at this 
time— the gray horse he rode at the beginning of the 
action having beep disabled by a ball in the fore-leg 
The British soldiers were not at first aware of the gen- 
eral's rank^ for, the morning being very cold, he wore a 
surtout over his uniform. So soon as they discovered 
that he was a general officer, they shouted that they had 
got the rebel general, and cried, " Call for quarters you 
d— d rebel!" Mercer to the most undaunted courage 
united a quick and ardent temperament : he replied with 
indignation to his enemies, while their bayonets were at 
his bosom, that he deserved not the name of rebel ; and, 
determining to die as he had lived, a true and honored 
soldier of liberty, lunged with his sword at the nearest 
man. They then bayoneted him, and left him for dead. 
Upon the retreat of the enemy, the wounded general 
was conveyed to Clark's house, immediately adjoining 
the field of battle.* The information that the com- 
mander-in-chief first received of the fall of his old com- 
panion in arms of the war of 1755, and beloved officer, 
was that he had expired under his numerous wounds ; 
and it was not until the American army was in full 
march for Morristown that the chief was undeceived, and 
learned, to his great gratification, that Mercer, though 
fearfully wounded, was yet alive.f Upon the first halt 

* This was then a new hoase, owned by Thomas Clark, a member of the Societjr 
of Friends, or Qoakere. It is ^ret [1869] standing, and in possession of a member 
of the Clark family. There General Mercer was nursed by Sarah Clark and a colored 
woman belonging to the family. The hoas<f stands on the south side of the battle- 
field, and about a mile and a quarter south of Princeton. 

T Washington wrote to the president of Congress on the fifth of January, 1777, 
from Pluckemin, New Jersey, giving an account of events in which he had been en- 
gaged since his commnnication from Trenton, on the first of the month, and men* 


at Somerset coiirthouse, Washington despatched Major 
George Lewis with a flag and a letter to Lord Com- 
wallisy requesting tJiat every possible attention might be 
shown to Ibhe wounded general^ and permission that 

tioned the death of General Mercer. Two days afterward ho wrote : " I am happy 
to inform yon, that the aecoant of General Mercer's death, transmitted in my last, 
was prematnre, thongh it was mentioned as certain by many who saw him afUr he 
was wounded. By intelligence from Princeton yesterday evening, he was alive, and 
seemed as if he wonld do well. Unhappily he is a prisoner. Had it not been for 
the information of his death, I Voald have tried to bring him away, though I belieye 
it conld not have been effected." 

General Mercer died on the twelfth, at Clark's honse, and was bnried there, bnt 
two days afterward his renuuns were removed to Philadelphia, and interred wkh 
military honors, in Christ churchyard. A committee of the Congress was appointed 
to consider what honor should be paid to the memories of General Warren, killed 
on Breed's hill on the seventeenth of June, 1775, and to General Mercer. The 
committee reported on the eighth of April, recommending the erection of a moan* 
ment in Boston, with suitable inscriptions, in honor of Warren, and another at 
Fredericksburg, in Virginia, in honor of Mercer, with the following inscription : — 













They also resolved, that " the eldest son of General Warren, and the youngest son 
of General Mercer, be educated, from this time, at the expense of the Unite! States." 
Neither monument was ever erected, but the children were educated at the expense 
of the government. General Mercer's son (the late Colonel Hugh Mercer, of 
Fredericksburg, Virginia), was then about six months old, having been bom in 
July, 1 776. He was educated at William and Mary college, in Virginia, when Bishop 
Madison was its president. He was for many years colonel of the militia of his 
native county, and an active magistral. For five consecntive years he was a meni- 
ber of the Virginia legislature, and for many years was president of the Branch 
Bank of Virginia, at Fredericksburg. He died at his seat, called Jlie Sentry-Box, 
in 1855, at the age of seveAty-nine years. A portrait of this " Child of the Republic*' 
may be found in Lossing's Field-Book of the Beuolulion, 


Lewis should remain with }iim to minister to his wants. 
To both requests his lordship yielded a willing assent, 
and ordered his stafi^urgeon to attend upon General 
Mercer. Upon an examination of the wounds, the British 
surgeon remarked, that although they were many and 
severe, he was disposed to believe that they would not 
prove dangerous. Mercer, bred to the profession of an 
army-surgeon in Europe,* said to young Lewis, " Raise 
up my right arm, George, and this 'gentleman will there 
discover the smallest of my wounds, but which will prove 
the most fatal. Yes sir. that is a fellow that will verv 
soon do my business." He languished till the twelfth, 
and expired in the arms of Lewis, admired and lamented 
by the whole army. During the period that he lay on 
the couch of suffering, he exonerated his enemies from 
the foul accusation which they bore, not only in 1777 
but for half a century since, viz., of their having bayonet- 
ed a general officer after he had surrendered his sword, 
and become a prisoner-of-war — declaring that he only 
relinqmshed his sword when his arm had become power- 
less to wield itf He paid the homage of his whole heart 

* He was a Dative of Scotland, and was an asaistant-snrgeon in the battle of Cal- 
loden, which decided the fate of Charles Edward, the Yonng Scotch Pretender to 
the throne of England, as the lineal representative of the Staart fkmilj, who wera 
expelled in the person of James II., in 1688. Soon after that battle Mercer came to 
America, took up his residence ^t Fredericksbniig, and was engaged in the practice 
of medicine and the baalness of an apothecary there, when the War for Independence 
broke out. He esponscd the cause, left his profession, took the command of three 
regiments of minnte-men in 1775, and. in 1776, oiiganized and drilled a large body 
of Viiiginia militia. Congress gave him the commission of a brigadier on the fifth 
of Jane, 1775, and appointed him to the command of the frying camp of ten thoa- 
rand men, amhorited to be raised in the middle states. 

t " Lewis," sars Mr. Custis, elsewhere, " mentioned to General Mercer the ex- 
treme indignation which prevailed in the American army, together with threats of 
retaliation at the inhnman treatment it was supposed the general had received from 
tl c enemy, viz., that he had been bayoneted after having surrendered and asked for 


to the person and character of the commander-in-chie^ 
rejoiced with true soldierly pride in the triumphs of 
Trenton and Princeton, in both of which he had borne a 
conspicuous part^ and offered up his fervent prayers for 
the final success of the cause of American Independence. 

Thus lived and died Hugh Mercer, a name that will 
for ever be associated with momentous events in the his- 
tory of the War of the Revolution. When a grateful 
posterity shall bid flie trophied memorial rise to the 
martyrs who sealed with their blood the charter of an 
empire's liberties, there will not be wanting a monument 
to him whom Washington mourned as ^ the worthy and 
brave General Mercer." 

General Mercer lies buried, in Philadelphia^ where a 
plain slab, with the initials H.M., denotes the last earthly 
dwelling of the patriot brave, 

^ Who sunk to rest, 
With ^is country's wishes blest"* 

quarter : when the magnanimous Meroer observed, " The tale which joa hare heard, 
Geoiige, is antme. Mj death is owing to myself. I was on foot, endeaToring to 
rail J my men, who had given waj before the superior discipline of the enemy, when 
I was brought to the ground by a blow from a musket. At the same moment the 
enemy discovered my rank, exulted in their having taken the rebel general, as they 
termed me, and bid me ask for quarters. I fblt that I deserved not so opprobrious 
an epithet, and determined to die, as I had lived, an honored soldier in a just and 
righteous cause ; and without begging my life or making reply, I lunged with my 
sword at the nearest man. They then bayoneted and left me." 

* This was written in October, 1S39. A plain marble slab was afterward placed 
at the head of his grave, with the simple inscription : " In Memory of General Hugh 
Mercer, who fiU at Princeton, Jan, 3d, 1777." There his remains lay until 1840, 
when his countrymen, of the St. Andrew's, and the Thistle societies, removed them 
to Laurel Hill cemetery, and erected a fine white marble monument over them, near 
the chapel. The monument bears the following inscriptions, which give the most 
important incidents of his public life. East side, or principal front : " Dedicated to 
the Memory of Gbheral Hugh Mbbcer, who fell for the Sacred Cause of Human 
Liberty, and American Independence, in the Battle of Princeton. He poured out 
his blood for a Generous Principle." West side: *' Gbkbbal Mbbobb, a Physidan 


We shall give a single anecdote of the subject of the 
foregoing memoir, to show the pure and high-souled prin- 
ciples that actuated ihe patriots and soldiers of the days 
of our country's trial. 

Virginia at first organized two regiments for the com- 
mon cause. When it was determined to raise a third, 
there were numerous applications for commissions ; and 
thtse being mostly from men of fortune and family inter- 
est, there was scarcely an application' for a rank less than 
a field officer. During the sitting of the house of bur- 
gesses upon this important motion, a plain but soldierly- 
looking individual handed up to the speaker's chair a 
scrap of paper, on which was written, " Hugh Mercei 
will serve his adopted country and the cause of liberty 
in (my rank or station to which he may be appointed." 
This, from a veteran soldier, bred in European camps, 

of FrederickslniTg, in Virginia, mis disdnguished for his skill and learning, his 
genUeness and decisioni bis refinement and humanity, his elevated honor, and his 
devotion to the great cause of Civil and Religious Liberty." North side: " Genera l 
Hb&cbk, a native of Scotland, was an assistant^nrgeon in the Battle of Culloden, 
and the companion of WASHiNOTOif in the Indian Wars of 1755 and 1756. He re- 
ceived a Medal from the Corporation of Ptiiladelphia, for his courage and conduct 
in the Expedition against the Indian Settlement of Eittanning." South side: ** The 
St Andrew's Society of Philadelphia offar this humble tribute to the memory of an 
iUnstrioos Bbothbr. When a grateful posterity shall bid the trophied memorial rise 
to the martyrs who sealed with their blood the charter of an Empire's liberties, there 
shall not be wanted a monument to him whom Washimotom mourned as the worthy 
'and brave Mbbobb." General Mercer was about fifty-six years of age when he was 

The funeral ceremonies on the occasion of the re-interment of the remains cf Gen- 
end Mercer, were very imposing. They took place on the twenty-ninth of Novem- 
ber, 1840. The pall was borne by Commodores Read, Biddle, and Stewart, and 
Colonel Miller. The first troop of city cavalry, wh^se predecessors took part in tiio 
battle in which Mercer was mortally wounded, composed the guard of honor (there 
being at that time, not a single survivor of the original corps) ; and William B. 
Reed, E^q., grandson of Genarai Joseph Reed, of the Revolution, pronounced an 
eloquent oration. 


the associate of Washington in the war of 1755,* and 
known to stand high in his confidence and esteem; was 
all-sufficient for a body of patriots and statesmen such as 
composed the Virginia house of burgesses in the days 
of the Revolution. TKe appointment of Mercer to the 
command of the third Virginia regiment was carried 

It was while the commander-in-chief reined up *his 
horse, upon approaching the spot in a ploughed field 
where lay the gallant Colonel Hasletf mortally wounded, 
that he perceived some British soldiers supporting an 
officer, and upon inquiring his name and rank, was 
answered, Captain Leslie. Doctor Benjamin Rush,;{; who 
formed a part of the general's suite, earnestly adced, ^ A 
son of the Earl of Levin?" to which the soldiers replied 
in the affirmative. The doctor then addressed the 
general-in-chief : " I beg your excellency to permit this 
wounded officer to be placed under my especial care, 
that I may return, in however small a degree, a part oi 

* Mercer was with Washington on tho Virginia frontier in the French and Indian 

t Colonel Haslet was in command of Delaware troops, and had done noble net- 
vice on Long Island and at White Plains. In the engagement, at the latter place, 
he was tho first to take post on Chatterton's hill, where the principal battte was 
fought, with his own and some Maryland troops and militia, in all about sixteen 
hundred men. 

I Benjamin Rush was bora near Philadelphia, on the fifth of January, 1745. He 
graduated at Princeton college, in 1760, commenced the study of medicine the next 
ywur, and in 1766 went to Edinburgh, where, two years aftorward, ho received the 
degree of M.D. He returned to Philadelphia in 1769, where he commenced tho 
practice of medidne, and was soon afterward elected professor of chemistry in die 
College of Pennsylvania. He was chosen a member of the continental Congress 
in 1776, and in April, 1777, he was appointed suigeon-general of the militaiy hos- 
pitals of the middle department* From that period until his death he took an active 
part in public aflSurs— politics, scienoe, and general litomture. He stands in the 
highest rank of American physicians and philosophers. Doctor Bush died on the < 
eighteenth of April, 1813, in tho sixty-ninth year of his age. 


of the obligations I owe to his worthy father for the 
many kindnesses received at hij9 hands while I was a 
student in Edinburgh." The request was immediately 
granted ; but, alas ! poor Leslie was soon ^ past ail sur- 
gery." He died the same evening, after receiving every 
possible kindness and attention, and was buried the next 
day at Pluckemin with the honors of war ; his companions, 
as they lowered his remains to the soldier's last rest, 
shedding tears over the grave of a much-loved com- 

The battle of Princeton, for the time it lasted and the 
numbers engaged, was the most fatal to our officers of 
any action during the whole of the Kevolutionary war — 
the Americans losing one general, two colonels, one 
major, and three captains, killed* — ^while the martial 
prowess of our enemy shone not with more brilliant 
lustre, in any one of their combats during their long 
career, of arms than did the courage and discipline of the 
17th British regiment on the third of January, 1777.t 
Indeed, Washington himself diuring the height of the 
conflict, pointed out this gallant corps to his officers, 
exclaiming, ^ See how those noble fellows fight ! Ah ! 
gentlemen, when shall we be able to keep an army long 
enough together to display a discipline equal to our 

* These were General Mercer, Colonels Haslet and Potter, Stlajor Morris, and 
Captains Shippen, Fleming, and Neal. 

t This was Colonel Mawhood's regiment, and the one that droTO the Americana 
from the hedg^ fence, at the point of the bayonet. 

X During the whole of the year 1776, Washington frequently pressed upon the 
attention of Congress, the necessity for establishing a system of long enlistments in 
the army, for every day the evils of short enlistments were felt. Up to the doee of 
1776, the chief dependence of the army was npon the militia. ** Who," Washings 
ton said in a letter to the president of Congress, toward the close of December* 


The regular troops that constituted the grand army at 
the close of the campaign of '76 were the fragments of 
many regiments, worn down by constant and toilsome 
marches, and suffering of every sort, in the depth of 

" come in, yon can not tell how ; go, yon can not tell when ; and act, yoa can not 
tell where ; consume yoar prorisions, exhanst your stores, and leave yon at a criticnl 
moment." He then ui^ed the establishment of a standing army, safficient for the 
exi^ncies of the case, and said : " In my judgment this isliot a time to stand upon 
expense ; our funds are not the only ohject of consideration." He then informed 
the Congress that he had taken the responsibility of offering to regiment recmirs, 
and U\ place them on the continental establishment as to rank and pay, and added : 
" It may be tboaght that I am going a good deal oat of the line of my daty to adopt 
these measures, or to advise thus freely. A character to lose, an estate to forfeit, 
the inestimable blessings of liberty at stake, and a life deroted, must be my excuse." 

The Congress had already resoWed to establish a grand army of eighty-eight bat- 
talions of seven hundred and fifty men each, to be raised in the several states ; and 
their confidence in Washington was manifested by their clothing him with the abso- 
lute powers of a military dictator, for six months. And a week after the foregoing 
letter to the Congress was written, they authorized the raising of sixteen additional 
battalions, and at the same time thus defined by resolution, the extraordinary powert 
which they had given to the commander-in-chief:— 

" This Congress, having maturely considered the present crisis, and having per* 
feet reliance on the wisdom, vigor, and uprightness of Qeneral Washington, do 
hereby — 

" Resolve, That General Washington shall be, and he is hereby, vested with fuU^ 
ample, and complete powers to raise and collect together, in the most speedy and 
effectual manner, from any or all of these United States, sixteen battalions of infan- 
tiy, in addition to those already voted by Congress ; to appoint officers for the said 
battalions of infantry ; to raise, officer, and equip three thousand light>horse, three 
regiments of artillery, and a corps of engineers, and to establish their pay; to apply 
to any of the states for such aid of the militia as he shall judge necessary ; to form 
such magazines, and in such places, as he shall think proper; to displace and 
appoint all officers under the rank of brigadier-general, and to fill up all vacancies 
in every other department in the American army ; to take, wherever he may be, 
whatever he may want for the use of the army, if the inhabitants will not sell it, 
allowing a reasonable price fbr the same ; to arrest and confine persons who refuse 
to take the continental currency, or are otherwise disaffected to the American cause, 
and return to the states of which they are citizens their names, and the nature of 
their offences, together with the witnesses to prove them. 

" That the foregoing powers be vested in General Washington for and during tho 
term of six months from the date hereof, nnloss sooner determined by Congress." • 
JnumaU of Congrtn, December 27, 1776. 


winter. The fine regiment of Smallwood, composed of 
the flower of the Maryland youth, and which in the June 
preceding, marched into Philadelphia eleven hundred 
strong, was, on ihe third of January, reduced to scarcely 
sixty men, and commanded by a captain.* In fact, the 
bulk of what was then called the grand army consisted 
of the Pennsylvania militia and volunteers — citizen-sol- 
diers who had left their comfortable homes at the call of 
their country, and were enduring the rigors of a winter 
campaign. On the morning of the battle of Princeton, 
they had been eighteen hours under arms, and harassed 
by a long night's march. Was it then to be wondered 
at that they should have given way before the veteran 
bayonets of their fresh and well-appointed foe ? 

The heroic devotion of Washington was not wanting 
in the exigencies of this memorable day. He was aware 
that his hour was come to redeem the pledge he had Md 
on the altar of his country when first he took up arms 
in her cause: to win her liberties or perish in the 
attempt Defeat at Princeton would have amounted to 
the annihilation of America's last hope ; for, independent 
of the enemy a forces in fronts Comwallis, with the flower 
of the British army, eight thousand strong, was already 
panting close on the rear.f It was, indeed, the very 

* Colonel Smallwood's battalion was one of the finest in the army, in dress, 
equipment, and discipline. Their scarlet-and-buff uniforms, and well-bnmlshed 
amu, contrasted strongly with those of the New England troops, and were " dis- 
tingnished at this time," says Graydon, '* by the most fashionable-cut coat, the most 
macaroni cocked hat, and hottest blood, in the Union." In the battle on Long 
Island, at the close of the previous August, this fine corps had been dreadfully dcci« 
mated. Full two hundred and fifty of them perished in the last deadly struggle 
1>etwe2n Stirling and Comwallis, near the shores of Gk>wanus creek. 

t When Comwallis heard the firing at Princeton, on the morning of the third of 
January, he hastened in that direction with his whole force, for he considered his 
Taluable stotps at Brunswick in danger. He reached Princeton just as the Ameri- 


crisis of the struggle. In the hurried and imposing 
events of Kttle more than one short week, liberty endured 
her greatest agony. What^ then, is due to the fame 
and memories of that sacred band who, 'with the master 
of liberty at their head, breasted the storm at this fear- 
ful crisis of their country's destiny ?* 

The heroism of Washington on the field of Princeton 
is matter of history. We have often enjoyed a touching 
reminiscence of that ever-memorable event from the late 
Colonel Fitzgerald, who was aid to the chief, and who 
never related the story of his general's danger and almost 
miraculous preservation, without adding to his tale the 
homage of a tear. 

The aid-de-camp had been ordered to bring up the 
troops from the rear of the column, when the band under 
General Mercer became engaged. Upon returning to 

cans had secured their victoiy, who, thoagh wearied and worn with fatigue and 
want of sleep, were in pursuit of the fugitiye British soldiers who had fled from 
Princeton toward Brunswick. Comwallis pursued Washington as far aa the Mill* 
stone river, when he gave up the chase. 

• "Achievements so stirring," says the eloquent Charles Botta, "gained for 
the American commander a very great reputation, and were regarded with wonder 
by all nations, as well as by the Americans. The prudence, constancy, and noble 
intrepidity of Washington, were admired and applauded by all. By un&uiroous 
consent, he was declared to be the savior of his country ; all proclaimed him equal 
to the most renowned commanders of antiquity, and especially distinguished him by the 
name of the Ambsican Fabius. His name was in the mouths of all; he was 
celebrated by the pens of the most di.stinguished writers. The most illustrious per- 
sonages of Europe lavished upon him their praises and their congratulations. The 
American general, therefore, wanted neither a cause fall of grandeur to defend, nor 
occasion for the acquisition of glory, nor genius to avail himself of it, nor the renown 
due to his triumphs, nor an entire generation of men perfectly well disposed to ren- 
der him homage." 

It is said Frederick the Great of Prussia declared, that the achievements of Wash- 
ington and his little band of compatriots, between the twenty-fiflh of December, 
1776, and the fourth of January, 1777, a space of ten days, were the most brilliant 
of any in the annals of military achieyements. 


tte spot where he had left the commaildeivm-chief, he 
was no longer there, and, upon looking around, the aid 
discovered him endeavoring to rally the line which had 
been thrown into disorder by a rapid on-set of the foe • 
Washington, after several ineffectual efforts to restore 
the fortunes of the fight, is seen to rein up his horse, 
with his head to the enemy, and in that position to be- 
come immovable. It was a last appeal to his soldiers, 
and seemed to say, Will you give up your general to the 
foe ? Such an appeal was not made in fain. The dis- 
comfitted Americans rally on the instant, and form into 
line ; the enemy halt, and dress their line ; the American 
chief is between the adverse posts, as though he had 
been placed there, a target for both. The arms of both 
lines are levelled. Can escape from death be possible? 
Fitzgerald, horror-struck at the danger of his beloved 
commander, dropped the reins upon his horse's neck, and 
drew his hat over his face, that he might not see him 
die. A roar of musketry succeeds, and then a shout It 
is the shout of victory. The aid-de-camp ventures to 
raise his eyes, and 0, glorious sight! the enemy are 
broken and flying, while dimly amidst the glimpses of 
the smoke is seen the chief, " alive, unharmed, and with- 

* Mawhood and hts regiment pressed forward in yigoroas parsait of the scatterea 
Americans, and it if as while endeavoring to rally them that Mercer fell. The Brit* 
ish were soon checked bj Washington, who was advancing oyer a hill at the head 
of a column of regulars and Pennsylvania militia. Perceiving at a glance the des- 
perate state of affairs, Washington ordered Captain Moulder to form his field-battery 
for immediate action, while the chief, in person, should attempt to rally the Ameri- 
cans. His stately form was seen by Mawhood, as he rode backward and forward, 
and by word and action called upon the panic-stricken troops to turn upon the foe. 
He ordered a halt, in battle line, and drew up bis artillery with the intention of 
charging upon Moulder to capture his battery. This was the movement alluded to 
in the text 

' I 


out a wound/' waviiig his hat, and cheering his comrades 
to the pursuit. 

Colonel Fitzgerald, celebrated as one of the finest 
horsemen in the American army, now dashed his rowels 
in his charger's flanks, and, heedless of the dead and 
dying in his way, flew to the side of his chief, exclaim- 
ing, ^ Thank God! your excellency is safe!" The 
favorite aid, a gallant and warm-hearted son of Erin, a 
man of thews and sinews, and ^ albeit imused to the 
melting mood," now gave loose rein to his feelings, and 
wept like a child, for joy. 

Washington, ever calm amid scenes of the greatest 
excitement^ afiectionately grasped the hand of his aid 
and friend, and then ordered — ^ Away, my dear colonel^ 
and bring up the troops — ^the day is our own !"* 

* Being sererely galled bj the grape-ahot of the Americans, and perceiying 
Hitchcock's and another continental regiment iulrancing fh>m behind the repablican 
column, Mawhood wheeled and retreated toward the high gronnd in the rear, leayfaig 
his artillery npon the field. They fled to the Trenton road in confosion, crossed 
the bridge over Stony Brook, and hastened to join Comwallis, then on his march 
from Trenton. 




Waahikotoh wdibxatbd by Bbfxat— PosxTzoir or thb Britibh Abmt— Makch op tub 
AMKKiOAira urosr OsEXAirrowsr— Akbcdoti ov Pttlaski— Ak Ihtozioatxd Gbvcsal 
OrnozA— StxBPxus or tbk Ensxt — Bxtbbat into Cnsv's Hovsb— Attsmpt to Dia- 


AicxBiOAira — Washinqtok in Danobb— Bxbitlt op TDK BATTXJi — Obkbbal Nabd Mox- WoxrxBBD— HxsPbbsbitob or Mnn> — HisDxatr — Tdb UNDisciPLnrBD Axbbicans 


OP TBB Fbbhch MzsriBTBB ON THB Battlb or Okbmantown — Maach or TUB Abmt to 
Tallbt Fobob—Wabhinqton'b OoxPAeaioN. 

Undismayed by his defeat at the battle of the Brandy- 
wine, Washington hovered on the march of his enemy ; 
not with the hope of saving Philadelphia, but with the 
determination to strike yet another blow before the con- 
clusion of the campaign of 1777. Charmed with the 
courage displayed by his imdisciplined soldiers, when 
opposed to a superior army of veterans, in the combat at 
Chad's ford, the American general anxiously watched for 
an opportunity of again measuring his sword with that 
of his skilful and far better appointed adversary, though 
vast were the advantages in favor of the latter.f 

* Written, and published in the National Intelligencer, on the twenty-eecond 
February, 1841. 

t The retreat of the Americans after the disastrous contests near the Brandywine 
creek, in Chester county, Pennsylvania, on the eleventh of September, 1777, was 
precipitate, and at first confused. Lafayette, who had been severely wounded, has 
left a vivid picture of the scene. Chester road, he said, was crowded with the fiying 
fugitives, cannon, baggage-carts, and everything else pertaining to an army, even 
before the combats had entirely ceased ; and the confusion of the scene was enhanced 
by the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry in the rear. On the banks of 4 



Sir William Howe,* flushed with his victory over the 
American grand army, and the occupation of the then 
capital of the American Union,. and presuming that his 
foe was sufficiently subdued to give him no further 
molestation for the remainder of the campaign, quartered 
a large portion of his troops in the village of German- 
town, about seven miles from the city of Philadelphia, 
while he despatched considerable detachments toward 
the positions still held by the American forces on the 

Washington promptly embraced the opportunity thus 
offered of striking at his powerful adversary with fair 
hopes of success. Gathering together all the troops 
within his reach, and having received some reinforce- 

stream, near Chester, twelre miles fh>i» the battlefield, the flight of the fagitires 
was checked by their own officers, and Washington coming ap toward midnight, 
restored order. The next morning thej continaed their retreat toward Chester ; 
while Howe, as usual, neglecting to follow up a capital advantage, remained two or 
three dajs near the scene of the conflict. 

Washington and his broken army halted at Germantown, rested tiiere one day, 
and then recrossed the Schaylkill, to attack the advancing foe. Both parties were 
prepared for action, when a heavy rain so interferred, that it was indefinitely post- 
poned. Then commenced a series of marches and coanter-marches. Sir William 
Howe endeavoring to take possession of Philadelphia, and Washington doing all in 
lus power to keep him on the lower side of the Schuylkill. Howe succeeded, and 
Washington took post within about fourteen miles of Germantown, from which point 
he advanced to the engagement delineated in the text. 

* General William Howe had been commander-in-chief of the British forces in 
America since die retirement of General Gage, in the autumn of 1775. In the sum* 
mer of 1776, a British fleet, commanded by his brother. Admiral Lord Ebwe, came 
upon the American coast, and at this time was co-operating with the land forces. 
After the battle on Long Island, at the close of August, 1776, in' which the British 
were victorious. General Howe was knighted, and created a baronet. From that 
time he was called Sir William Howe. 

t These positions were Billingsport, Fort Mercer, at Red Bank, on the Jersey 
shore, and Fort Mifflin, upon Mud island, near the Pennsylvania shore, below 
Philadelphia. The channel of the river was obstructed by chevaux defrise, con- 
structed by the Americans upon a plan said to have been suggested by Doctor 


ments, although they consisted mostly of new levies, 
the American army broke up its encampment, about 
fifteen miles from Germantown, on the night of the third 
of October, and advanced upon the enemy in three 
columns, in order of battle. 

During the night march, several incidents occurred 
that might be deemed ominous of the fortunes of the 
coming day. The celebrated Count Pulaski, who was 
charged with the service of watching the enemy and 
gaining intelligence, was said to have been found asleep 
in a farm-house. But although the gallant Pole might 
have been overtaken by slumber, from the great fatigue 
growing out of the duties of the advanced guard, yet no 
soldier was more wide awake in the moment of combat 
than the intrepid and chivalric Count Pulaski.* 

* Coant Casimir Pulaski was a native of Lithaania, in Poland. He was eda- 
cated for the law, bat stirring military events had their inflaence upon his mind, and 
he entered the army. With his father, the old Count Pulaski, he was engaged in 
the rebellion against Stanislans, king of Poland, in 1769. The old count was taken 
prisoner, and put to death. In 1770, the young Count Casimir was elected com- 
mander-in-chief of the insurgents, but was not able to collect a competent force to 
act efficiently, for a pestilence had swept off 250,000 Poles the prenons year. In 
1771, himself and thirty-nine others entered Warsaw, disguised as peasants, for the 
purpose of seizing the king. The object was to place him at the head of the army, 
force him to act in that position, and call around him the Poles to beat back the 
Kussian forces which Catharine had sent against them. They succeeded in taking 
him from his carriage in the streets, and carrying him out of the city ; but were 
obliged to leave htm, not far from the walls, to effect their own escape. Pulaski's 
little army was soon afterward defeated, and he entered the service of the Turks, 
who were fighting the Russians. His estates were confiscated, and himself outlawed. 
He went to Paris, had an interview there with Doctor Franklin, and came to Amer- 
ica in 1777. He joined the army under Washington, and, on the fifteenth of Sep- 
tember, 1777 (four days after the battle of Brandy wine, in which he behaved gal- 
lantly), he was appomted to the command of a troop of cavalry. His legion did 
good service at the North. Early in the spring of 1778 he was ordered to Little 
Egg Harbor, on the New Jersey coast. His force consisted of cavalry and infantry, 
with a single field-piece from Proctor's artillery. While on his w^y from Trenton 
to Little Egg Harbor, and when within eight miles of the coast, he was surprised bv a 


The delay in the arrival of the ammunition-wagons was 
productive of the most serious consequences in the action 
of the succeeding day. The general officer to whom 
the blame of this delay was attached was afterward dis- 
covered in a state of intoxication, lying in the comer of 
a fence. Lieutenant Benjamin Grymes, of the Life- 
Guard,* grasping the delinquent by the collar, placed him 
on his legs, and bade him go and do his duty. This bold 
proceeding on the part of a subaltern toward a general 
officer was certainly at variance with all rules or orders 
of discipline ; but the exigency of the moment, and the 
degraded spectacle that an officer of high rank had pre- 
sented to the eyes of the soldiery, would seem to have 
warranted a proceeding that, under different circimo- 
stances, muht be considered as subversive of all military 
discipline. Grymes was a bold, brave soldier, enthusi- 
astically attached to the cause of his country, and fore- 
most among the asserters of her liberties. The general 
officer of whom we have spoken was brought to a court- 
martial and cashiered.f 

partj of British, and a large portion of the infantry were bayoneted. Jalien, a deserter 
from his corps, had given infomlation of his position ; the snrprise waa complete. 
His loss was forty men, among them Lieutenant-Colonel Baron de Botzen. Palaski 
was ordered to the South in February, 1779, and was in actire service under Lin- 
coln until the siefpe of Savannah, in October of that year, where he was mortally 
wounded. His banner, made of crim5on silk, and beautifully embroidered by the 
Moravian sisters of Bethlehem, was preserved, and carried to B&ltimore. He was 
taken to the United Sutes brig Wasp, where he died. He was buried under a laige 
tree on St. Helen's island, about fifty miles from Savannah, by his first lieutenant 
and personal friend, Charles Litomiski. Funeral honors were paid to his memory 
at Charleston ; and, on the 29tb of November, Congress voted the erection of a mon- 
ument to his memory. Like other monuments ordered by the continental Con- 
jrress, the stone for Pulaski's is yet in the quarry. The citizens of Savannah have 
reared a fine marble obelisk, upon a granite base, in commemoration of the services 
of General Greene and Count Pulaski. 

* A notice of Washington's Life-Guard is given in another chapter. 

t The officer here alluded to, was General Adam Stephen of the Virginia line. 


The surprise was complete. Between daybreak and 
smuise the British pickets were forced, and the light- 
infantry, routed in their camp, fled in confusion, leaving 
their camp standing * So complete was the surprise, 

and a oompanion-in-arms of Washington, doring the French and Indian war. He 
was a captain in the Ohio expedition in 1754, conducted by Colonel Washington. 
Ailerward raised to the rank of Itentenant-colonel, he was intmsted with the com- 
mand of Fort Cumberland. He was left in the command of the Virginia forces 
while Washington went to Boston, on an official errand to Governor Shirley, in 
1755, and was afterward despatched to South Carolina, to oppose the Creek Indians. 
On his return, he was placed at the head of troops for the defence of the Virginia 
frontier, and was commissioned a brigadier. Congress appointed him a major- 
general, early in 1777, and he behaved well in the battle of Brandy wine. Yielding 
to a bad habit, he fell into disgrace at Germantown. His troops, it can scarcely be 
said, were in the action at all. He was accused of " unofficer-like-condnct " daring 
the action and the retreat, was found guilty of being intoxicated, and was dismissed 
from the army, much to the chagrin of many of the officers, for he was a pleasant, 
companfonable man. On the third of December, 1 777, the Marquis de Lafayette was 
appointed to the command of General Stephen's division. This was the first time 
that the marquis had been honored with a leadership appropriate to his rank since 
be joined the army. 

* Washington arranged the following order of march against the enemy at Ger- 
mantown : — 

" The divisions of Sullivan and Wayne, flanked by Conway's brigade, were to 
enter the town by way of Chestnut hill ; while General Armstrong, with the Penn- 
sylvania mUitia, should fall down the Manatawny road by Vandeering's mill, and 
get upon the enemy's left and rear. The divisions of Green and Stephen, flanked 
by M'Dougall's brigade, were to enter by taking a circuit by way of the Lime-Kiln 
road, at the market-house, and attack their right wing; and the militia of Maryland 
and Jersey, under Generals Smallwood and Forman, were to march by the old York 
road, and &11 upon the rear of their right. Lord Stirling, with Nash's and Max- 
well's brigade was to form a corps de reserve/^^Waakington's Utter to the president 
ofOmgress, 5th October, 1777. 

To nnderstand this march, it is necessary to define the location of the four several 
roads mentioned. The Skippack or main road over Chestnut hill and Mount Airy, 
passed through the village and on to Philadelphia, forming the principal street of 
Germantown. The Manatawny or Ridge road, parallel with this, was -nearer the 
Schuylkill, and entered the main road below the village. Eastward of the village 
was the Lime-Kiln road, which entered at the market-place, and still farther east- 
ward, was the old York road, which fell hito the main road, some distance below 
the village. The main British army lay encamped across the lower part of the 
Yillage. The right, commanded by General Grant, lay eastward of the village— 


that the oflBcer's watches were found hanging up in their 
marquees, together with their portmanteaus and trunks 
of clothes, the latter affording a most seasonable booty 
to the American soldiery. Many of the tents and mar- 
quees were bumt^ owing to a want of vehicles to 
carry them away. Although completely routed in the 
onsets the British light-infantry rallied under their offi- 
cers, and annoyed their enemy from every house, enclo- 
sure, or other defensible position that offered in the line 
of their retreat ; thus showing the mighty power of dis- 
cipline over broken troops, and its invaluable influences 
amid the greatest emergencies of war. 

Six companies of the fortieth regiment, under their 
lieutenantK;olonel,f being hard pressed by the advancing 
columns of the Americans, threw themselves into Chew's 
house, a strongly-constructed stone building, and barri- 
cading the lower windows, opened a destructive jfire fii'om 
the cellars and upper windows. The Americans, finding 
their musketry made no impression, were in the act of 
dragging up their cannon to batter the walls, when a 
nise de gtierre was attempted, which, however, failed of 
success. An officer galloped up from the house, and 
cried out, '^ What are you about; you will fire upon your 

each win;; covered bj strong detachments, and guarded by cavalry. Howe's head- 
qaarters was in the rear of the centre. About two miles in adrance was a battalion 
of British infantry, with a train of artillery; and an oat-lying picket with twosix- 
])Ounders, was at Moant Airy. It was this picket and light-infantry which ar9 
referred to in the text. The attack was led by General Wayne, whoso men remem> 
l>ered the massacre of their corapanions-in-arms at PaoU, on the night of the twen 
tieth of September. "They pushed in with the bayonet," says Wayne, "and took 
ample vengeance for that night's work." 

* Lieutenaiit-Colonel Musgrave. He lay encamped in a field west of the main 
road, opposite the heavy stone-house of Chief-Jusdoe Chew, which is yet standing 
at Germantown. 


own people/^ The artillery opened, but, after fifteen or 
twenty rounds, the pieces were found to be of too small 
caliber to make a serious impression, and were with- 

A most daring and chivalric attempt was now made to 
fire the building. Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens, aid-de- 
camp to the commander-in-chief, with a few volunteers, 
rushed up to the house under cover of the smoke, and 
applied a burning brand to the principal door, at the 
same time exchanging passes with his sword with the 
enemy on the inside. By almost a miracle, this gallant 
and accomplished officer escaped unharmed, although his 
clothes were repeatedly torn by the enemy's shot. An- 
other and equally daring attempt was made by Major 
White, aid-de-camp to General Sullivan, but without as 
fortunate a result The major, while in the act of firing 
one of the cellar windows, was mortally wounded, and 
died soon aft;erward.* 

Washington accompanied the leading division under 
Major-General Sullivan, and cheered his soldiers in their 
brilliant onset, as they drove the enemy fi:om point to 

* I visited "Chew's honse" in the autamn of 1848, when the yenerable daaghteiv 
in-law of Judge Chew was vet living there. She informed me that, several years 
after the war, and soon after her marriage, while a yoang man named White was 
visiting her father-in-law, the old gentleman, in relating incidents of the battle in 
Germantown, mentioned the circumstance that a Major White, an aid of Grenocal 
Sullivan, and one of the handsomest men in the continental army, attempted to tiro 
the house for the purpose of driving out the Britisli. He ran under a window with 
a fire-brand, where shots from the building could not touch him. He was discovered, 
and a British soldier, running into the cellar, shot him dead from a basement window. 
The young man was much affected by the recital, and said to Judge Chew, " That 
Major White, sir, was my father." Mrs. Chew pointed out to me the window, 
near the northwest comer of the house, from which the shot was fired. The Marquis 
de Chastellox, in his Journal (i. 212) sayn, that M. Manduit, a meritorious officer in 
the continental service, tried to fire the hoiue with burning straw. 


point. Arrived in the vicinity of Chew's house, the 
commander-in-chief halted to consult his officers as to the 
best course to be pursued toward this fortress that had 
so suddenly and unexpectedly spnmg up in their way. 
The younger officers who were immediately attached to 
the person of the chief, and among the choicest spirits of 
the Revolution, including the high and honored names of 
Hamilton, of Reed, of Pinckney, of Laurens, and of Lee, 
were for leaving Chew's house to itself, or of turning 
the siege into a blockade, by stationing in its vicinity a 
body of troops to watch the movements of the gar- 
rison, and pressing on with the column in pm^uit of 
the flying enemy. But the sages of the army, at the 
head of whom was Major-General Knox, repulsed at once 
the idea of leaving a fortified enemy in the rear, as con- 
trary to the usages of war, and the most approved mili- 
tary authorities.* 

At this period of the action the fog had become so 
dense that objects could scarcely be distinguished at a 
few yards distance. The Americans had penetrated the 
enemy's camp even to their second line, which was 
drawn up to receive them about the centre of German- 
town. The ammunition of the right wing, including the 

* " What I" exclaimed Beed, when Knox spoke of Chew's house as a fort, "call 
this a fort, and lose the happy moment 1" Thej then songht Conwaj to decide the 
point, but he was not to be found. The author is eridentlj in error, in snppostnj; 
Washington to have been engaged in this consultation. He had not yet arrived to 
that point of the conflict Knox's opinion prevailed, and pursuit was abandoned. 
Wayne heartily condemned the attack upon Chew's house, and attributed the loss 
of the day diiefly to the delay and confusion which it caused. " A windmiU attack," 
he said, " was made upon a house into which six light companies had thrown them- 
selves to avoid our bayonets. Our troops were deceived by thifl attack, thinking It 
something formidable. They fell back to assist — the enemy believing it to be a re> 
treat, followed — confusion ensued, and we ran away from the arms of victory opoa 
to receive us." 


Maryland brigaaes, became exhausted, the soldiers hold- 
ing up their empty cartridge-boxes, when their officers 
called on them to rally and face the enemy. The ex- 
tended line of operations, which embraced nearly two 
miles ; the unfavorable nature of the ground in the en- 
virons of Germantown for the operation of troops (a 
large portion of whom were undisciplined), the ground 
being much cut up, and intersected by stone-fences and 
enclosiu'es of various sorts ; the delay of the left wing 
under Greene in getting into action* — all these causes, 
combined with an atmosphere so dense from fog and 
smoke as to make it impossible to distinguish friend from 
foe, produced a retreat in the American army at the 
moment when victory seemed to be within its grasp. 

Washington was among the foremost in hi? endeavors 
to restore the fortunes of the day, and while exerting 
himself to rally his broken columns, the exposure of his 
person became so imminent, that his officers, after affeo- 
tionately remonstrating with him in vain, seized the 
bridle of his horse.f 

* The divisiong of Greeno and Stephen having to make a circait, were qoite lato 
in coming into action. They became separated, part of Stephen's division having 
been arrested by the fire from Chew's house ; and the fog prevented a knowledge of 
their relative position. Greene had attacked and routed a battalion of light-infantry 
and the Queen's rangers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Simcoe ; and believing that the 
Pennsylvania militia on the right, under General Armstrong, and those of Maryland 
and New Jersey on the left, under Smallwood, would cany out the order of the 
commander-in-chief, by attacking and turning the first left and second right flank of 
(iie enemy, he pressed forward with the brigades of Muhlenburg and Scott, drove 
an advanced regiment of light-infantry before him, took a number of prisoners, and 
made his way to the marke^hon8e, near the centre of the town, where he came full 
upon the British right wing, drawn up in battle order. The British wore amazed at 
the vigor of the republicans, and, as was afterward ascertained, were on the point of 
retreating, when a panic, caused by a false alarm, and the total ignorance of each 
eorps, of the position of the other, on account of the fog, put everything into con 
fusion, and a retreat ensued. 

t *' I saw our brave commander-in-chief/' wrote General Sullivani " exposing bim 


The retreat, under all circumstances, was quite as 
favorable as could be expected. The whole of the artil- 
lery was saved, and as many of the wounded as could be 
removed. The ninth /Virginia regiment, under Colonel 
Matthews, having penetrated so far as to be without sup- 
port, after a desperate resistance, surrendered its remnant 
of a hundred men, including its gallant colonel, who had 
received several bayonet wounds. The British pursued 
but two or three miles, making prisoners of the worn-out 
soldiers, who, after a nightrmarch of fifteen miles, and an 
action of three hours, were found exhausted and asleep 
in the fields and along the roads. 

While gallantly leading the North Carolina brigade, 
that formed part of the reserve, into action. General Nash 
was mortally wounded. A round-shot from the British 
artillery striking a sign-post in Germantown, glanced 
therefrom, and, passing through his horse, shattered the 
general's thigh on the opposite side. The fall of the 
animal hurled its unfortunate rider with considerable 
force to the ground. With surpassing courage and pres 
ence of mind, General Nash, covering his wound with 
both of his hands, gayly called to his men, " Never mind 
me, I have had a devil of a tumble ; rush on, my boys, 
rush on the enemy, I'll be after you presently." Human 
nature could do no more. Faint from loss of blood, and 
the intense agony of his wound, the sufferer was borne 
to a house hard by, and attended by Doctor Craik, by 
special order of the commander-in-chief The doctor 
gave his patient but feeble hopes of recovery, even with 

self to tho hottest fire of the enemy in sach a manner, that regard for my coantrjr 
obliged mo to ride to Iiim and beg him to retire. He, to gratify me and some others, 
withdrew to a small distance, bnt his anxiety for the fate of tho day soon brought 
him np 'again, where he remained till our troops had retreated." 



the chances of amputation, when Nash observed, " It may 
be considered immanly to complain, but my agony is too 
great for human nature to bear. I am aware that my 
days, perhaps hours, are numbered, but I do not repine 
at my fate. P have fallen on the field of honor while 
leading my brave Carolinians to the assault of the enemy. 
I have a last request to make of his excellency the 
coDMuander-in-chief, that he will permit you, my dear 
doctor, to remain with me, to protect me while I live, 
and my remains fi:om insult" 

Dr. Craik assured the general that he had nothing to 
fear from the enemy ; it was impossible that they would 
harm him while living, or offer an insult to his remains ; 
that Lord Comwallis was by this time in the field,* and 
that> under his auspices, a wounded oflBcer would be 
treated with humanity and respect The dying patriot 
and hero then uttered these memorable words : " I haVe 
no favors to expect from the enemy. I have been con- 
sistent in my principles and conduct since the commence- 
ment of the troubles. From the very first dawn of the 
Revolution I have ever been on the side of liberty and 
my country." 

He lingered in extreme torture between two and three 
days, and died, admired by his enemies — admired and 
lamented by his companions-in-arms. On Thursday, the 

* General Gray, with the British left wing, was jost pressing herd upon the 
Americans in their flight, when Comwallis arrlTed from Philadelphia, with a 
squadron of light>borse, and joined in the pursuit. Through the skilftil manage- 
ment of Greene, the retreat was well conducted, after the first paroxysm of the panic 
had subsided; and Wayne, on gaining an eminence near White Marsh, turned 
his cannon upon the pursuers, and effectually checked them. There were about one 
thouiiand Americans lost in that battle, Icilled, wounded, and missing. According to 
Howe's official account, the British loss from the same cause, was five hundred ana 


ninth of October, the whole American army was paraded 
by order of the commander-in-chief, to perform the funeral 
obsequies of General Nash, and never did the warrior's 
last tribute peal the requiem of a braver soldier or nobler 
patriot than that of the illustrious son of North Carolina. 
Taking rank with the chie& who had fallen in the 
high and holy cause of a Nation's Independence, the 
name of Nash will be associated with the martyr names 
of Warren, Montgomery, Wooster, and Mercer, while the 
epitaph to be graven on his monumental marble should 
be the memorable words of the patriot and hero on the 
field of his fame : From the very first datm of the Revohdiony 
I have ever beat on the side of Uherly and my country* 

* Francis Nash was a captain in North Carolina, in 1771, and was distingnishod 
In the movements in the western parts of this province, known as the Regulator War, 
He was commissioned a colonel by the convention of North Carolina, at the com- 
mencement of the war, and in February, 1777, the continental Congress commission- 
ed him a brigadier in the grand army. The ball that wounded him at Germantown, 
killed his aid. Major Witherspoon, son of Doctor Witherspoon, president of Prince- 
ton college. Nash's remains were conveyed to Knlpsville, and buried in the Men- 
Donist burrying-ground there, about twenty-six miles from Philadelphia. On re- 
ceiving intelligence of his death, the Congress resolved to request Goveraor Caswell, 
of North Carolina, " to erect a monument of the value of five hundred dollars, at 
the expense of the United States," in honor of his memory. 

That proposed monument has not been erected. Private patriotism has been more 

faithful. Through the efforts of John F. Watson, Esq., the annalist of Philadelphia 

and New York, the citizens of Germantown and Norristown have erected a neat 

marble monument to the memory of the gallant Nash, upon which is the following 

inscription :— 







Among the British officers killed on that occasion, were Brigadier-General Jamei 
Agiiew, and Lieutenant Bird. These were inhumed in the South burying-gronnd 
at Germantown, and over their graves also Mr. Watson has erected a neat marble 
slab. In the North bniying-groond, the same patriotic geatleman has set up com- 


It was not the halt at CheVs house, it was not the 
denseness of the fog, that produced the unfortunate ter- 

memoratiTe slabs at the head of the graves of Captain Tarner, of North Carolina, 
Major Iryine, and six private soldiers of the American army, who were killed in the 
battle, and there buried together. 

We insert the following letter to the author of the RecoUectums, from a gentleman 
of Washington city, because it is a tribute to a brave officer, whose merits have not 
been recorded in history :— 

" Washihoton, February 24th, 1841. 

" Dear Sib : I was much gratified at the publication in the Intelligencer, on the 
22d instant, of your reminiscences of the battle of Grermamown, but regret that your 
information was not sufficient to embrace Colonel John H. Stone, of the Maryland 
brigade. This patriotic and gallant soldier was conspicuous in the battles of Long 
Island, White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, and Brandy wine, in all of which his con- 
duct commanded the high admiration and warm approbation of his commander-in- 
chief. General Washington. In the latter battle the duty assigned him was, with his 
men, to cover and protect the American artillery, which he did — the corps, however, 
under his command suffering immensely, as was expected. When the order for re* 
treat was given, in wheeling, his horse was killed and he slightly wounded, but in 
the confusion, dropped behind a bush exhausted with fatigue ; he was discovered by 
one of his men, whom he begged to pass on and make his escape, as he (Stone) was 
exhausted, wounded, and must inevitably be taken prisoner ; he was prepared to 
meet bis fate, whatever it might be ; the soldier, however, could not be persuaded 
to leave him ; he raised him from the ground, took off his booto, threw out the 
sand and pebbles, and finally they succeeded in making their escape nnder cover of 
the wood. 

" At the battle of Oermantown he was again found at the head of his men, and iti 
the midst of that disastrous action had his leg shattered by a musket-ball, when his 
brother-officers implored him to allow himself to be taken from the field ; his reply 
was, ' No, never while I can wield a sword, will I desert my corps and colors in the 
face of an enemy.' He soon, however, became faint from the loss of blood and 
anguish of the wound (the bone being shattered in a thousand pieces), when, to all 
appearance in a dying state, three of his faithful soldiers bore him off the field. He 
was taken five or six miles on a litter and placed in a farm-house. When General 
Washington heard of it, he despatched Doctor Craik, his family surgeon, and Doctor 
Kush, the physician-general to the army, bidding them be kind and attentive, and 
leave nothing undone which was in the power of man, or skill of physicans, to save 
his life. They immediately advised amputation, but he refused, and was on the next 
day returned as mortally wounded. After lingering some time in great torture, and 
suffering from a severe attack of tetanus, he recovered so far as to be able to be 
taken on a litter to Annapolis, where he lingered out some fifteen or twenty years a 
suffering cripple, and at length fell a victim to the irritation of his wounded condition. 
After death several buckshot were taken from his groin." 


mination of the battle of the fourth of October. Time 
that sheds the sober and enduring colors of truth over 
the events of the world, has determined that the mis- 
fortunes of the battle of Germantown are rather to be 
ascribed to the undisciplined character of a large propor- 
tion of the American troops, than to all other causes 
combined. Washington's oldest continental regiments 
■were of but little more than a year's standing, while 
many of his troops had seen but a few months' and some 
but a few weeks' service. With all these disadvantages, 
the plan of the surprise of Germantown was ably con- 
ceived and gallantly executed in the outset, and failed 
of complete success only from circumstances beyond all 
human control. 

Congress passed a unanimous res<Jlution, conciliatory 
to the feelings of the commander-in-chief, his officers 
and soldiers, under their disappointment^ intimating 
*^that it was not in nature to command success," but 
their brave army " had done more ; it had deserved it"* 

The effects resulting from the battle of Germantown 
were most happy both at home and abroad. The enemy 
were taught to respect American troops which they had 
affected to despise; and Sir William Howe deemed it 
prudent to draw in all his outposts, and shelter himself 
in Philadelphia, which proved a great relief to ajarge 
and valuable portion of the adjacent country. Indeed, it 
becomes the duty of the historian to declare that matters 
might have been much worse on the fourth of October. 
When the Americans retreated, the second line of the 
enemy was in great force, having been but little impaired 

* Sec Jonmals of Congress, October 8, 1777. A medal was also ordered to be 
strack in commemoration of that event, and presented to Washington. 


in the action, while the reserve, consisting of the grena- 
diers, were close at hand to sustain their comrades, those 
chosen fellows having, at the jSrst alarm, seized their 
arms, and ran, without halting, from the commons of 
Philadelphia to Germantown. Howe's army in 1777, 
without disparagement of the British service before or 
since that time, may be considered as the finest body of 
troops that ever embarked from the British dominions ; 
yet such was the alarm and confusion into which these 
veterans were thrown by the masterly surprise at Ger- 
mantown, and such the courage and vigor displayed by 
the Americans in their attacks in the early part of the 
day, that a rendezvous at Chester became a measure of 
serious contemplation among the commanders of the 
British army * • 

But the most happy and imposing influences upon 

* In a letter to the president of Congress, written three days after the battle, 
Washington says :— 

" It is with much chagrin and mortification I add, that every account confirms 
the opinion I at first entertained, that oar troops retreated at the instant when vic- 
tory was declaring herself in oar favor. The tamnlt, disorder, and even despair, 
which, it seems, had taken place in the British army, were scarcely to be paralleled ; 
and, it is said, so strongly did the idea of a retreat prevail, that Chester was fixed 
on as a place of rendezvous. I can discover no other cause fbr not improving this 
happy opportunity than the extreme haziness of the weather." Writing, at the same 
time, to Governor Trumbull, of Connecticut, Washington said : *' But the morning 
was so excessively foggy, that we could not see the confusion the enemy were in, 
and the advantage we had gained ; and fearing to push too far through a strong vil- 
lage, we retired, after an engagement of two hoars, bringing off all our artillery with 
us. We did not know until after the affair was over how near we were to gaining a 
complete victory." Captain William Heth, a Virginia officer, in a letter to Colonel 
John Lamb, of the artillery, asserted, that Chester had been fixed upon as a placo 
of rendezvous, and that " upwards of two thousand Hessians had actually crossed the 
Schuylkill for that purpose." He also stated, that the tories in Philadelphia were 
in great distress, and commenced moving out of the city ; an<l that in the pursuit, 
the republicans passed " upward of twenty pieces of cannon, and their tents standing, 
filled with their choicest baggage." 


America and her cause, resulting from the battle of Ger- 
mantown, were experienced abroad. *'Eh, mon Dieu," 
exclaimed the Count de Vergennes, the French minister 
of foreign affairs, to the American conunissioners in Paris, 
^what is this you tell me. Messieurs; another battle, 
and the British grand army surprised in its camp at 
Germantown, Sir William and his veterans routed and 
flying for two hours, and a great victory only denied to 
Washington by a tissue of accidents beyond all human 
control. Ah, ah, these Americans are an elastic people. 
Press them down to-day, they rise to-morrow. And then, 
my dear sirs, these military wonders to be achieved by 
an army raised within a single year, opposed to the skill, 
discipline, and experience of European troops command- 
ed by generals grown gray in war. Th« brave Americans, 
they are worthy of the aid of France. They will succeed 
at last."* 

The winterof 1777set inearly,and with unusual severity. 
The military operations of both armies had ceased, when 
a detachment of the southern troops were seen plodding 
their weary way to winter quarters at the Valley Forge.f 

* When intelligenco of these bold and rigoroas movements, and the yictorj of the 
republicans at Saratoga, reached Europe, the most timid friend of the Ameri- 
cans took conrage. At the French court the roost active sympathy for them 
was professed. " Surely such a people possess the elements of mccess, and will 
achieve it. We may now safely strike England a severe blow, by acknowledging 
the independence, and forming an alliance with her revolted colonies," aligned tho 
French government ; and so, with more of a desire to injure the old enemy of France 
than to help a people struggling for freedom, the French court speedily acknowl- 
edged the independence of the United States, and formed a treaty of friendship and 
alliance with them. 

t On the west side of the Schuylkill, in Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, about 
twenty miles from Philadelphia, is a deep rugged gorge, scooped from a slope 
stretching from high land down to the river, and through which runs a considerable 
stream. There, Isaac Potts, in whose house Washington kept his headquarters in 
the winter of 1777, '78, erected iron-works and a forgo, and the place became know 


The appearance of the horse-guard announced the ap- 
proach of the commander-in-chief. The oflBicfer command- 
ing the detachment, choosing the most favorable ground, 
paraded his men to pay their general the honors of the 
passing salute. As Washington rode slowly up, he was 
observed to be eying very earnestly something that at- 
tracted his attention on the frozen surface of the road. 
Having returned the salute with that native grace, that 
dignified air and manner, that w^on the admiration of the 
soldiery of the old Revolutionary day, the chief reined 
up his charger, and, ordering the commanding officer of 
the det^^chment to his side, addressed him a3 follows: 
" How comes it, sir, that I have tracked the march of 
your troops by the blood-stains of their feet upon the 
frozen ground? Were there no shoes in the commis 
sary's stores, that this sad spectacle is to be seen along 
the public highways ?" The officer replied : " Your ex- 
cellency may rest assured that this sight is as painful to 
my feelings as it can be to yours ; but there is no remedy 
within our reach. When the shoes were issued, the dif- 
ferent regiments were served in turn ; it was our misfor- 
tune to be among the last to be served, and the stores 
became exhausted before we could obtain even the 
smallest supply." 

The general was observed to be deeply affected by his 
officer's description of the soldiers' privations and suffer- 
ings. His compressed lips, the heaving of his manly 
chesty betokened the powerful emotions that were strug- 
gling in his bosom, when, turning toward the troops with 

ai Valley "Forge. After the retreat from Germantown the Americans encamped 
at White Marsh, hut the weather becoming too severe for them to remain in tents, 
Washington broke up his camp and moved his troops to Valley Forge, where they 
constructed huts and remained during the severe winter that ensued. 



a voice tremulous yet kindly, Washington exclaimed, 
" Poar feUowi ;'' then giving rein to his charger, rode away. 

During this touching interview, every eye was bent 
upon the chief, every ear was attentive to catch his 
words ; and when those words reached the soldiers, warm 
from the heart of their beloved commander, and in tones 
of sorrow and commiseration for their sufferings, a grate- 
ful but subdued expression burst from every lip, of " God 
bless your excellency, your poor soldiers' friend." 

In this interesting event in the life and actions of 
Washington, he appears in a new lighi He is no longer 
the grave, the dignified, the awe-inspiring and unap- 
proachable general-in-chief of the armies of his country. 
All these characteristics have vanished, and the Pater 
Patridd appears amid his companions in arms, in all his 
moral grandeur, giving vent to his native goodness of 

* Doctor Gordon, the earliest historian of the war, sajs, that " while at Washinjj^ 
ton's table, in 1784, the chief informed him that bloody foot-prints were erery where 
risible in the course of their march of nineteen miles ftiom Whitemarsh to Valley 
Foi)^." TIm oommissaiy and quartermaster's department had been so mnch de- 
ranged by the faUerference of Congress and the neglect of officers, that while there 
was an ample supply of shoes, which had been provided for the army, they were not 
where they should have been when wanted. Gordon asserts, on good authority, 
that at that rery time, '* hogsheads of shoes, stockings, and clothing, were lying at 
dilferent places on the roads, and in the woods, perishing for want of teams, or of 
money to pay the teamsters.'' 




ArpsoAcn of tbx AsnxioAXS towasd Momfouni CotrRTHOUBs— Diosioir of ▲ Councit. 


Exurr— Nonos of Jbffsrbov'B Opution of Washinoton — Wabhixgtox meets tub 
F^TINo AjcBBiCAir Abut— Akbodotb of Colonel Hamilton — WAginxoTON bestores. 


PEABANCB — Death of Colonel Monckton — Captain Fauntlbbot — Proposed Memo« 
bial to Washtnoton conobbnxno ExposmtB OF Himself in Battlb — Bbmabks of D«><v 
TOB Cbaoc— Thb Ikdian Pbofhbot— Babon Steuben — Thb Yalbtb Cannonaded — 
Captain Mollt— Washington on thb Night of tub Battlb — Rbtbb at of tubBbitisu 
— YoTB OF Thanks bt thb Congbbss. 


The commander-in-chief having completed his arrange- 
ments for bringing the enemy to & general action, pro- 
ceeded slowly toward Monmouth courthouse, early on 
the morning of the twenty-eighth of June, 1778.f 

* Pablished in the National Intelligeneer, Febraary 2S, 1840. 

t Toward the close of May, 1778, General Sir Henry Clinton sncceeded Qeneral 
Sir William Howe in the command of the British forces in America. Perceiving 
the dangers to be apprehended from the co^>peration of a French fleet ander Count 
D'Estaing, with the republican armies. Sir Henry determined to concentrate his 
forces at New York, the most eligible point for acting efficiently against the " rebels/' 
Accordingly, on the eighteenth of Jane, he evacuated Phihidelphia, parsnant to an 
order of the British ministry. His whole army crossed the Delaware, into New 
Jersey, eleven thousand strong, with an immense baggage and provision train, and 
marched for New York by way of New Brunswick and Amboy. 

Washington, meanwhile, had been led to suspect some movement of this kind, 
and was on the alert He broke up his encampment at Valley Forge, and moved 
toward the Delaware, and when he ascertained that Clinton had passed over into 
New Jersey, he crossed also, at a point some distance above Philadelphia, and com- 
menced a series of manoeuvres to compel Clinton to change his coarse in the direc- 
tion of Sandy Hook. This he effected, having with him a force equal to the enemy, 
and Sir Henry marched toward Monmouth courthouse. 


In the council of war there were but two voices for 
risking a general engagement, Cadwalader,* a gallant 
fellow, and devoted in his attachment to the chief, and 
Anthony Wayne, who always said aye when fighting 
was to be had on any terms.f 

Washington certainly assumed a great responsibility 
in risking an engagement, contrary to the opinions of a 
large majority of his generals, and notwithstanding the 
vast disparity of his forces when compared with those of 
his adversary — ^the disparity consisting more in the ma- 
teriel of which the respective armies was composed than 
in their numerical estimates. But it is to be remembered 

* General John Cadwalader. He was a native of Philadelphia, and in 1775, was 
a member of the Pennsylvania convention. He entered the army, and was appointed 
brigadier by Cong^ress in February, 1777, and also in 1778, as commander of cavalry, 
bat declined the appointment on both occasions. He participated in the battles of 
Princeton, Brandywine, Gerroantown, and Monmouth. On the fourth of July, 
1778, he fought a duel with General Conway, the quarrel which led to it growing 
out of the intrigue of that officer with Gates and others against Washington. Con- 
way was badly, but not mortally, wounded. Cadwalader removed to Maryland 
after the war, and became a member of its state legislature. Ho died on the tenth 
of February, 1786, aged forty-three years. He was a gentleman of lai^ge fortune, 
and dispensed its blessings with a liberal hand. Many of his descendants yet reside 
in Philadelphia and vicinity. 

t Washington held a council of war at Valley Forge, on the seventeenth of June, 
when a proposition was submitted, whether it would be advisable, in case an oppor- 
tunity offered, to hazard a general engagement with the enemy, in New Jersey 
The decision was a negative ; but it was recommended to send out detachments to 
harass the enemy. Of the nine general officers in that council, only four Cnot two 
only, as asserted by the author of the Becollectiona) were in favor of a general 
engagement. These were the chiefs four best officers — Greene, Lafayette, Wayne, 
and Cadwalader. At Hopewell, in New Jersey, he called another council, sub- 
mitted a similar question, and obtained the same result. Cadwalader was not present ; 
Greene, Lafayette, and Wayne, adhered to their former opinion. General Lee, who had 
lately been exchanged for Prescott, and had joined the army as Washington's second 
in command, opposed the measure with warmth, as before. At first, Washington 
was embarrassed by their divided opinions ; but, relying upon his own judgment, 
which was strongly in favor of an engagement, he asked no further advice, and pro- 
ceeded to make arrangements for battle. 


that the two principal actions of the grand army in the 
preceding campaign, though bravely contested, had re- 
sulted unfortunately * Since the close of the campaign 
of '77, an alliance had been formed with France, whose 
fleels and armies were hourly expected on our coasts, 
wliile the demands of th^ people, and those often loudly 
expressed, were for battles.f Urged by these consider- 
ations, the American chief determined, happen what 
would, to fight Sir Henry Clinton, so that Ke should not 
evacuate Philadelphia, and reach his stronghold in New 
York unscathed. Crossing the Delaware, the American 
approached his formidable foe, who, trusting in his supe- 
riority of numbers, discipline, and appointment, was 
leisurely wending his way toward Staten Island, the 
place of embarkation for New York. 

As a soldier, Washington was by nature the very soul 
of enterprise ; but, fortunately for his fame and for his 
country, this daring spirit was tempered by a judgment 
and prudence the most happy in their characters and 
effects. And yet an Dlustrious patriot and statesman of 
the Revolution, and most accomplished writer (Mr. Jeffer- 
son), has said that the Pater Patriae was rather the Far 
bins than the Marcellus of war, his extreme caution 
fitting him better for the cool and methodical operations 
of sieges than for the daring strategy of surprise, or the 

* Brandywine and Germantown. 

t The first moyement of the French ^Ternment, in compliance with the provl- 
sions of the treaty of friendship and alliance made with the Americans, was to 
despatch a sqaadron, consisting of twelve ships of the line and foar large frigates, 
under Count D'Estwng, to blockade the British fleet in the Delaware. Fortn- 
natelj for Admiral Howe, he received from the British ministry timely notice of the 
fitting out of this armament, and left the Delaware in time to escape the blockade, 
and took po«tt, with his fleet, in the bay between Staten Island and Sandy Hook. 
D'Estaing arrived off the capes of the Delaware, on the eighth of Jaly, 1778. 


close and stubborn conflict of the field * Never was 
there such a misconception of a great soldier's attributes. 

* The following interesting sketch of the chaivcter of Washington was dnwn by 
the pen of Jefierson, at Montioello, his seat in Virginia, on the second of January, 
1814, in a letter to Doctor Walter Jones of Virginia, who had written an ahle letter 
to the venerable statesman, on parties in the United States, and proposed to prepare 
another. In his letter, Doctor Jones had expressed some donbt concerning Wash- 
ington as a topic, to which Jefferson replied, as follows :— 

" Ton SRj that in taking General Washington on your shoulders, to bear him 
harmless through the federal coalition, you encounter a perilous topic. I do not 
think so ; you have given the genuine history of the course of his mind through the 
trying scenes in which it was engaged, and of the seductions by which it was 
deceived, but not depraved. I think I knew General Washington intimately and 
thoroughly ; and wme I called on to delineitte his character, it should be in terms 
like these. 

" His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order ; his pene- 
tration strong, though not so acute as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke ; and as 
far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little 
aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion. Hence the common 
remark of his officers, of the advantage he derived from councils of war, where hear- 
ing all suggestions, he selected whatever was best ; and certainly no general ever 
planned his battles more judiciously. Bnt if deranged during the course of the 
action, if any member of his plan wba dislocated by sudden circumstances, he was 
slow in re-adjustment. The consequence was that he often failed in the field, and 
rarely against an enemy in station, as at Boston and York. He was incapable ot 
fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest nnconoem. Perhaps the strongest 
feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every 
consideration was maturely weighed ; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, when once 
decided, going through with his purpose whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity 
was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives of 
interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being able to bias his decision. 
He was indeed, in every sense of the word, a wise, a good, and a great man. His 
temper was naturally irritable and high-toned ; but reflection and resolution had 
obtained a firm and habitual ascendency over it. If ever, however, it broke its 
lionds, he was most tremendous in his wrath. In his expenses he was honorable, 
l>.u exact; liberal in contributions to whatever promised utility; bnt frowning and 
unyielding on all visionary projects and all unworthy calls on his charity. His 
heart was not warm in its affections ; but he exactly calculated every man's value, 
and gave him a solid esteem proportioned to it His person, you know, was fine, 
his stature exactly what one would wish, his deportment easy, ereet, and noble; the 
best horseman of his age, and the most graceful figure that could be seen on horse- 
back. Although, in the circle of his friends, where he might be unreserved with 
safety, he took a free share in conversation, his colloquial talents were not abovt 


Did not this modem Fabius, in the very depth of winter. 
and after overcoming might/ obstacles, surprise his ene- 

mGdiocritj, possessiog neither copioasncss of ideas, nor flaency of words. In pablic, 
when called on for a sudden opinion, he was unready, short, and embarrassed. Tet 
he wrote readily, rather diffttsely, in an easy and correct style. This he had acquired 
by tonyersataon with the world, for his education was merely iwdinf^, writing, and com- 
mon arithmetic, to which he added surveying at a later day. His time was employed 
in action chiefly, reading little, and that only in agriculture and English history. His 
correspondence became necessarily extensive, and, with journalising his agricultural 
proceedings, occupied mosC of his leisure hours within doorii. 

*' On the whole, his character was, in its masn, perfect, in nothing bad, in few points 
indifferent; and it may truly be said that never did nature and fortune combine more 
perfectly to make a man great, and to place him in the same constellation with what- 
ever worthies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance. For his was the 
singular destiny and merit of leaiUng tlie armies of his country successfully through 
an arduous war, for the establishment of its independence ; of conducting its councils 
through the birth of a government new in its forms and principles, until it had set- 
tled down into a quiet and orderly train ; and of scrupulously obeying the laws through 
the whole of his career, civil and military, of which the history of the world fni> 
nishes no other example. How then can it be perilous for you to take such a man 
on your shoulders ? I am satisfied the gr^at body of republicans think of him as I 
do— we were mdeed dissatisfied with him on his ratification of the British treaty, 
but this was short-lived. We knew his honesty, the wiles with which he was 
encompassed, and that age had already begun to relax tlie firmness of his purposes : 
and I am convinced he is more deeply seated in the love and gratitude of the 
republicans, than in the pharisaical homage of tlie federal monarchists. For he was 
no ihonarchist from preference of his judgment. The soundness of that gave him 
correct views of the rights of man, and his severe jus. ice devoted him lo them. 
He has often declared to me that he considered our new constitution as an experi- 
ment on the pnu;ticability of republican government, and with what dose of liberty 
man could be trusted for his own good : that he was determined the experiment should 
have a fair trial, and would lose the Ust drop of his blood in support of it. And 
tlicM declarations he repeated to me the ofiener, and the more pointedly, because he 
knew my suspicions of Colonel Hamilton's views, and probably had heard from him 
the same declarations which I had, to wit : ' That the British constitution, with its 
unequal representation, corruption, and other existing abuses, was the most perfect 
government which had ever been established on earth, and that a reformation of 
those abuses would make it an impracticable government.'* I do believe that 
General Washington had not a firm confidence in the durability of our government. 
He was naturally distrustful of men, and inclined to gloomy apprehensions ; and I 
was ever persuaded that a belief that we roust at length end in something like a 
British oonstitntion, had some weight in his adoption of the ceremonies of levees, 
birth-days, pompons meetings with Congress, and other forms of the same character. 


my at Trenton, and recall Victory -to his standard, when 
Hope was almost sinking in despair ? Did he not, by a 
masterly manoeuvre and midnight march, surprise his 
enemy in Princeton, and add yet another laurel to the 
one acquired by the capture of the Hessians ? Did he 
not, with an army hastily raised, and defeated at Brandy- 
wine, in twenty-three days thereafter, surprise the enemy 
at Germantown ? And though victory was denied him 
by a force of circumstances no human power could have 
controlled, yet the boldness of the enterprise, and the 
success attending it in the outset, produced such a con- 
fidence abroad in our courage and resources, as to lead 
to our alliance with a powerful nation. Did he not sur- 
prise the enemy at Monmouth ? And, although imtoward 
events served to cripple the operations of the early part 
of the day, yet the setting-sun shone upon the battle- 
field in possession of the Americans, the enemy retreat- 

calculated to prepare ne gradaalljr for a change which he heliered possible, and to 
let it come on with as little shock as might be to the public mind. These are my 
opinions of General Washington, which I would vouch at the judgment seat of God, 
having been formed on an acquaintance of thirty years. I served with him in tbe 
Vii^inia legislature from 1769 to the Revolutionary war, and again a short time in 
Congress, until he left us to take command of the army. During the war, and 
after it, wo corresponded occasionally, and in the four years of my concinnanoe in 
the office of secretary of state, our intercourse was daily, confidential, and cordial 
After I retired from that office great and malignant pnins were taken by our federal 
monarchists, and not entirely without effect, to make him view me as a theorist, 
holding French principles of government which would lead infallibly to licentious- 
ness and anarchy. And to this he listened the more easily from my known disappro- 
bation of the British treaty. I never saw him afterwards, or these malignant insinu- 
ations should have been dissipated before his just judgment as mists before the sun, 
I felt, on his death, with my countrymen, that ' verily a great man hath fallen this 
day in Israel.' 

" More time and recollection would enable me to add many other traits of his 
character ; but why add them to you who know him well ? and I can not justify to 
myself a longer detention of your paper. 

" Vale, proprieque tuum, me etse tibi perauadeas, 

"Th. jErFERsoir." 


ingy and their dead and wounded left as trophies to the 
victors. Such were the memorable instances in which 
Washington, with troops newly raised, and badly pro- 
vided with every necessary of war, struck at his veteran 
and well-appointed foe when least expected, producing 
the happiest influences upon the American cause, both 
at home and abroad ; for it is perfectly well known that 
tlie battle of Germantown decided the ministry of France 
to form the alliance that so materially contributed to 
the conclusion of the war and the consummation of oiu* 

As the commander-in-chief, accompanied by a numer- 
ous suite, approached the vicinity of Monmouth court- 
house,f he was met by a little fifer-boy, who archly ob- 
served, "They are all coming this way, your honor." 
^ Who are coming, my little man," asked General Knox. 
" Why, our boys, your honor, our boys, and the British 
right after them," replied the little musician. " Impossi- 
ble," exclaimed Washington! And giving the spur to 
his charger, proceeded at full gallop to an eminence a 
short distance ahead. There, to his extreme pain and 
mortification, it was discovered that the boy's intelligence 
was but too true. The very elite of the American army, 

* ThU battle had a powerful influence, no doabt, but the conqaest over the Hrmj 
of Bargoyne, it must be acknowledged, wns far more potent. That conquest, and 
the general failure of tlie campaign of 1777, produced a marked sensation npon the 
legislature and the common mind of Great Britnin, and a great majority of the peo- 
ple and a powerful minority in Parliament, were clamorous for pence and reconcili- 
ation. Even Lord North, who had so long, as prime minister of England, treated 
the Americans with scorn, proposed, soon after hearing of the surrender of Burproyne, 
a repeal of all the acts of Purliameut obnoxious to the Americans, which had been 
enacted since 1763 ! But in this the minister was not sincere, and these propositions 
were called " doceptionary bills," in America. 

• t This was situated at the present village of Freehold, the capital of Monmouth 
county. New Jersey. 


five thousand picked officers and men^ were in full re- 
treat, closely pursued by the enemy * The first inquiry 

* General Clinton lay near Monmoath coarthouse, on the night of the twenty-seTenth 
of Jane. The next day he woald reach the heights of Middletown, when his strength 
would tlicreby be greatly increased. Washington determined to attack him the 
moment he should commence his march. Lafuyette was then at Englishtown, a few 
miles in the rear of the enemy, to watch Sir Henry's morements. General Lee was 
sent with two brigades to join Lafayette, and, as senior officeri to take the general 
command of the whole division designed for making tlie first attack. At the same 
time, the main body, under Washington, encamped witliin tliree miles of English- 
town. Leo was ordered to make an attack when Sir Henry should attempt to move. 

Before daylight, on the morning of the twenty-eighth of June, several other 
American corps were in motion toward the flank and rear of the enemy, and by 
eight o'clock, the whole British army had taken up its line of march. Lee» with four 
thousand troops, exclusive of Morgan's riflemen, and the Jersey militia, pressed for- 
ward under cover of a forest to an open field, and formed his line for action, whilo 
Wayne was detailed with Kevcn hundred men and two pieces of artillery, to attack 
the covering parties in the rear of the enemy. A little after nine, while Wayne was 
prosecuting his attack with vigor, he received an order from Lee to make only a 
feigned attack, and not push on too precipitately. Wayne was disappointed^ irri- 
tated, and chagrined, for he felt that his commander had plucked the palm of victory 
irom his hand ; but, like a true soldier, he obeyed, hoping Lee would recover wliat 
he had evidently lost. But in this, too, he was disappointed. Clinton had clianged 
front, and a large body of his cavalry approached cautiously toward the right of Lee's 
troops. Lafayette thought this a fine opportunity to gain the rear of Clinton's divi 
sion, and riding Quickly up to Lee, asked permission to make the attempt. " Sir/ 
replied Lee, "you do not know British soldiers ; we can not stand against them ; wo 
shall certainly be driven back at first, and we must be cautious." LaTa^-ette was 
disposed to make the trial, and Lee partially complied. He then weakened Wayne's 
division by drawing oflT three companies to tlie support of the right. Soon after this, 
by Lee's order, a general retreat commenced, without any apparent cause. The 
British pursued ; a panic seized the Americans, and they fied in great confusion. 
These were tlie fugitives met by Washington. The 'chief was surprised and exasper- 
ated, and on this occasion, his feelings completely controlled his judgment for a 
moment. When he met Lee, he exclaimed in fierce tones, *' What is the meaning 
oftll this, sir?" 

Lee hesitated a moment, when, according to Lafayette, the aspect of Washington 
became terrible, and he again demanded — "I desire to know the meaning of this 
disorder and confusion I" 

The fiery Lee, stung by Washington's manner, made an angry reply, when (he 
chief, unable to control himself, called him "a damned poltroon." "This," said 
Lafayette, when relating the circumstance to Governor Tompkins, in 1824, while on 
his visit to this coantry, " was the only time I ever heard General Washington swear." 

Leo attempted a hurried explanation, and after a few more angry words between 


of the chief was for MajoivGeneral Lee, who commanded 
the advance, and who soon appeared, when a warm con- 
versation ensued, that ended by the major-general bemg 
ordered to the rear. During this interview, an inciden 
of rare and chivalric interest occurred. Lieutenant 
Colonel Hamilton, aid to the general-in-chief, leaped from 
his horse, and, drawing his sword, addressed the general 
with — ^ We are betrayed ; your excellency and the army 
are betrayed, and the moment has arrived when every 
true friend of America and her cause must be ready to die 
in their defence.''* Washington, charmed with the gen- 
erous enthusiasm of his favorite aid, yet deemed the same 
ill-timed, and pointing to the colonel's horse that was 
cropping the herbage, unconscious of the great scene en- 
actmg around him, calmly observed, ^ Colonel Hamilton, 
you will take your horse." 

The general-in-chief now set himself in earnest about 
restoring the fortxmes of the day. He ordered Colonel 
Stewart and Lieutenant-Colonel Ramsay, with their regi- 
ments, to check the advance of the enemy, which service 
was gallantly performed ; while the general, in person, 
proceeded to form his second line. He rode, on the 
morning of the twenty-eighth of June, and for that time 

them, Washington departed to form his line. Then riding back to Lee in calmer 
mind, he.said, " Will yoa retain the command on this height ornot 1 If yon will, 1 
will return to the main body, and have it formed on the next height" 

Lee replied, " It is equal to me where I command." 

" I expect yoa will take proper means for checking the enemy," said Washington. 

" Tour orders shall be obeyed," rejoined Lee; "and J shall not be the first to 
leave the gronnd." 

After the battle, Lee wrote insnlting letters to Washington. He was arraigned 
before a conrt-nuurtial, because of his oondna on the twenty-eighth, and was sos- 
]iended from all command, for one year. 

* This is explamed in a ftitare chapter of these BsoolkeUtms, which is entitled. 

Mysteries of the Rerolution." 


only during the war, a white oharger, that had been pre- 
sented to him * From the over-powering heat of the 
day, and the deep and sandy nature of the soil, the 
spirited horse sank under his rider, and expired on the 
spot The chief was instantly remounted upon a chest- 
nut blood-mare, with a flowing mane and tail, of Arabian 
breed, which his servant Billy was leading. It was 
upon this beautiful animal, covered with foam, that the 
American general flew along the line, cheering the sol- 
diers in the familiar and endearing language ever used 
by the officer to the soldier of the Revolution, of " Stand 
fast, my hoys, and receive your enemy ; the southern troops 
are advancing to support you." 

The person of Washington, always graceful, dignified, 
and commanding, showed to peculiar advantage when 
mounted ; it exhibited, indeed, the very heau ideal of a 
perfect cavalier. The good Lafayette, during his last 
visit to America, delighted to discourse of the "times 
that tried men's souls."f From the venerated friend of 
our country we derived a most graphic description of 
Washington and the field of battle. Lafayette said, 
" At Monmouth I commanded a division, and, it may be 
supposed, I was pretty well occupied; still I took time, 
amid the roar and confusion of the conflict, to admire 
cur beloved chief, who, mounted on a splendid charger, 
rode along the ranks amid the shouts of the soldiers, 

* This fino hone was presented to Washington, by Qovernor William Livingston, 
<or New Jersey, after the chief had crossed the Delaware into his state. 

t This now trite expression, originated with Thomas Paine, author of C&fnnum, 
Sense, The Cnns, etc. He commenced his second nnmber of The CWns, written la 
December, 1776, as follows : " Thbsb are the times that tst men's souls! 
The sammer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the ser- 
vice of his country; bnt ho that stands it now, d^erres the thanks of man and 


cbeering them by his voice and example, and restoring 
to our standard the fortunes of the fight I thought 
then as now," continued Lafayette, " that never had I 
beheld so superb a manV 

Among the incidents of this memorable day may be 
considered, on the part of the British, the death of the 
Honorable Colonel Monckton, a brother of Earl Galway. 
It is said this gallant and accomplished officer had greatly 
injured his fortune by the dissipations incident to a long 
sojoimi in city quarters, and that, in consequence, he ex- 
posed himself recklessly on the twenty-eighth of June. 
He was uAich regretted in the British army * 

On the part of the Americans, the fate of the young 
and brave Captain Fauntleroy, of the Virginia line, was 

* The flying Americans were checked by Washing^ton, and were soon formed into 
battle order, and led into action. The battle became general. It was one of the hottest 
days on recofd, and many, on both sides, died from the effects of the heat. The 
British grenadiers, the finest corps in the army, were commanded by Colonel 
Monckton. They had been repulsed several times by Wayne, and Monckton de- 
termined to drive him from his strong position. He advanced silently, and when 
near enough for the purpose, he waved his sword, shouting, " On my brave grenadiers 
to the charge I" and at their head rushed forward with impetuosity. A terrible 
ToUey from Wayne's artillery swept the ranks of the foe, and Monckton fell, mortally 
wounded. Over his body the warriors fought desperately, until the Americans 
secured it and bore it to the rear. 

Monckton was a gallant officer. He was a lieutenant-colonel in the battle of Long 
Island, where he was shot through the body. On the day after the battle at Mon- 
mouth, his remaihs were deposited in the burial-ground of the Freehold meeting- 
house, near the west end of the building. The only monument that marked his 
grave a few years ago, when I visited the spot, was a plain board, painted red, on 
which were drawn, in black letters, the words : — 





W. B. W." 

This was erected by a worthy Scotch schoolmaster, named William R. Wilson 
iLn engraving of it, and also of the meetinghouse, may be found in Lossing's Fiddf 
Book ofthi Revolution, 


remarkable. He was on horseback, at a well near a farm* 
house, waiving his tmn, while the fainting soldiers, con- 
sumed by a thirst arising from their exertions on the 
hottest day supposed ever to have occurred in America^ 
were rushing with frantic cries, to the well, imploring 
for water. The captain, with the point of his sword rest- 
ing on his boot, his arm leaning on the pommel, con* 
tinued to waive his turn, when a cannon-shot^ bounding 
down the lane that led to the farmhouse, struck the un- 
fortunate officer near the hip, and hurled him to the 
groimd a lifeless corse. The lamented Faimtleroy was 
descended from one of the old and highly-respected fami* 
lies of Virginia. ' Leaving the comforts of home and the 
delights of a large circle of friends, tliis gallant young 
soldier repaired to the standard of his country early in 
the campaign of 1776. He was greatly respected in his 
grade, and his untimely fate was deeply mourned in the 
American army. 

Heedless of the remonstrances and entreaties of his 
officers, the commander-in-chief exposed his person to 
every danger throughout the action of the twenty-eighth 
of June, The night before the battle of Monmouth, a 
party of the general officers assembled, and resolved upon 
a memorial to the chief, praying that he would not ex- 
pose his person in the approaching conflict His high 
and chivalric daring and contempt for danger at the 
battle of Princeton, and again at Germantown, where his 
officers seized the bridle of his horse, made his friends 
the more anxious for the preservation of a life so dear to 
all, and so truly important to the success of the common 
cause. It was determined that the memorial should be 
presented by Doctor Craik, the companion-in-arms of 


Colonel Washington in the war of 1755; but Craik at 
once assured the memorialists that^ while their petition 
would be received as a proof of their affectionate regard 
for their general's safety, it would not weigh a feather 
in preventing the exposure of his person, should the day 
go against them, and the presence of the chief become 
important at the post of danger. ' Doctor Craik then re- 
lated the romantic and imposing incident of the old 
Indian's prophecy, as it occurred on the banks of the 
Ohio in 1770, observing that> bred, as he himself was, in 
the rigid discipline of the Kirk of Scotland, he possessed 
aa little superstition as any one, but that really there 
was a something in the air and manner of an old savage 
chief delivering his oracle amid the depths of the forest, 
that time or circimistance would never erase from his 
memory, and that he believed with the tawny prophet 
of the wilderness, that their beloved Washington was the 
spirit-protected being described by the savage, that the 
enemy cc^d not kill him, and that while he lived the 
glorious cause of American Independence would never 

On the following day, while the commander-in-chief, 
attended by his officers, were reconnoitring the enemy 
fipom an elevated part of the field, a round-shot firom the 
British artillery struck but a little way from his horse's 
feet, throwing up the earth over his person, and then 
bounding harmlessly away. The Baron Steuben, shrug- 
ging up his shoulders, exclaimed, " Dat wash very near,'* 
while Doctor Craik, pleased with this confirmation of his 
faith in the Indian's prophecy, nodded to the oflBcers who 
composed the party of the preceding evening, and then, 

• Sefl chapter entitled, " Indian Prophecy." 


pointiiig to Heaven, seemed to say, in the words of the 
savage prophet, " The Great Spirit protects him ; he can 
not die in battle." 

A ludicrous occurrence varied the incidents of the 
twenty-eighth of June. The servants of the general 
oflScers were usually well-armed and mounted. Will 
Lee, or Billy, the former huntsman, and favorite body- 
servant of the chief, a square muscular figure, and capital 
horseman, paraded a corps of valets, and, riding pomp- 
ously 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 ap- 
plied it to his eye, and reconnoitred the enemy.* Wash- 
ington 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 fire on them to a certainty." Meanwhile 
the British were not immindful of the assemblage on the 
height, and perceiving a burly figure 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 countenance of the general-in-chief to relax 
into a smile. 

Nor must we omit, among our incidents of the battle 
of Monmouth, to mention the achievement of the famed 
Captain Molly, a mm de guerre given to the wife of a 

* The telescope is in possession (1859) of the Washington family, and has always 
been a conspicoous object upon the wall of the great passage at Mount Vernon. 



Biatross in Proctor^s artillery. At one of the guns of 
Proctofs battery, six men had been killed or wounded. 
It was. deemed an unlucky gun, and murmurs arose that 
it should be drawd back and abandoned. At this juncture, 
while Captain Molly was serving some water for the re- 
freshment of the men, her husband received a shot in the 
head, and fell lifeless under the wheels of the piece. The 
heroine threw down the pail of water, and cr3dng to her 
dead consort^ " Lie there my darling while I revenge ye," 
grasped the ramrod the lifeless hand of the poor fellow 
had just relinquished, sent home the charge, and called 
to the matrosses to prime and fire. Jt was done. Then 
entering the sponge into the smoking muzzle of the can- 
non, the heroine performed to _ admiration the duties of 
ihe most expert artilleryman, while loud shouts from the 
soldiers rang along the line. The doomed gun was no 
longer deemed unlucky, and the fire of the battery be- 
came more vivid than ever. The Amazonian fair one 
kept to her post till night closed the action, when she 
was introduced to General Greene, who, complimenting 
her upon her courage and conduct, the next morning 
presented her to the commander-in-chief Washington 
received her graciously, gave her a piece of gold, and as- 
sured her that her services should not be forgotten. 

This remarkable and intrepid woman survived the 
Revolution, never for an instant laying aside the appella- 
tion she had so nobly won, and levying contributions 
upon both civil and military, whenever she recounted the 
tale of the doompd gun, and the famed Captain Molly at 
the battle of Mottmouth.* 

* Molly was a sturdy young camp-follower, only twenty-two years of a^, and, in 
deroilon to her husband, she illustrated the character of her countrywomen of "the 



On the night of the memorable conflict, Washington 
laid down in his cloak under a tree, in the midst of his 
brave soldiers. About midnight, an officer approached 
cautiously, fearful of awakening him, when the chief 
called out, " Advance, sir, and deliver your errand. I lie 
here to tJdnk mid not to sUepr 

In the morning the American army prepared to renew 
the conflict, but the enemy had retired during the night, 
leaving their dead and many of their wounded to the 
care of the victors.* Morgan's mountaineers pursued on 

Emerald isle." When her husband fell, and there appeared to be no one to take hi« 
place at the gun, the officer in command ordered it to be removed. Then she took 
her husband's place, as related in the text. Washington conferred upon her tho 
commission of a sergeant, which her husband held, and by his recommendation her 
name was placed upon the list of half-paj officers, for life. Sergeant Molly left the army 
80on after the battle of Monmouth, and made her abode in the Hudson Highlands, 
near Fort Clinton, where, during the attack upon that fortress the previous autumn, 
she \aA displayed her heroism. She was there with her husband. When the British 
ecaied the ramparts, he dropped his match and fled. Molly caught it up, touched 
off the piece, and then scampered away with the rest of the garrison. She fired the 
last gun at Fort Clinton. The venerable widow of General Hamilton told me that 
she had often seen Sei^ant Molly, who was generally called captain. She described 
her as a stout, red-haired, freckled-faced young Irish woman, with a handsome, 
piercing eye. The French officers, charmed with the story of her bravery, made her 
many presents. She would sometimes pass along the French lines, when they were 
in Westchester county, with her cocked hat, and get it almost filled with silver 
crowns. She wore a hybrid costume after the war — the petticoat of her sex, with 
an artilleryman's uniform over it. This woman died near Fort Montgomery, a 
rictim to the indulgence of licentiousness. Art and Romance have confounded her 
with another character, Moll Pitcher. 

* Sir Henry Clinton dared not risk another engagement. Both parties lay upon 
their arms during the evening after the battle. The Americans slept until morning ; 
but the British commenced moving silently away from the field at midnight. Sir 
Henry Clinton was unwilling to give the impression that he made the movement by 
stealth, so he wrote to the ministry, saying, " Having reposed the troops until ten at 
night, to avoid the excessive heat of the day, / took advantage of the moonlight to re- 
join General Knyphausen, who had advanced to Nut swamp, near Middletown." 
This assertion caused much merriment in America, becaui'e, according to Poor 
Will's Almanac, published in Philadelphia by Joseph Cruikshank, it was new moon 
on the twenty-fourth of June, and on the night of the battle was only four days >ld 


their trail, and made some captures, particularly the 
coach of a general officer. 

The British grand army embarked for Staten Island. 
The number, order, and regularity of the boats, and the 
splendid appearance of the troops, rendered this embark- 
ation one of the most brilliant and imposing spectacles 
of the Revolutionary war.* 

Congress passed a unanimous vote of thanks to the 
general-in-chief, his officers and soldiers, for the prompt- 

and set at fiftj-fivc minute* past ten. Trnmball, in his 3fFinffal, thus alludes to 
the circomstanoe : — 

" He forms his camp with great parade. 
While evening spreads the world in shade. 
Then still, like some endangered spark, 
Steals off on tiptoe in the dark ; 
Yet writes his king in boasting tone, 
How grand he marched by light of moon I 

Go on, great general, nor regard 
The scoffs of every scribbling bard, 
Who sings how gods, that fearful night. 
Aided, by miracle, your flight ; 
As onoe they used in Homer's day. 
To help weak heroes run away ; 
Tells how the honrs, at this sad trial. 
Went back, as erst on Ahaz's dial. 
While British Joshua stayed the moon 
On Monmouth's plain for Ajalon. 
Heed not their sneers or gibes so arch, 
Because she set before your march." 

* The Americans were ignorant of the departure of the enemy until dawn, when 
they were three hours on their way toward the shore. Washington considered pur- 
suit to be fruitless, for his men were greatly fatigued, the heat was excessive, the 
soil was loose sand, and very little water could be found. Earl Howe's fleet was 
then lying in the waters between Staten Island and Sandy Hook, and on board of 
these vessels Sir Henry's troops were conveyed in boats from the latter port, on th« 
thirtieth, and he escaped to New York. Washington marehed his army to Bruns- 
wick, and thence to the Hudson river, which he crossed at King's ferry, just below 
the Highlands, and encamped near White Plains, in Westchester county. 


ness of their march from Valley Forge, and their surprise 
and defeat of the enemy ; and a/(9M dej<m was fired by the 
whole American army for the victory of Monmouth * 

* On the Beyenth of July, the continental Congress adopted the following resolu- 
tions : — 

** Reaolved unammouslif, That the thanks of Congress be giren to General Washing 
ton for the activity with which he marched from the camp at Valley Foi^ in par- 
sait of the enemy ; for his distingnished exertions in forming the line of hattle ; and 
for his grent good conduct in leading on the attack and gaining the important victory 
of Monmoath over the British grand army, nnder the command of (jeneral Sir Henry 
Clinton, in their march from Philadelphia to New York. 

" Resolved, That General Washington be directed to signify the thanks of Congress 
to the gallant officers and men under his command, who distinguished themselvec 
by their conduct and valor at the battle of Monmoath." 



Db Oeams xxpscthd fbom Tin West Iitdiw— Ihtbwbbd Attack fpok'Nkw York— Th» 


Clxkton and Lobd Cobkwalub — Wabhikotok'b xmtzboxptxd LBmB—ABxzTAL or 


ur YnteiiriA— Yxsn to thb Yhxs db Pabib— Anbodotb— Amtxoipatbd Tboitblb— > 
Natal BATTLB—ApPBOAon op Allxzd Tboops to YoBKToinf— Thb Sixob op Yoek« 
Tomr— Ikoidbmtb op thb SixoB—WAgHnroroN bzposxd to Daitobb— A Boldibb'b Ap- 


xxo OP Air Oppiobx— Nbws op thx Bitxxxbdbb op Cobkwallis— CoxmrALLis's Attxmp* 
TO EsoAFB— Thb Suxxxkdkb op tbb Bxitibh Abut— Wabhimotoh'b Wab^hoxsb— Cobn- 


The campaign of 1781 W£W considerably advanced, 
without any decided advantages to the combined armies, 
when the chevalier de Barras, the commander of the 
French naval forces at Bhode Island,"^ annomiced to Gen- 

* This chapter was first published in the National Intdligencer, on the nineteenth 
of October, 1840. 

t On the sixth of February, 1778, France formally acknowled^ the Indepen- 
dence of the United States, and entered into an alliance with them by solemn treaty. 
A French fleet was immediately fitted out at Toulon, and sent to aid the Americans, 
under the command of the Count D'Estaing. His performances on our coasts dis- 
appointed the Americans. The Karquis de Lafayette, then serving in the armies of 
the Uoited States, procuied leare of absence for one year, returned to France, and 
by great personal efforts, induced the king to send a much more powerful and sub- 
stantial aid to the Americans, in the form of a strong naval and military force, arms, 
ammunition, and money. Admiral de Temay was appointed commander of the 
fieet, and the Count de Rochambeau the leader of the land fbifoes. The French fleet 
appeared off the coasts of Virginia, on the fourth of July, 1780, and on the evening 
of the tenth entered Newport harbor. There the fleet and army retained their head- 
qoarters until the following year, and were comparatively inactive. Admiral Tema^ 


eral Washington that the Count de Grasse would sa3 
from the West Indies, with a powerful fleet and three 
thousand troops, on the third of August, and might be 
expected in the Chesapeake about the first of September 
Upon the receipt of this agreeable intelligence, the allies 
lost no time in preparing for the investiture of New 
York ; the Americans approaching gradually toward the 
city, and the French from Newport, the two armies 
forming a junction at Dobbs's ferry, on the Hudson* 
Large bodies of troops were moved toward Staten Island, 
the first object of attack ;t extensive magazines were 
collected, ovens built,J and everything indicating that 
the fleet alone waB wanting to commence the siege in 
earnest, when, in the midst of these demonstrations, the 
combined armies suddenly decamped, and masking New 
York, proceeded in fiill march for the South. 

The reasons that induced Washington thus to change 
the scene of his operations were, some of them, governed 

had died 90on after its arrival, and was bnried with distingaished honors in Trinity 
chnrchTard, at Newport, and Admiral de Barras, mentioned in the text, became his 
saccessor in the command, the following^ spring. 

♦ Dobbs's ferry is about twenty-two miles from the city of New York. There the 
combined armies of the United States and France first mot. Washington, hoping 
to secure the co-operation of the Count de Grasse, with a French fleet then in the 
West Indies, had conceived a plan for attacking the headquarters of the British 
army at New York. He held an interview with Rochambeaa, at Hartford, late in 
May, and an arrangement was made for the French army to march to Hudson's 
river as speedily as possible, and form a junction with the Americans encamped 
there. Four thousand fresh troops were soon in motion, and reached the Hudson,' 
sear Dobbs's ferry, eariy in July. 

t Staten Island, between which and the city of New York, is the fine bay and 
harbor of New York, was an important point in the programme of operations against 
the enemy. There many of the British troops were encamped, and its heights com- 
manded every opening to the sea. 

X The remains of these ovens were to be seen in some places in that vicinity ; 
until within a very recent period. 


by circumstances beyond his control, especially as re- 
garded the co-operation of the French naval forces. The 
Count de Grasse preferred the Chesapeake to the bay of 
New York, as being better suited to his large vessels, 
while the admiral, being limited in his remaining in the 
American waters to a certain and an early day, could 
most conveniently render his assistance, in the South * 
This, together with other and imposing considerations, 
induced the American geiieral, while continuing to 
threaten Sir IJenry Clinton, to strike at Comwallis in 

Sir Henry Clinton, aware that a powerful French fleet 
was destined for the American coast^ and presuming that, 
upon its arrival, a combined attack would be made upon 
New York, ordered Earl Comwallis, then pursuing his 
victorious career in Virginia, to fall down upon the tide- 
water, and, after selecting a spot where he could con- 
veniently embark a part of his troops to reinforce his 

. • When the determination of the Connt de Graase was made known to Washing- 
ton, he was 8orel7 disappointed, for the recaptare of New York seemed to be cer- 
tainly promised, if the admiral's co-operation could be had. Washington was then 
at the honse of Van Bragh Livingston, at Dobbs's ferrv, and Robert Morris, then 
superintendent of finance, and Richard Peters, secretary of the board of war, were 
present. The cloud of disappointment upon Washington's brow remained only for 
a moment. He received the despatch from De Barras, mentioned in the firat para- 
graph of this chapter, and he instantly conceived an expedition against Comwallis, 
in Virginia. Turning to Peters, he asked, " What can you do for me?"—" With 
money, everything, without it nothing," was his brief reply, at the same time turning 
an anxious look toward Morris. " Let me know the sum you desire," said the 
patriotic financier, comprehending the expression of his eye. Before noon Washing- 
ton had completed his estimates, and arrangements were made with Morris for the 
funds. Twenty thousand hard dollars were loaned from Count de Rochambean, 
which Mr. Morris agreed to replace by the first of October. The arrival of Colonel 
Laurens ftt>m France, on the twenty-fifth of August, with two millions and a half of 
livres, a part of a donation of six millions by Louis XIV. to the United States. 
enabled the superintendent of finance to fulfil his engagement, without difiiculty. 


commander-in-chief^ to entrench the remainder, and await 
further orders.* But the sudden and unexpected march 
of the combined armies to the South entirely changed 
the aspects of military affairs. It was now the earl, and 
not Sir Henry, that required reinforcement, and Sir 
Henry again writing to his lordship, bade him strengthen 
his position at Yorktown, promising him the immediate 
aid of both land and naval forces.f 

Meantime, Washington had written a letter to the 
Marquis de Lafayette, then in Virginia, which he caused 

* At the close of 1780, Benedict Arnold, the traitor, waa in the aerrice of hia 
royal purchaser; and at the commencement of 1781, he invaded lover Virginia with 
about sixteen hundred British and Tory troops. He penetrated as far as Feters- 
burph, where he was joined by Lord Comwalli^ in May. The earl took command 
of all the British forces then in Virginia, who were opposed by a considerable army 
under Lafayette. He attempted the subjugation of the state, and penetrated the 
country into Hanover cottnty, beyond Richmond, marking his pathway with the 
destruction of an immense amount of property, public and private. Two other 
commanders soon appeared in the field against him — General Wayne, who came 
from victorious fields in Georgia, and the Baron von Steuben. Comwallia soon 
found himself in peril, and moved slowly down the peninsula, between the York 
and James rivers, followed by Laikyette, Wayne, and Steuben. 

At Williamsburg, Comwallis received the order from Sir Henry Clinton alluded 
to in the text, and, aware that he would be too weak after complying with it, to 
withstand the Americans, he crossed the James river, at old Jamestown, after a skir- 
mish with the republicans under Wayne, and proceeded to Portsmouth, opposite 
Norfolk. Disliking that situation, he went to Yorktown, on the York river, and 
commenced fortifying that place, and Gloucester Point, opposite. 

t The combined armies, after remaining about six weeks at Dobbs's feny, crossed 
the Hudson at Verphinck's point, and under the general command of Lincoln, 
marched by difierent routes toward Trenton. By deceptive military movements, 
and letters that were intended to be intercepted, Washington misled Sir Henry 
Clinton with the belief that an attack upon New York was still in contemplation ; 
and the British commander was not undeceived until the allied armies had crossed 
the Delaware, and were far on their way toward the Head of Elk. Clinton endea- 
vored to recall the republican armies, by sending Arnold to ravage the New England 
coasts, and other forces to menace New Jersey and the Hudson Highlands, but in 
vain. The allies made their way rapidly toward Virginia, and the earl implored 
aid from Sir Henry. 


to be intercepted. In the letter he remarked that he 
was pleased with the probability that Earl Comwallis 
would fortify either Portsmouth or Old Point Comfort, 
/or, were he to fix upon Yorkioumy from its great capabilities 
of defence^ he might remain there snugly and unharmed, 
until a superior British fleet would relieve him with 
strong reinforcements, or embark him altogether. 

This fated letter quieted the apprehensions of the 
British commander-in-chief as to the danger of his lieu- 
tenant, and produced those delays in the operations of 
Sir Henry that tended materially to the success of the 
allies and" the surrender of Yorktown * 

The fleet of the Count de Grasse, consisting of twenty- 
eight sail of the line, and a due proportion of frigates, 
containing three thousand veteran troops under the 
Marquis de St Simon, anchored in the Chesapeake on the 
thirtieth of August.f The frigates were immediately 

* Washiogton wrote other simiUr letters. The liearer of one of these was a yonng 
Baptist clergyman, named Montagnie, an ardent whig, who was directed by Wash- 
ington to carry a despatch to Morristown. He directed the messenger to cross the 
river at King's ferry, proceed by Haverstraw to the Ramapo clove, and through the 
pass to Morristown. Monta^ic, knowing the Ramapo pass to be in possession of 
ihe cow-boys and other friends of the enemy, ventured to suggest to the commander- 
in-chief that the upper road would be the safest. "I shall be Uken," he said, " if I 
go through the clove." " Your duty, young man, is not to talk, but to obey !" re- 
plied Washington, sternly, enforcing his words by a vigorous stamp of his foot. 
Montagnie proceeded as directed, and, near the Ramapo pass, was caught. A few 
days afterward he was sent to New York, where he was confined in the Sugar-House, 
one of the famous provost prisons in the city. The day after his arrival, the con- 
tents of the despatches taken from him were published in Rivington*9 Gazette with 
great parade, for they indicated a pUn of an attack upon the city. The enemy was 
alarmed thereby, and active preparations were put in motion for receiving the be- 
siegers. Montagnie now perceived why he was so positively instructed to go through 
the Ramapo pass, where himself and despatches were quite sure to be seized.— 
Lossing's field-Book of the Bevdution, i. 781, note. 

t Francois Joseph Paul, Count de Grasse, a native of France, was bom in 1723. 
He was appointed to command a French fleet, to cooperate with the Americans at 
the beginning of 1781. Although he was the junior, in service, of Count de Barrai 



employed in conveying tlie troops up the James river, 
where they were landed, and reinforced the army of La- 
fayette, who then commanded in Virginia. An instance 
of virtue and magnanimity that occurred at this period 
of our narrative adorns the fame and memory of La- 

Upon the arrival of the French land and naval forces 
in our waters, their commanders said to Lafayette: 
" Now, marquis, now is your time ; a wreath of never- 
fading laurel is within your grasp ! Fame bids you seize 
it. With the veteran regiments of St Simon, and your 
own continentals, you have five thousand ; to these add 
a thousand marines, and a thousand seamen, to be landed 
from the fleets making seven thousand good soldiers, 
which, with your militia, give you an aggregate exceed- 
ing ten thousand men. With these, storm the enemy's 
works while they are yet in an mifinished state, and be* 
fore the arrival of the combined armies you will end the 
war, and acquire an immortal renown." — ^"Believe me^ 
my dear sir," said the good Lafayette, during his visit in 
America, " this was a most tempting proposal to a young 
general of twenty-four, and who was not imambitious of 

he was made bis Biiperior in command, with the title of lieutenant-general. HU co 
operation was much more yalaable to the Americans than that of B'Estaing; and in 
the capture of Comwallis and his army at Torktown, he played a very important 
part His domestic relations seem to have been very unhappy, his second wife, 
whom he married after leaving America, proving a very unworthy woman. His life 
was a burden to him, particularly after losing the favor of his king in consequence 
of an unfortunate military movement. He died^ early in 1788, at the age of sixty- 
five years. Alluding to the nnhappiness of his latter days, Washington, in a letter 
to Rochambeau, April, 1788, on hearing of the death of De Grasse, said, " His frail- 
ties should now be buried in the grave with him, while his name will be long de- 
servedly dear to this country, on account of his successful co-operation in the glori- 
ous campaign of 1781. The Cincinnati in some of the states have gone into mourn- 
ing for him." 


fame by honest means ; but insuperable reasons forbade 
me from listening to the proposal for a single moment 
Our beloved general had intrusted to me a command far 
above my deserts, my age, or experience in war. From 
the time of my first landing in America, up to the cam- 
paign of 1781, 1 had enjoyed the attachment, nay, parent- 
al regards of the matchless chief Could I then dare to 
attempt to pluck a leaf from the laurel that was soon to 
bind his honored brow — the well-earned reward of long 
years of toils, anxieties, and battles ? And lastly, could 
I have been assured of success in my attack, from the 
known courage and discipline of the foe, that success 
must have been attended by a vast effusion of human 

The commander-in-chief, accompanied by the Count 
de Rochambeau, arrived at Williamsburg,* the head- 
quarters of Lafayette, on the fourteenth of September. 
The general, attended by a numerous suite of American 
and French officers, repaired to Hampton,"]- and thence 
on board the Vtlle de Paris^ the French admiral's ship, 
lying at anchor in the chops of the Capes, to pay their 

* The allied armies made their way slowly southward. For want of safficient 
vessels at the Head of Elk, where thej expected to embark for a voyage down 
the Chesapeake, a greater portion of the troops proceeded by land to Baltimore 
and Annapolis. Washington and his saite, accompanied by the Count de Rocham- 
beau, and the Marquis de Chastellnx, reached Baltimore on the eighth, Mount 
• Vernon on the tenth, and Williamsburg on the evening of the fourteenth. That 
brief visit was the first that Washington had made to Mount Vernon since the spring 
of 1775, when he left for Philadelphia, as a delegate to the continental Congress. 

t Hampton is near Old Point Comfort, at the mouth of the James river, having 
in front one of the finest harbors in the world, called Hampton roads, which opens 
to the Chesapeake bay. Washington and his party, consisting of Lafayette, Rocham- 
beau, Knox, Harrison, Hamilton, and others, sailed for the VilU de Paris, in a small 
vessel called the Queen Charlotte, and arrived on board on the eighteenth of Sep- 
tember. They were greeted with a salute of thirteen guns, and welcomed to an 
entertainment prepared in haste, but with great taste. 


respects to the Count de Grasse, and consult with him a^s 
to their future operations. 

On the American chiefs reaching the quarter-deck, 
the admiral flew to embrace him, imprinting the French 
salute upon each cheek. Hugging him in his arms, he 
^exclaimed, ^ My dear little general!'' De Grasse was of 
lofty stature ; but the term petit, or small, when applied 
to the majestic and commanding person of Washington, 
produced an eflect upon the risible faculties of all present 
not to be described. The Frenchmen, governed by the 
rigid etiquette of the anden rigime^ controlled their mirth 
as best they could; but our own jolly Knox, heedless 
of all rules, laughed, and that aloud, till his fat sides 
shook again. 

Washington returned jfrom this conference by no 
means satisfied with its result. The admiral was ex* 
tremely restless at anchor while his enemy's fleet kept the 
sea ; and having orders limiting his stay in the American 
waters to a certain and that not distant day, he was de- 
sirous of putting to sea to block up the enemy's fleet in 
the basin of New York, rather than to run the risk of 
being himself blockaded in the bay of the Chesapeake. 

Washington urged De Grasse to remain, because his 
departure, he said, " by affording an opening for the suc- 
cor of York, which the enemy would instantly avail 
themselves of, would frustrate our brilliant prospects; 
and the consequence would be, not only the disgrace 
and loss of renouncing an enterprise, upon which the 
fairest expectations of the allies have been founded, after 
the most expensive preparations, but perhaps disbanding 
the whole army for want of provisions." 

Washington now despatched Lafayette on a secret 


mission to the count; and never, in the whole course 
of the Kevolutionary contest, were the services of that 
friend of America of more value to her cause than in the 
present instance. 

The all-commanding influence of Lafayette at this 
period, not only with the French court, of which he 
was the idol, but with the whole people of France ; his 
powerfiil family connections with the high noblesse^ par- 
ticularly the distinguished family of De Noailles;* all 
these considerations enabled Lafayette to throw himself 
as a shield between the Count de Grasse and any blame 
that might be attached to him at home for yielding to 
the views and wishes of the American chief 

The marquis prevailed, and he soon returned to head* 
quarters with the gratifying intelligence that the ad* 
miral had consented to remain at his anchors (unless a 
British fleet should appear off the capes), and would 
send a part of his vessels higher up the bay, the better 
to complete the investiture of Torktown. 

The fate of De Grasse and the FiZfe de Paris is well 
known to history. That magnificent ship was a present 
from the city of Paris to the French king. She rated 
one hundred and ten gxms, and thirteen hundred men. 
It is said that on her arrival in the Chesapeake, 
flowers and tropical plants were interspersed upon her 
quarter-deck, amid the engines of war ; while her sides, 
covered with bright varnish, gave to this superb vessel a 
most brilliant and imposing appearance. On the memo- 
rable twelfth of April, 1782, De Grasse, deserted by some 

* Lafayette married the Conntesse Anastaaie de Noailles, daughter of the Dake 
de Noailles, a yoang lady possessed of an immense fortune in her own right. The 
Dnke de Noailles was a member of odo of the oldest and most inflaentlal families 
in France. 


of ids captains, his own ship totally dismasted, a large 
proportion of his officers and crew killed or wounded, 
nobly maintained the imequal contest^ and reftised to 
yield to any ship carrying less than an admiral's flag * 
At length the Barfiewr of ninety-eight gmis, Sir Samuel 
Hood, rauging alongside, the colors of France were 
lowered on the poop of as bravely-defended a vessel as 
hath adorned the annals of the French marine, either 
before or since. Let those who would put their trust in 
princes, mark the fate of gallant De Grasse. When he 
struck, but three men remained alive on the quarter- 
deck of the VHk de Parky one of whom was the admiral ; 
yet, on his return to his native country, the king, whose 
colors he had so nobly defended, turned with coldness 
from the iinfortunate brave, leaving him to languish in 
retirement and disgrace. How diflerent was the conduct 
of the enemies of De Grasse, the English sailors, who, on 
the arrival of their prisoner at Portsmouth, hoisted him an 
their shoulderSy and honoring high courage in misfortune, 
cm*ried him in triumph to his lodgings, bidding him adieu, 
with three hearty cheers. It is thus the brave should 
honor the brave. 

On the fifth of September, Admiral Graves, with nine- 
teen sail-of-the-line, appeared off the capes of Virginia.f 

* The Vtlle de Parts had been reduced to almost a wreck hj the Canada, cont- 
manded by Captain Comwallis, brother of Lord Comwallis, who seemed determined 
to avenge his kinsman's fate at Yorktown. This severe naval battle, under the gen- 
eral command of Admiral Kodnej, occurred in the West Indies. The English were 
▼ictonoQS. Bat several of their prizes were lost in hurricanes that ensned. Four of 
the French ships captured on the twelfth of April, namely, the ViUe de Paris, Csn- 
taur, Glorieux, and Hector ^ and an English-built ship-of-the-llne, the RamHltes, all 
foundered at sea while employed in giving convoy to a great fleet of West Indiamcn. 

t Admiral Rodney, commander of the British fleet in the West Indies, aware that 
De Grasse had sailed for the American coast, sent Sir Samuel Hood after him with 
only fourteen sail, not suspecting that the French admiral had taken his whole fleet 


Count de Grasse immediately slipped his cables, and put 
to sea with twenty-four line-of-battle ships. An engage- 
ment ensued, without material results to either side, and, 
after four days of manoeuvring, the French fleet returned 
to its former anchorage, the British bearing away for 
New York * 

Meantime, the Chevalier de Barras had arrived, with 
eight saik)f-the-line, bringing a battering-train, and an 
ample supply of all the munitions necessary for the siege, 
These were speedily landed up the James river, and 
many delays and disappointments occurred in their 
transportation to the lines before Yorktown, a distance 
of six miles. Long trains of the smali oxen of the coun- 
try tugged at a single gun, and it was not until the ar- 
rival of the better teams of the grand army that much 
progress could be made.f 

The combined armies, arriving at the Head of Elk,J 
embarked a portion of the troops in transports j another 

to the shores of the neigblx>ring continent. Hood arrived at Sandy Hook at the 
clo^e of Augnst, and gave Admiral Oraves, then lying in the harbor of New York, 
wiih live ships-of-the-line prepared for service, notice of the destination of De Grasse's 
fleet. On the same day information reached Sir Henry Clinton, that Admiral de 
Barras had sailed from Newport for the Chesapeake, with a considerable sqoadron. 
Graves, with nineteen Sail, departed for the same waters, as speedily as possible. 

* Tills naval engagement took place outside the capes of Virginia, apon the bosom 
of the broad Atlantic. The engagement was partial. The hostile fleets were within 
sight of each other for five successive days. The French lost in the action two hun- 
di-ed and twenty men, and four officers, killed and wounded. The loss of the £ng- 
li>h was ninety killed and two hundred and forty-six wounded. 

t Within the state-arsenal, at Richmond, Virginia, there are several French can- 
non, long, and highly wrought* and some of them a hundred years old ; also two or 
three howitzers. How they came there no one can tell. Old people remember to 
have seen them on the grounds of the capitol fifty years ago, but knew not how they 
came there. They were probably left by the French at the siege of Yorktown, and 
afterward taken up the river to Richmond. 

I The narrow part of the Chesapeake bay, at it head, is called Elk river, and where 
£lkton now stands, was known, at that time, as Htad of Elk. 


portion were embarked at Baltimore; while tlie re- 
mainder pursued the route by land to Virginia — the 
whole rendezvousing at Williamsburg * 

On the twenty-eighth of September the allies moved 
in four columns^ in order of battle, and, the outposts of 
the enemy being driven in, the first parallel was com- 
menced. The work continued with such diligence that 
the batteries opened on the night of the ninth of October, 
and a tremendous fire of shot and shells continued with- 
out interruption. A red-hot shot ftom the French, who 
were on the left, fell upon the Gaudaloupe and Charany 
two British firigates. The latter, of forty-four guns, waa 
consumed togethei?^with three transports.f 

The defences of the town were hourly sinking under 
the ejSects of the cannonade from the American and 
French batteries, when, on the night of the fourteenth, it 
was determined to carry the two British redoubts on the 
south, by the bayonet. For this service, detachments 
were detailed Jfrom both the American and French 
armies — the former under the command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Hamilton, long the favorite aid of the commander- 

* When Washington arrived at Williamsburg, and found both the French fleets 
in Chesapeake bay, he sent ten transports of De Barras's squadron to bring on the 
allied forvres from Maryland. The last diTision of the allied troops reached Williams- 
burg on the twenty-fifth of September. 

t The first heary cannonade and bombardment by the allied forces occurred on 
the tenth of October. On that evening the vessels mentioned in the text, were set 
on fire. Three large transports were consumed at the same time. Doctor Thacher 
in his journal, page 274, says, " From the bank of the river I had a fine view of this 
splendid conflagration. The ships were enwrapped in a torrent of fire, which, spread- 
ing with vivid brightness among the combustible rigging, and running with amazing 
rapidity to the tops of the seyenil masts, while all around was thunder and lightning 
fn>m our numerous cannons and mortars, and in the darkness of night, presented 
one of the most sublime and magnificent spectacles which can be imagined. Some 
of our shells over-reaching the town, were seen to foil into the river, and burstings 
threw up columns of water like the spouting of the monsters of the deep." 


iiH^hief, but now restored to his rank and duty in the 
line^"^ and the latter under the Baron de Viomenil. 

At a given signal the detachments advanced to the 
assault As the Americans were mounting the redoubt^ 
Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens,f aid-de-camp to the com- 
mander-in-chief, appeared suddenly on their flank, at tlie 
head of two companies. Upon Major FishJ hailing him 
with, ^ Why, Laurens, what brought you here T the hero 
replied, ^I had nothing to do at headquarters, and so 
came here to see what you all were about" Bravest 
among the brave, this Bayard of his age and country 
rushed with the foremost into the works, making with 
his own hand. Major Campbell, the British commandant, 
a prisoner-of-war.§ The cry of the Americans as they 
mounted to the assault was, " Remember New London." 
But here, as at Stony Point, notwithstanding the provo- 
cation to retaliate was justified by the inhuman massa- 

* In the preceding Febraary a misunderstanding oocnrred between Washington 
and Hamilton. The latter, feeling aggrieved at some words of censare spoken by 
his general, promptly proposed a separation. " Very well, sir," said Washington, 
" if it be yonr choice." But within an hour he sent an aid to offer Hamilton the 
olive-branch of reconciliation. But the young officer, who, for some time, had been 
aaxioos to hold a more independent and distinguished part in the army, would 
not listen to the generous overture, and from that time he was separated from the 
general's military family, but not from his friendship. * 

t John Laurens, son of Henry Laurens, who was president of the continental 
Congress in 1777. He was one of the most gallant young men in the army. He 
was sent on a special mission to Fiance early in 1782, to solicit a loan of money and 
to procure arms. He was successful, and received the thanks of Congress. He did 
good service in the South under General Greene, and was killed on the bank of tho 
C'Ombahee, while opposing marauding parties of the British, on the twenty-seventh 
of August, 1782, at the age of twenty-nine years. 

X Miyor Nicholas Fish, of the New York line> and father of Honorable Hamilton 
Fish, late governor of the state of New York. 

^ Major Campbell, several Inferior officers, and seventeen privates, were made 
prisoners. This redoubt was on the bank of the York river. The mounds wert 
quite prominent when I visited the spot in the winter of 1848-9. 



cres of Paoli and Fort Griswold, mercy, divine mercy, 
perched triumphant on our country's colors * 

Washington, during the whole of the siege, continued 
to expose himself to every danger. It was in vain his 
oflSicers remonstrated. It was in vain that Colonel Cobb, 
his aid-de-camp, entreated him to come down from a 
parapet, whence he was reconnoitring the enemy's works, 
the shot and shells flying thickly around, and an ofl&cer 
of the New England line killed within a very few yards. 
During one of his visits to the main battery, a soldier of 
Colonel Lamb's artilleryf had his leg shattered by the 

* We have already observed that Arnold was sent to ravage the New England 
coasts, in order to draw the combined armies back from their march toward Virginia. 
On the morning of the sixth of September, 1781, Arnold, with a considerable force, 
consisting mostly of tories and Hessians, landed upon the shores of the Thames, be- 
low New London. Thej landed in two divisions, the one on the New London side 
being commanded bj Arnold in person. He proceeded to lay New London in ashes, 
while, Nero-like, he stood in the belfry of a chnrch and watched the conflagration ; 
and from that elevated point he conld almost see his own birthplace, at Norwich, at 
the head of the river. The other division, nndcr one of Arnold's subordinates, at- 
tacked Fort Griswold, at Groton, on the opposite shore, and murdered Colonel Led- 
yard and most of the garrison under him, in cold blood. It was to these atrocities 
that the war-cry alluded to referred. Gordon asserts, that Lafayette, with the sanc- 
tion of Washington, ordered the assailants to remember Fort Griswold, and put every 
man of the redoubt to death. This order, so repugnant to the character of both 
Washington and Lafayette, conld never have been bsued. Colonel Hamilton after- 
ward publicly denied the truth of the allegation ; so also did Lafajrette. 

t Colonel John Lamb was one of the most meritorious of the officers of the artil- 
lery department He was then fifty yean of age, and had been one of the earliest 
of the opposers of the British government in New York, who bore the name of Lib- 
erty Boys. He was a good writer and fluent speaker, both of which accomplishments 
he brought into useful requisition when the troubles with Great Britain began. In all 
the commotions in his native city (New York), previous to the breaking out of the 
Bevolution, he was very active ; and in 1775, he received a captain's commission in 
a New York artillery corps. He accompanied Montgomery to Quebec, where, in 
the siege of that city, at the close of 1775, he was severely wounded and niade 
prisoner. He returned to New York the ensuing summer, was promoted to major, 
and became attached to the artillery regiment under Knox. Fft>m that time nntU 
the close of the war he was in active service, when the army was in the field. Ho 


explosion of a sheD. As they were bearing him to the 
rear, he recognised the chief, and cried out, ^ God bless 
your excellency, save me if you can, for I have been a 
good soldier, and served \mder you during the whole 
war.'* Sensibly affected by the brave fellow's appeal, 
the general immediately ordered him to the particular 
care of Doctor Craik. It was too late; death ter- 
minated his sufferings after an amputation was per- 

At this period of the siege occurred that sublime in- 
stance of patriotism which we have recorded in another 
chapter, when Governor Nelson directed the heavy shot 
and bomb-shells of the Americans to be cast upon his 
own fine house, in order to dislodge British officers who 
had their quarters there. 

And yet how many and how endearing recollections 
must have crowded upon the patriot's mind as he thus 
consigned his ancient domicil to destruction. Erected 
by his forefathers, it was around its hearths that, in his 
childhood, he had played.* Beneath its roof he had 
reared a nimierous and interesting family, and passed his 
better days in dispensing the most liberal hospitality to 
a large and estimable circle of relatives and friends ; all, 
all were forgotten as, with Roman heroism, he bade the 
batteries direct their thunders against the seat of his 
happiness and his home. 

afterward became a legislator in his natiye State ; and WashiDgton, when he became 
president of the United States, appointed him collector of customs at the port of 
New York. He held that office nntil his death, on the thirty-first of May, 1800. 

* In an old banal-ground at Torktown, are the remains of several of the Nelson 
femily, corered by fine marble monnments, one of them qnite costly. And the 
ctono house, battered by the cannon balls daring the siege, is yet standing. See 
biographical sketch of Goremor Kelson in another chapter. 


The first headquarters of Earl Comwallis were in the 
house of Mr. Secretary Nelson, a relative of the gover- 
nor, and a gentleman attached to the royal cause. It 
was a very large and splendid brick mansion, and tower- 
ing above the ramparts, afforded a fine mark for the 
American artillery, that soon riddled it, having learned 
from a deserter that it contained the British headquar- 
ters. His lordship remained in the house imtil his stew- 
ard was killed by a cannon-ball while carrying a tureen 
of soup to his master's table. 

The British general then removed his headquarters 
to the house of Governor. Nelson, and finally to apart- 
ments excavated in the bank on the southern extremity 
of the town, where two rooms were wainscotted with 
boards, and lined with baize, for his accommodation.* 
It was in that cavernous abode that the earl received his 
last letter from Sir Henry Clinton. It was brought by 
the honorable Colonel Cochran, who, landing from an 
English cutter on Cape Charles, procured an open boat> 
and threading his way, under cover of a fog, through the 
French fleet, arrived safely, and delivered his despatches. 
They contained orders for the earl to hold out to the last 
extremity, assuring him that a force of seven thousand 
men would be immediately embarked for his relieCf 

* No traces of this retreat can now be foand. It was excavated in the bank of 
rock-marl upon which the Tillage of Yorktown stands, bat has disappeared long ago. 
Full a quarter of a mile above the spot, there is an excavation in the same bank, to 
which strangers were directed, when I visited Yorktown a few years ago, as the veri- 
table council-chamber of Comwallis ; but I was informed, by good authority, that 
the cave I visited was made, at or before the siege, to hide valuables in. I saw 
tlie remains of a house that had stood directly in front of it, and which most hare 
concealed the entrance to the cavern. 

t From the first, Comwallis appears to have doubted his ability to maintain his 
position long. When he first saw perils gathering thick around him, the French fleet 


While taking wine with his lordship after dinner, the 
gallant colonel proposed that he should go up to the 
ramparts and take a look at the Yankees, and upon his 
return give Washington's health in a bumper. He was 
dissuaded from so rash a proceeding by every one at the 
table, the whole of the works being at that time in so 
ruinous a state that shelter could be had nowhere. The 
colonel however persisted, and gayly observing that he 
would leave his gla«s as his representative till his return, 
which would be quickly, away he went Poor fellow, he 
did return, and that quickly, but he was borne in the 
arms of the soldiers, not to his glass, but his grave. 

For a great distance around Yorktown the earth trem- 
bled under the cannonade, while many an anxious and 
midnight watcher ascended to the housetops to listen to 
the sound, and to look upon the horizon, lighted up by 
the blaze of the batteries, the explosions of the shells, 
and the flames from the burning vessels in the harbor. 

At length, on the morning of the seventeenth, the 
thundering ceased, hour after hour passed away, and the 
most attentive ear could not catch ariother sound. What 
had happened? Can Comwallis have escaped? To 
suppose he had fallen, was almost too much to hope for. 
And now an intense anxiety prevails: every eye is 

approaching on one hand, and the allied armies on the other, he conceived a plan of 
escaping into North Carolina ; bat the vigilant Lafayette prevented his flight. He 
at once sent a message to Clinton for aid, and received the reply alluded to in the 
text. He nsed every endeavor to delay, first his offer to capitnlate, and then the 
signing of the capitnlation, hoping for aid. Washington, suspecting the reason, 
would suffer no delay, and on the very day when the capitulation was signed, Clin- 
ton, with seven thousand men, left New York for the Chesapeake, convoyed by 
twenty-six ships of the line, under Admiral Digby. This armament appeared off 
the capes of Virginia, on the twenty-fourth of October; but receiving unqnestion* 
able intclligcnoo of the capitulation at Torktown, Clinton returned to New York. 


turned toward the great southern road, and " the express ! 
the express !" is upon every lip. Each hamlet and home- 
stead pours forth its inmates. Age is seen leaning on 
his staff; women with infants at the breast; children with 
wondering eyes, and tiny hands outstretched — ^all, all, 
with breathless hopes and fears, await the courier's com- 
ing. Ay, and the courier rode with a red spur that day ; 
but had he been mounted on the wings of the wind, he 
could scarcely have kept pace with the general anxiety. 

At length there is a cry — ^ He comes ! he comes !" and 
merging £rom a cloud of dust, a horseman is seen at 
headlong speed. He plies the lash amd spur; covered 
with foam, with throbbing flank, and nostril dilated to 
catch the breeze, the generous horse devours the road, 
while ever and anon the rider waves his cap, and shouts 
to the eager groups that crowd his way, ^ Comwallis is 

And now arose a joyous cry that made the very wel- 
kin tremble. The tories, amazed and confounded, shrunk 
away to their holes and hiding-places, while the patriotic 
whigs rushed into each other's arms, and wept for glad- 
ness. And oh ! on that day of general thanksgiving and 

* The accomplished Licatenant-Colonel Tilghman, one of Washington's aids, 
was sent to Philadelphia by the chief, with despatches to the Congress, annooncing 
the sarrentler of Comwallis. He arrived there in the night, and soon the watchmea 
of the city were calling the hoars, with the saffix, *' and Comwallis is taken !" That 
annunciation ringing oat on the frosty night-air, aroused thousands from their slum* 
hers. Lights were soon seen moving in almost every house ; and presently the streets 
T^ere thronged with men and women, all eager to hear the details. It was a joyous 
night for Philadelphia. The old state-house bell rang out its Jubilant notes mors 
than an hour before dawn, and the first blush of morning was greeted with the boom- 
ing of cannon. The Congress assembled at an early hour, when Charles Thomson 
read Washington's despatch, and then they resolved to go in procession at two 
o'clock the same day, to a temple of worship, " and return thanks to Almighty God 
for crowning the allied armies of the United States and France with success '* 


praise, how many an aspiration ascended to the Most 
High, imploring blessings on him whom all time will con?- 
secrate as the Father of ms Country. That event was 
indeed the crowning glory of the war of the Revolution ; 
hostilities languished thereafter, while Independence and 
empire dawned upon the destinies of America, from the 
surrender at Yorktown. 

After a fruitless attempt to escape, in which the ele- 
ments, as at Long Island, were on the side of America 
and her cause,* on the morning of the seventeenth Com- 
wallis beat a parley. Terms were arranged, and, on the 
nineteenth, the British army laid down its arms.f 

The imposing ceremony took place at two o'clock. 
The American troops were drawn up on the right, and 
the French on the left, of the high road leading to 
Hampton. A vast crowd of persons from the adjoining 
country attended to witness the ceremony .J 

The captive army, in perfect order, marched in stem 

* Thia has reference to the fop; on the East river that allowed the Americans to 
retreat ftom Brooklyn, unperceived by the enemy, after the disastrous battle near 
there on the twenty-ninth of Aagast, 1776. On the present occasion, a storm sud- 
denly arose, and prevented Comwallis and his troops from crossing the York river 
to Gloucester, in boats which hud been prepared for the purpose. His plan was to 
withdraw in that way from Torktown, in the night, by rapid marches gain the 
forks of the Rappahannock and Potomac, and forcing his way through Maryland, 
Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, form a junction with the British army under Clinton, 
ta New York. ^ 

t The siege had continued thirteen days. The British lost during the siege one 
hundred and fifty-six killed, three hundred and twenty-six wounded, and seventy 
missing. The whole number surrendered by capitulation was a little more than 
seven thousand. Besides these, there were sailors, negroes, and tones, who became 
prisoners, making the whole number between eleven and twelve thousand. 

I It has been estimated that the number of spectatoi;s of the ceremony of sur 
render, was quite equal to that of the military. Universal silence prevailed as the 
vanquished troops slowly marched out of their tntrenchments, with their colors 
cased and their drums beating a British tune, and passed between the columns of, 
the combined armies. 


and solemn silence between the lines. All e^es were 
turned toward the head of the advancing column. Com- 
wallis, the renowned, the dreaded ComwalUs, was the 
object that thousands longed to behold. He did not 
appear, but sent his sword by General O'Hara, with an 
apology for his non-appearance on accoimt of indispo- 
sition. It was remarked that the British soldiers looked 
only toward the French army on the left> whose appear- 
ance was assuredly more brilliant than that of the Amer- 
icans, though the latter were respectable in both their 
clothing and appointments, while their admirable dis- 
cipline and the hardy and veteran appearance of both 
ofl&cers and men showed they were no " carpet knights," 
but soldiers who had seen service and were inured to 

Lafayette, at the head of his division, observing that 
the captives confined their admiration exclusively to the 
French army, neglecting his darling light-infantry, the 
very apple of his eye and pride of his heart, determined 
to bring " eyes to the right" He ordered his music to 
'. strike up Yankee Dbodle : "Then," said the good general, 
" they did look at us, my dear sir, but were not very well 

When ordered to ground arms, the Hessian was con- 
tent. He was tired of the war ; his pipe and his patience 
pretty well exhausted, he longed to bid adieu to toilsome 
marches, battles, and the heat of the climate that con- 
sumed him. Not so the British soldier; many threw 
their arms to the ground in sullen despair. One fine 
veteran fellow displayed a soldierly feeling that excited 
the admiration of all around. He hugged his musket to 
his osom, gazed tenderly on it, pressed it to his lips, 


then threw it from him, and marched away dissolved in 

On the day of the surrender, the commander-in-chief 
rode his favorite and splendid charger, named Nelson, a 
light sorrel, sixteen hands high, with white face and legs, 
and remarkable as being the first nicked horse seen in 
America. This famous charger died at Moimt Vernon 
many years after the Revolution, at a very advanced 
age.' After the chief had ceased to mount him, he was 
never ridden, but grazed in a paddock in summer, and 
was well cared for in winter ; and as oft;en as the retired 
farmer of Mount Vernon would be making a tour of his 
grounds, he would halt at the paddock, when the old 
war-horse would run, neighing, to the fence, proud to be 
caressed by the great master's hands. 

The day after the surrender. Earl Comwallis repaired 
to headquarters to pay his respects to General Washing- 
ton and await his orders. The captive chief was received 
with all the courtesy due to a gallant and unfortunate 
foe. The elegant manners, together with the manly, 
frank, and soldierly bearing of Comwallis, soon made 
him a prime favorite at headquarters, and he often 
formed part of the suite of the commander-in-chief in his 
rides to inspect the levelling of the works previous to 

* The deliverinfif of the colors was one of the most painful events of the surrender, 
to the captives. Tliere were twenty-eight of them. For this purpose, twenty-eight 
British captains, each bearing a flag in a case, were drawn up in line. Opposite 
to them, at a distance of six paces, twenty-eight American sergeants wore placed to 
receive the colors, and an ensign was appointed by Colonel Hamilton, the officer of 
the day, to conduct the ceremony. When the ensign gave an order for the captains 
to advance two paces, and the American sergeants to advance two paces, the former 
h<^5>itAted, flaying they were unwilling to surrender their flags to non-commissioned 
oflicers. Hamilton, sitting upon his horse at a distance, observed this hesitation. 
He rode up, and when informed of the difficulty, ofdered the entiign to receive 
them all and hand them over to the sei^geants. 


the retirement of the combined armies from before York- 

At the grand dinner given at the headquarters to the 
officers of the three armies, Washington filled his glass, 
and, after his invariable toast, whether in peace or war, 
of " All our frieitdsy' gave ^ The British Army," with some 
complimentary remarks upon its chief, his proud career 
in arms, and his gallant defence of YorktowiL When it 
came to Comwallis's turn, he prefaced his toast by saying 
that the war was virtually at an end, and the contending 
parties would soon embrace as friends ; there might be 
affairs of posts, but nothing on a more enlarged scale, as 
it was scarcely to be expected that the ministry would 
send another army to America.f Then turning to Wash- 

* Yorktown was ovacnated by conqaerors and captives, within a fortnight after the 
sarrender. Some of the prisoners were marched to Winchester, in Virginia, and 
some to Fort Frederick and Frodericktown, in Maryland. The latter were finally 
removed to Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, and giuirded by continental troops. Cont- 
wallis and other JBritish officers went by sea to New York, on parole. Finally, they 
were all exchanged. 

t The fall of Ck>mwallis was a severe blow to the British ministry. Sir N. W. 
Wraxall, in his HiMorical Memoirs of his Own Times (page 246), has left an interest- 
ing record of the effect of the news of the sarrender of Comwallis upon the minds of 
Lord North and the king. The intelligence reached the cabinet on Sanday, the 
twenty-fifth of November, at noon. Wraxall asked Lord Geoige Germain how 
North " took the communication V* — " As he would have taken a cannon-ball in his 
breast," replied Lord Qeorge , " for he opened his arms, exclaiming wildly, as be 
paced np and down the apartment during a few minutes, ' Oh I God, it is all over 1' 
wprds which he repeated many times, under emotions of the deepest consternation 
and distress." Lord George Germain sent off a despatch to the king, who was then 
at Kew. The king wrote a calm letter in reply, but it was remaiited, as evidence of 
unusual emotion, that he had omitted to mark the hour and minute of his writing, 
which he was always accustomed to do with scmpulons precision. Yet the handwrit- 
ing evinced composure of mind. 

Parliament assembled on the twenty-seventh of November, and its first business 
was the consideration of events in America. Violent debates ensued, in which Ed- 
mund Burke, Charles James Fox, General Conway, and the younger Pitt, engaged 
on the side of tlie opposition. Parliament ac^oumed until after the holydays, withp 


Ington, his lordship continued : ^ And when the illustri- 
ous part that your excellency has borne in this long and 
arduous contest becomes matter of history, fame will 
gather your brightest laurels rather from the banks of 
the Delaware than from those of the Chesapeake." In 
this his lordship alluded to the memorable midnight 
march made by Washington with the shattered remains 
of the grand army, aided by the Pennsylvania militia, 
on the night of the second of January, 1777, which 
resulted in the surprise of the enemy in his rear, and the 
victory of Princeton, restoring hope to the American 
cause when it was almost sinking in despair. 

Colonel Tarleton, alone of all the British officers of 
rank, was left out in the invitations to headquarters. 
Gallant and high-spirited, the colonel applied to the 
Marquis de Lafayette to know whether the neglect 
might not have been accidental ? Lafayette well knew 
that accident had nothing to do with the matter, but re- 
ferred the applicant to Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens, who, 
as aid-de-camp to the commander-in-chief, must of course 
be able to give the requisite explanation. Laurens at 
once said, ^ No, Colonel Tarleton, no accident at all ; in- 
tentional, I can assure you, and meant as a reproof for 

oat taking any definite action in the matter. On reassembling, the subject was 
again brought up, when General Conway offered a resolution preliminary to the 
<*nactment of a decree for commanding the cessation of all hostilities. It was lost 
by only one vote. The opposition were encouraged, and again pressed the matter, 
and finally,on the fourth of March, 1782, a resolution was offered by Conway, " That 
the bouse of commons and the nation would consider as enemies to his majesty 
and the country, all those who should advise, or by any means attempt, the further 
prosecution of offensive war on the continent of North America." The ministry 
were signally defeated in the vote on this resolution, and Lord North, after an 
administration as prime minister, of twelve years, resigned the seals of office ; and 
soon a decree to cease hostilities, was furnished to the British commandeTf in 


certain cruelties practised by the troops under your com- 
mand in the campaigns of the Carolinas." — " What> sir,*" 
haughtily rejoined Tarleton, *^ and is it for severities in- 
separable from war, which you are pleased to term 
cruelties, that I am to be disgraced before junior officers ? 
Is it^ sir, for a faithful discharge of my duty to my king 
and my country, that I am thus humiliated in the eyes 
of three armies?" — "Pardon me," continued Colonel 
Laurens, " there are modes, sir, of discharging a soldier's 
duty, and where mercy has a share in the mode, it ren- 
ders the duty the more acceptable to both friends and 
foes." Tarleton stalked gloomily away to his quarters, 
which he seldom left imtil his departure from Virginia.* 

* Banastre Tarleton was bom in Liverpool, England, in 1754. He had commenced 
the study of law when the American war hroke oat. He then joined the army and 
came over with Comwallis. He was with that officer in all his campaigns in 
this country, was nn active leader of cavnlry at the South, and ended his military 
career at Yorktown. He seemed innately cruel while in this country. On his return 
to England, the inhahitants of Liverpool elected him their representative in the house 
of commons. He married the daughter of the duke of Ancaster in 1798, and in 1817 
became a major-general in the British army. When George IV. was crowned, ho 
was created a baronet. He died in 18S3. 

In a personal rencounter with Colonel William Washington, at the battle of the 
Cowpens, Colonel Tarleton was severely wounded in the hand. According to Mrs. 
EUet's " Women of the Revolution," this wound was tj^rice made the point of serere 
wit by two American ladies, who were daughters of Colonel Montfort, of Halifax, 
North Caralina. Because of his cruel and resentful disposition, he was most heartily 
despised by the republicans. The occasions were as follows : When Comwallis and 
his army were at Halifax, on their way to Virginia, Tarleton was at the house of an 
American. In the presence of Mrs. Willie Jones fone of these sistera), Tarleton 
spoke of Colonel Washington as an illiterate fellow, hardly able to write his name. 
'Ah, colonel," said Mrs. Jones, "you ought to know better, for yon bear on your 
erson proof that he knows very well how to make his mark I" At another time, 
Tarleton was speaking sarcastically of Washington, in the presence of her sister, 
Mra. Ashe. "I would be happy to sec Colonel Washington," ho said, Irith a sneer. 
Mrs. Ashe instantly replied, " If you had looked behind yon, Colonel Tarleton, at 
the battle of the Cowpens, you would have enjoyed that pleasure." Stung with this 
keen wit, Tarleton placed his hand on his sword. General Leslie, who was present, 
remarked, " Say what you please, Mrs. Ashe, Colonel Tarleton knows better than to 
insult a lady in my presence." 


Upon the surrender of the post of Gloucester, Colonel 
Tarleton, knowing himself to be particularly obnoxious 
to the Americans from his conduct in the South, requested 
a guard for his person. This was afterward dispensed 
with, but he was destined to be sadly humiliated upon 
his arrival in Yorktown, being dismoimted in the street 
fix)m a beautiful blood-horse that was claimed by a Vir- 
ginian gentleman as his property. The colonel was on 
his way to dine with the Baron de Viomenil, and but for 
a French ofl&cer who was passing, dismounting an orderly, 
and giving his steed to the unfortimate colonel, this cele- 
brated cavalier, badly calculated for a pedestrian, from a 
defect in one of his feet, must have trudged it to the 
baron's quarters, a distance of more than a mile. 

The weather during the siege of Yorktown was propi- 
tious in the extreme, being, with the exception of the 
squall on the night of the sixteenth,* the fine autumnal 
weather of the South, commonly called the Indian sum- 
mer, which greatly facilitated the military operations. 
Washington's headquarters were under canvases the whole 

The situation of Yorktown, after the surrender, was 
pestilential. Numbers of wretched negroes who had 
either been taken from the plantations, or had of them- 
selves followed the fortunes of the British army, had died 
of the small-pox, which, with the camp-fever, was raging 
in the place, and remained unburied in the streets. 

* The night when Cornwallis attempted to escape. 

t The place where the commissionen met to agree upon terms of capitalation 
was Moore's honse, near the hanks of the York river. It has sometimes been er- 
roneottsly called Washington's headquarters. That building is yet standing, in the 
midst of a beautiful lawn and a pleasant surrounding country. I risited'it on the 
twenty-first of December, 1848, when so mild was the weather, hat, by permission of 
the occupant, I plucked a full-blown rose that was blooming near a verandah. 


When all hope of escape was given up, the horses of the 
British legion were led to the margin of the river, shot^ 
and then thrown into the stream. The carcasses, floating 
with the tide, lodged on the adjacent shores and flats, 
producing an eflfliuvium that afiected the atmosphere for 
miles around. Indeed, it was many months before York- 
town and its environs became suflSciently purified to be 
habitable with any degree of comfort 

A domestic affiction threw a shade over Washington's 
happiness, while his camp still rang with shouts of tri- 
umph for the surrender of Yorktown. His step-son* (to 
whom he had been a parent and protector, and to whom 
he was fondly attached), who had acccompanied him to 
the camp at Cambridge, and was among the first of his 
aids in the dawn of the Revolution, sickened while on 
duty as extra aid to the commander-in-chief in the 
trenches before Yorktown. Aware that his disease (the 
camp-fever), would be mortal, the suflerer had yet one 
last lingering wish to be gratified, and he would die con- 
tent. It was to behold the surrender of the sword of 
Comwallis. He was supported to the ground, and wit- 
nessed the admired spectacle, and was then removed to 
Eltham, a distance of thirty miles from camp.f 

An express from Dr. Craik announced that there was 
no longer hope, when Washington, attended by a single 
officer, and a groom, left the headquarters at midnight, 
and rode with all speed for Eltham. 

The anxious watchers by the couch of the dying were, 
in the gray of the twilight^ aroused by a trampling of 

* John Parke Custb, the only son of Mn. Washington, and father of the anthor 
of these Recollections, 
t The residence of Colonel Basseti who married Mrs. Washington's sister. 


horse^ and, looking out, discovered the commander-in- 
chief alighting from a jaded charger in the com-tyard. 
He immediately summoned Doctor Craik, and to the 
eager inquiry, " Is there any hope T Craik mournfully 
shook his head. The general retired to a room to in- 
dulge his grief, requesting to be left alone. In a little 
while the poor suflFerer expired. Washington, tenderly 
embracing the bereaved wife and mother, observed to 
the weeping group around the remains of him he so 
dearly loved, " From this moment I adopt his two 
youngest children as my own."* Absorbed in grief, he 
then waived with his hand a melancholy adieu, and, fresh 
horses being ready, without rest or refreshment, he re- 
mounted and returned to the camp. 

* These were Eleanor Farke Cnstis, who married Lawrence Lewis, the favorite 
nephew of General Washington, and George Wasliington Parke Custis — the latter^ 
tlie author of these JRecoUecUoni, 

NoTB. — AfVer the foregoing chapter was in type, I foand in the Philadelphia 
Sunday Despatch, in one of a series of articles on the History of Chestnut street, from 
the pen of one of the editors, the following extract fram an old paper, entitled 
the Allied Mercury or Independent Intelligencer, of the date of fifth November, 1781 
which relates to the British banners surrendered at Yorktown, mentioned in a not« 
on page 249 of these Recollections .*— 

"On Saturday last (Novembers, 1781), between three and four o'clock in the 
afternoon, arrived here twenty-four standards of colors taken with the British army 
under the command of Earl Comwallis. The volunteer cavalry of this city received 
these trophies of victory at Schuylkill, from whence they escorted and ushered them 
into town amidst the acclamations of a numerous concourse of people. Continental 
and French colors, at a distance, preceded the British, and thus they were paraded 
down Market street to the sUte-house. They were then carried into Congress and 
laid at their feet. 

The crowd exulting fills with shouts the sky, 
The walls, the woods, and long canals reply : 
Base Britons! Tyrant Britons — knock under, 
Taken 's your earl, soldien and plunder. 
Huzza ! what colors of the bloody foe. 
Twenty-four in number, at the State-House door; 
Look: they are British standards, how they fall 
At the president's feet. Congress and all." 




NvMBSB AKD TTifiTOEM ov TiTX GuAKD— Thxik Appsakanok akd DisoiPLiirs — Ths FAim- 
LHS OvABDSMAjr— GvABD BOB*oim> FOE IvpomTiLHT EzpsDiTXom— Tn Apfaib at 
Babbkh Hill — LArATBrrs nr Pbxil — Allen M*Lakb — Esoapb or nn BcpirBLiOAire — 
Passaob orxmBoinrTLKiLL— Thb Lxpb-Gitabd ATMoHacouTH— Moboah'b Mbbbhibxt-^ 


The Life-Guard was a select corps, composed of a major's 
command, or about one hundred and fifty men * Caleb 

* Among the Connecticat troops who were engaged in the battle of Banker's 
HiU| was a company ander Captain Thomas Knowlton, who was mortally wounded 
in a skirmish on Harlem plains, on the sixteenth of September, 1776. His was one 
of the best-disciplined companies in the crude army that gathered so suddenly near 
Boston, after the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord became known. This com- 
pany and others were formed into a battalion known as the Connecticut ranarors, to 
the command of which Knowlton was appointed, with the rank of Lieutenant- 
Colonel. It formed a part of the central division of the army at Cambridge, after 
' Washington had titken the chief command, and was under his immediate control. 
The corps soon held the same enviable position, as to discipline and soldierly deport- 
ment, as Captain Knowlton's company had done ; and the commander, proud of hU 
battalion, made it a sort of voluntary body-guard to the general-in-chief, and called 
it Congrtat^t ovn " 

This appellation produced some jealonsy in the army, which Washington per- 
ceived ; and, on the eleventh of March, 1776 fa few days before the termination of 
the siege of Boston), he ordered a corps to be formed, of reliahU men, as guard for 
himself, baggage, ftc. He directed them to be chosen from various regiments, spe- 
cifying their height to be "from five feet nine inches, to five feet ten inches, and to 
be handsomely and well made." It consisted of a major's command— one hundred 
and eighty men. Caleb Gibbs, of Rhode Island, was its first chief, and bore the 
title of captain-commandant, having three lieutenants. When this corps was 
formed, that of Knowlton was no longer regarded with jealousy, as a special fevor- 
ite, although it continued to be so in the estimation of Washinj^ton. 

The Life-Guard appear to have been quite popular. Captain Harding, of Fall 

Washington's life-guabd. 257 

Gibbs was the first captain-commandant^ and was ably 
seconded by brave and gallant yomig ofl&cers. Their 
uniform consisted of a blue coat> with white facings; 
white waistcoat and breeches; black stQck and black 
half-gaiters, and a round hat with blue and white feather * 

field, Connecticnt, wnjang to GoTernor Trombnll, on the twentieth of May, 1776, 
«atd : "I am now about fitting out another sniftU sloop [priTateeraman], that was 
taken from a tory, that I hare called the lAfe-Gvard, to be commanded by Mr. 
Bmedley, to cruise to the eastward/' &c., &e. On the sixteenth of the same month, 
Washington, then in New Tork, issued the following order: " Any orders delivered 
by Caleb Gibbs and Qeorge Lewis, Esqrs., [ofiScers of the generel's Guard], are to 
be attended to in the same manner as if sent by an aid-de-camp.'* 

We find no further mention of the Guard until in June following, when members 
of it were suspected of being engaged in an alleged concipiracy to assassinate Wash- 
ington and his slaff. This conspiracy was concocted by Governor Tryon, then a 
refugee on board of a British man-of-war in the harbor of New York, and the tones 
in the city and vicinity, at the head of whom was Matthews the mayor. They were 
made bold by the expected speedy arrival of a strong British land and naval force. 
It was arranged, that on the arrival of these forces, the tones were to rise, full-armed, 
to co-operate with them ; that Kingsbrtdge, at the upper end of Tork island should 
be destroyed, so as to cut of all communication with the main land ; that the maga- 
aines should be fired, and Washington and his staff be murdered, or seized and 
given up to the enemy. The plan was hinted at by the voice of rumor, and sus- 
picion of complicity rested upon one or two of the Life-Guard. One, named Hickey, 
was proved to have made arrangements to have poison placed in some green peas of 
which Washington was about to partake. He was hanged on the twenty-eighth of 
June, 1 776. It is a singular ftict, that the victim of this, the first military execution 
in the continental army, was a member of the body-guard of the commander-in- 
chief, who were chosen for their trustworthiness. 

* This description exactly corresponds with the device on a fiag that belonged to 
the cavahry of the Guard, which is preserved in the museum at Alexandria, and of 
which I have a drawing. The fiag is made of white silk, on which the device is 
neatly painted. One of the Ghiard is seen holding a horse, and is in the act of 
receiving a fiag from the genius of liberty, who is personified as a woman leaning 
npon the Union shield, near which is the American eagle. The motto of the corps, 
" CoHQinuL OB Dm/' is npon a ribbon. Care was always taken to have each 
•tate, from which the continental army was supplied with troops, represented by 
members of this corps. It was the duty of the infantry portion to guard the head- 
quarters, and to insure the safe-keeping of the papers and effects of the commander- 
in-chief, as well as the safety of his person. The mounted portion accompanied the 
general in his marches and in reconnoitering, or other like movements. They were 
employed as patrols, videttes, and bearers of the genend'e orders to various military 
posts ; and they wen never spared in battle. 



The cavalry oi* the Guard was detailed from various 
corps during the contest* In the earlier campaigns, 

* A new oi^ganization of the Guard took place at the close of April, 1777, when 
Washington was at Morristown, in New Jersej. On the thirtieth of that month, he 
issued the following circular to the colonels of regiments stationed there: — 

" Sib : T want to form a company for my guard. In doing this, I wish to be 
extremely cautions, because it is more than probable that, in the course of the cam- 
paign, my baggage, papers, and other matters of great pnblio import, may be com- 
mitted to the sole care of these men. This being premised, in order to impress you 
with proper attention in the choice, I have to request that you will immediately fur- 
nish me with four men of your regiment ; and, as it is my farther wish that this 
company should look welh, and be nearly of a size, I desire that none of the men 
may exceed in stature five feet ten inches, nor fall short of five feet nine inches— 
sober, young, active, and well made. When I recommend care in your choice, I 
would be understood to mean, of good character, in the regiment— that possess the 
pride of appearing clean and soldierlike. I am satisfied there can be no absolute 
security for the fidelity of this class of people ; but yet I think it most likely to be 
found in those who have family connections in the country. You will, therefore, 
send me none but natives. J must insist that, in making this choice, you give no 
intimation of my preference of natives, as I do not want to create any invidious 
distinction between them and the foreigners." 

A few days before making this requisition, Washmgton wrote as follows to the 
captain-commandant of his Guard — Caleb Gibbs : — 

" MoBRiBTOWN, April 22, 1777. 

" Dbah Sib : I forgot befoM you left this place to desire yon to provide clothing 
for the men that are to compose my Guard — but now desire that you will apply to 
the clothier-general, and have them forwarded to this place, or headquartot-H, as 
soon as possible. 

" Provide for four sergeants, four corporals, a drum and fife, and fif^ rank and file. 
If blue and buff can be had, I should prefer that uniform, as it is the one I wear 
myself. If it can not, Mr. Mease and yon may fix upon any other, red excepted. I 
fhall get men from five feet nine to five feet ten, for the Guard ; for such sized meU) 
therefore make your clothing. Ton may get a small round hat, or a cocked one, as 
yon please. 

" In getting these clothes no mention need be made for what purpose they are in- 
tended; for though no extraordinary expense will attend it» and the Guard which is 
absolutely necessary for the security of my ba^g^age and pliers, &e., may as well be 
in uniform ; yet the report of making a uniform (or if already made, of providing 
uniform) for the Guards, creates an idea of expense which I would not wish 
should go forth. 

" That yo^r arms may also be of a piece, I herewith enclose yon an order on the 
«om'y of stores for fifty muskets. I am, dear sir, your most obe'dt, 

" Gbo. Washikotok." 

wabhington's life-guard. 259 

from Baylor^s regiment, which was called Lady Washing^ 
tan's Draff oons^-'Xmifbrm white, with blue facings, &c* 
The Life-Guard, always attached to the headquarters, was 
admired as well for its superior appearance a^ for its high 
state of discipline ; it being considered, in the olden time, 
a matter of distinction to serve in the Guard of the com- 

* Lic^tenaTl^CoIonel Baylor's corps was one of the finest in the army. While 
lyinpr at Old Tappan, near the Hudson, with his rei^ment, in fancied secnrity, tow. 
ard the cloae of September, 1778, he was surprised by General Grey (father of Earl 
Grey, late premier of England), of Comwallis's army, and a large number of hLi 
men were brutally bayoneted while imploring quarter. Out of one hundred and 
aixty-fonr men, sixty-seven were killed or wounded. Lieutenant-Colonel Baylor 
was taken prisoner; and seventy horses belonging to the corps were butchered. 

t After the reorganization of the Guard, in the spring of 1777, the number was 
considerably increased. In the spnng of 1778, the Baron von Steuben arrived at the 
eamp at Valley Forge, and assumed the office of inspector-general of the army. 
He selected one hundred and twenty men from the line, whom he formed into a 
special guard for the general-in-chief. He made them his military school, drilled 
them twice apday, and thus commenced that admirable system of discipline by which 
he rendered most important service to the American cause. 

Caleb Gibbs was still captain-commandant, and remained in that position until 
near the close of 1779, when he was succeeded by William Colfax, one of his three 
lieutenants, the other two being Henry P. Livingston, of New York, and Benjamin 
Grymes, of Virginia. Colfox became commandant while Washington was stationed 
at Morristown, and when the number of the corps was greater than at any other 
period daring the war. He was bom in Connecticut, in the year 1760, and at the 
age of seventeen he was commissioned as lieutenant of the continental army. He 
was in the battle at White Plains, where he was shot throrgh the body. When he 
became the leader of the general's Guard, a strong attachment was formed be- 
tween the commander-in-chief and the young subaltern. Washington often shared 
his tent and his table with him ; and he gave the young man many tokens of his 
esteem. One of these the family of General Colfiuc yet possesses. It is a silver 
stock-bnckle, set with paste brilliants. Colfax was at the surrender of Comwallis 
at Torktown, and he femained with the army until it was disbanded late in 1788. 
He then setded at Pompton, New Jersey, where he married Hester Schuyler, a 
oonsin of General Philip Schayler. In 1798, he was commissioned by Governor 
Howell, general and commander-in-chief of the militia of New Jersey. He was a 
presidential elector in 1798; and m 1810 he was commissioned a brigadier-general 
of the Jersey Bines, and was active daring the earlier period of the war of 1812. 
He was appointed a judge of the Common Pleas of Beigen county, which office he 


The Life-Guard was borrowed by favorite officers for 
several important expeditions. In the afiair of Barren 
^ Hill, in May 78,* the Life-Guard formed a part of the 
troops vmder the Marquis de Lafayette, who, recovered 
of the wound he received in the preceding campaign,f in 
'78 made his debut in arms as a general officer. The 
position at Barren hill becoming extremely hazardous, 
on account of two heavy colimans of the enemy that 
were marching to intercept the communication of the 
marquis with the main army at Valley Forge, the young 
general determined, by a gallant dash between the ad- 
vancing colinnns, to reach the ford on the Schuylkill, and 
thus secure his retreat to the main army. Here let our 
narration pause, while we pay a well-merited tribute to 
the memory and services of Allen M^Lane, to whose 
untiring vigilance in watching the stealthy approach of 
the enemy's columns toward Barren hill, and promptr 
ness in attacking them on their route, the marquis was 
mainly indebted for success in the celebrated retreat 
that shed such lustre on his first command. 

In Allen M^Lane, Ve have the recollection of a parti- 
san who, with genius to conceive, possessed a courage 
even to chivalry to execute the most daring enterprises; 

Held nntil his death, which oocarred ia 1838, when he was sevenrf-eighk yean of 
Bf!», He was then buried with military honors. 

* When ramoTB reached Washington, in his camp at Valley Foige, that the Brit- 
ish were about to dvacnate Philadelphia, he detached Lafayette, with UtUe OTer a 
thousand chosen men, and five pieces of cannon, to take position eastward of the 
Schuylkill, nearer Philadelphia, to watch their morements. He took post upon 
Barren hill, about half way between Valley Forge and Philadelphia, on the 
eighteenth of May. 

t Lafayette was severely wounded in his leg, by a musket ball, at the battld of 
Brandywine, on the eleventh of September, 1777. He tarried, during his disability, 
among the Moravians, at Bethlehem, in Fennsylvaoia. 


who ever ranked with the foremost in the esteem of the 
chie^ and was considered by the whole army as one of 
the most intrepid and distinguished* officers of the war 
of the Bevolution. 

When the retiring Americans reached the ford of the 
Schuylkill,* they hesitated in attempting the passage. La- 
fayette sprang from his horse, and rushed into the water 
waist deep, calling on his comrades to follow. Animated 
by the example of their youthful general, the soldiers 
entered the river, the taller men sustaining the shorter, 
and after a severe struggle gained the southern or friendly 
shore, having suffered but inconsiderable k>s& 

Meanwhile, the enemy were in close pursuit^ and the 
commander-in-chief, fearing for the detachment^ which 
consisted of his choicest troops, including theJLife-Guard, 
dragged his artillery to the rocky heights that com- 
manded the ford, and opened upon the enemy's advance, 
checking them so far as to enable the marquis the better 
to secure his retreat There was one feature in the 
martial spectacle of the passage of the Schuylkill of rare 
and imposing interest: it was the admired form of Wash- 
ington, at times obscured, and then beheld amid the 
smoke of the cannonade, as, attended by his generals and 
stafl^ he would waive his hat to encourage the soldiers 
in their perilous passage of the streanl. 

On the morning of the battle of Monmouth, June, '78, 
a detachment from the Life-Guard, and one from Mor- 

* Matoon's ford» a few miles below Norristown. Throa^h lack of vigilance on 
the part of tome militia, Lafayette came rerj near being sanoonded at Barren hill 
bj General Grant, with five thousand men. With perfect presence of mind, the 
Burqnis threw out small parties so Jadidonslj, that Grant, supposing he was pre- 
paring for an attack, halted his column to make similar preparations. This gare 
Iiafayette an opportunity to escape. 


gan's riflemen, led by Morgan's favorite, Captain Gabriel 
Long, made a brilliant dash at a party of the enemy 
which they surprised while washing at a brook that ran 
through an extensive meadow. Seventeen grenadiers 
were made prisoners, and borne off in the very face of 
the British light-infantry, who fired upon their daring 
assailants, and immediately commenced a hot pursuit; 
yet Long displayed such consummate ability as well as 
courage, that he brought off his party, prisoners and all, 
with only the loss of one sergeant woimded. 

Morgan was in waiting, at the out-post, to receive the 
detachment on their return, having listened, with much 
anxiety, to the heavy fire of the pursuing enemy. Charm- 
ed with the success of the enterprise, in the return of 
the troops almost unharmed, and in the prisoners taken, 
Morgan wrung the favorite captain by the hand, and paid 
his compliments to the ofiicers and men of his own corps, 
and of the Life-Guard. Then the famed Leader of the 
Woodsmen indulged himself in a stentorian laugh that 
made all ring again, at the bespattered condition of the 
ffenilemen, as he was pleased to term the Life-Guard, and 
who, in their precipitate retreat, having to pass through 
certain swamps that abound in the portion of New Jersey 
then the seat of War, presented a most soiled appearance 
for troops who might be termed the martinets of sixty 
years ago. 

It is believed that the late Colonel John Nicholas, of 
Virginia, was the last of the Life-Gnard.^ 

* This was first published in the National Intelligencer, oo the thirtieth of Jan- 
uary, 1838. One of the Life-Guard, and doubtless the very last snnriyor, lived until 
«arljr in 1856, eighteen years after the text of this chapter was published. His name 
was Uzal Knapp, and at the time of his death, was a resident of Now Windsor, 
Orange county, New York. He was a native of Stamford, Connecticut, where ha 

washinoton's uf&quard. 263 

WM bom ia October, 1758. At the age of ei^^hteen rears he enlisted in the con- 
tinental army, as a common soldier, to serve " for and daring the war ;" and he 
was continually on daty from that time until his discharge in June, 1783. His first 
actiTe service was at White Plains, in the autumn of 1776. He was with Wooster 
at Ridgefield; and was at Peekskill when Forts Clinton and Montgomery were 
stormed and taken by the British, in the autumn of 1777. He passed the following 
winter among the snows of Valley Forge, and in May he joined the light-infantry 
of La&yette, at Barren hill. He was with him in the battle of Monmoutli, in June ; 
and in the winter of 1780, when the number of the Life-Guard was augmented, he 
entered that corps at Morristown, and received from the hands of Washington the 
commission of seiigeant. At the time of his discharge, he received from the com- 
mander-in-chief the Badge of MUitary Merit, for six years' faithful service. This 
honorary badge of distinction was established by Washington, in August, 1781, and 
was conferred upon non-commissioned officers and soldiers who had served three 
years with braveiy, fidelity, and good conduct, and upon every one who should per- 
form any singularly meritorious action. The badge entitled the recipient " to pass 
and repass all guards and military posts as fully and amply as any commissioned 
officer whatever." It was the order of the American " Legion of Honor." 

After the war. Sergeant Knapp settled in New Windsor, near Newbui^h ; and 
there he lived the quiet life of a fanner until his death, which occurred on the 
eleventh of January, 1856, when he was little more than ninety-«iz years of age. 
His body was taken to Newburgh, and there lay in state for three days, in the centre 
of the reception-room in Washington's headquarters, so well preserved as the property 
of the state. On Wednesday, the sixteenth of January, attended by a civic and 
military pageant, and a vast assemblage of people, it was buried at the foot of the 
flag-staff, on the slope near that venerated building around which cluster so many 
memories of Washington and the continental army. It is a most appropriate 
borial-plaoe for the mortal remains of the veteran guardsman. 



ILi/os AVLxm^ Lsnn— Aoooinrr or SmaixwoodIb BaGiniiT nr PmLAOiLPHiA— Thboi 


Rbmasxibt MB.GimT]S— Mobaah^ Bivunmr at QuBSBo~TBxn ArpsASAiros~AsBO> 
90TB OW A Tanxbb Oaptahi —a BEinaH Adxibal Outwirbd — Fbab ov H oboait^ Bduh 
MBir— Thbib AnAOKXXBT TO THBiB Lbadbb — Thb Hi«bi.ak]> Go«nna— a Plba iob taa 

In the National Litelligencer, on the twelfth of Octo- 
ber, 1833, the editor remarked: — 

" The follomng interesting reminiscence of the days 
of trial, with a graphic description of a corps, that was 
composed of the chivalrj of Maryland, and formed the 
very iUte of the army of independence, in the memorable 
campaign of 1776, will, we are assured, be read with 
gratification by all the Americans. 

^ These details are selected fix)m among a series of 
papers, furnished by our venerable neighbor, and Revo- 
lutionary veteran. Major Adlum, to Mr. Custis, of Arling- 
ton, for the latter gentleman's work, * The Private Me- 
moirs of Washington.' 

^'^Smallwood's regiment arrived in Philadelphia about 
the middle of July, 1776, the day after the militia of 
Torktown* got there. I happened to be in Market street 
when the regiment was marching down it They turned 
up Front street^ tiU they reached the Quaker meeting* 

* Yoric, PennsylyaniA. 


house^ called the Bank meeting, where they halted for 
some time, which I presmned was owing to a delicacy on 
the part of the oflBcers, seeing they were about to be 
quartered in a place of worship. After a time, they 
moved forward to the door, where the officers halted, 
and their platoons came up, and stood with their hats ofi^ 
while the soldiers with recovered arms, marched into the 
meeting-house. The officers then retired, and sought 
quarters elsewhere. 

*^^The regiment waa then said to be eleven hundred 
strong ; and never did a finer, more dignified, and braver 
body of men, face an enemy. They were composed of 
the flower of Maryland, being young gentlemen, the sons 
of opulent planters, farmers, and mechanics. From the 
colonel to the private, all were attired in hivimg-MiB. 
I afterward saw this fine corps on their march to join 
General Washington.* 

**In the battle of Long Island,-}- Small wood's regi- 
ment^ when engaged with an enemy of overwhelmingly 
superior force, displayed a courage and discipline, that 
sheds upon its memory an imdying lustre, while it was 

* Thej joined the American army under Washington, at New York, at the cloBO 
of July, and presented a strong contrast to the irregnlarly-dressed troops fiiom New 

t British and Q«rman troops, to the namber of about thirty thousand, airired at 
Suten Island, before New York, at the close of July, 1776. Washington, with an 
army of about serenteen thousand men, mostly militia, lay intrenched in New York 
and yicinity, wuting for the expected foe. In that relatire position the two armies 
lay until the morning of the twenty-second of August, when ten thousand of tho 
enemy landed upon the west end of Long Island. Meanwhile, Washington had 
formed a fortified camp on high ground near Brooklyn, on Long Island, opposite 
New York, and in that rieinity a serere battle was fought, on the twenty-seventh of 
August, in which the British were rictorious, the Americans losing in killed, wound- 
ed, and prisoners, about sixteen hundred men. ^These were soon made to feel the 
horrible sufferings which gare the name of hdU to the prison-ships in the harbor of 
N^w York and the jails in the city. 


80 cut to pieces, that in the October following, when I 
again saw the regiment, its remains did not exceed a 
hundred men * 

^ ' Captain Edward de Courcy, Captain Herbert, a cap- 
tain, and a Doctor Stuart, of Smallwood's, were among 
the prisoners taken at Long Island, with whom I became 
acquainted, while I was a prisoner in New York. 

" ' The wreck of the once superb regiment of Small- 
wood fought in the battles of the White Plains and the 
subsequent actions in the Jerseys, and in the memorable 
campaign of 1776, terminating with the battle of Prince- 
ton, January, 1777, where the remains of the regiment, 
reduced to little more than a company, were commanded 
by Captain, afterward Governor Stone of Maryland.' '' 

To the above communication Mr. Custis added the fol- 
lowing remarks : — 

The hunting-shirt, the emblem of the Revolution, is 
banished from the national military, but still lingers 
among the hunters and pioneers of the Far West This 
national costume, properly so called, was adopted in the 
outset of the Bevolution, and was recommended by 
Washington to his army,f in the most eventful period of 

* In a severe conflict between the dirisionB of Lord Stirling, of the repablican 
Armjr, and Lord Oomwallia, of the British army, Smallwood's regiment lo^k two 
hundred and fiffy-nine of its members. 

t Washington was an earljr advocate for the hnnting-shirt, in imitation of the In- 
dian cosiame. While on the march for Fort dn Qnesne, in July 1756, ha wrote 
to Colonel Boqnet, saying : ** Mj men are very bare of regimental clothing, and I 
have no prospect of a snpplj. So far from regretting this want daring the present 
campaign, if I were left to pvrsoe my own inclination, I would not only order the 
men to adopt the Indian dress, but cause the officers to do it also, and be the first to 
set the example myself. Nothing bnt the nncertainty of obtaining the general ap- 
probation causes me to hesitate a moment to leave my regimentals at this place [camp 
near Fort CumberUuid]^ and proceed as light as any Indian in the woods. It is an 
unbecoming dress, I own, for an officer; but convenience, rather than thow, should 


the War for Independence. It was a favorite garb with 
many of the officers of the Ime, particularly by the gal- 
lant Colonel Josiah Parker. 

When Morgan's riflemen, made prisoners at the a&- 
sanlt on Quebec, in 1775,* were returning to the South to 
be exchanged, the British garrisons on the route beheld 
with wonder these sons of the mountain and the forest 
Their hardy looks, their tall athletic forms, their march- 
ing always in Indian file, with the light and noiseless 
step peculiar to their pursuit of woodland game j but> 
above all, to European eyes, their singular and pictiuresque 
costume, the hunting-shirt, with its j&inges, the wampum 
belts, leggins, and moccasins, richly worked with the In- 
dian ornaments of beads and porcupine quills of brilliant 
and varied dyes, the tomahawk and knife ; these, with 
the well known death-dealing aim of those matchless 
marksmen, created in the European military a degree of 

be consulted. The reduction of bat-horaei alone woald be sufficient to recommend 
it, for nothing is more certain than that less baggage would be required, and the 
public benefited in proportion." 

Boquet, like a sensible man, gave a sympathetic response to Washington's sug- 
gestions, but the remainder of the regular officers opposed it. Washington tried the 
experiment, and it was eminently successful. He equipped two companies in that 
way and sent them to headquarters. The weather was then extremely hot, and the 
light costume pleased all wearers. Colonel Boquet wrote to Washington : " The 
dress takes veiy well here, and, thank God, we see nothing but shirts and blankets.'' 
Such was the origin of the hunting-shirt, or costume of the Americasi riflemen. 

• Moigan, at the head of a rifle corps, accompanied General Arnold in the expe- 
dition across the country from the Atlantic to the St Lawrence, in the autumn of 
1775. That expedition, emerging from the wilderness, appeared at Point Jjtri, op- 
posite Quebec, in the midst of fklling snow, in November. The apparition startled 
the Quebec people, and by the mistake of a single word, their fears were greatly in- 
eressed. Moigan's men had the linen hunting-shirt over their thick dothing, and 
tiioee who first saw them, reported that they were i^ en toile — clothed in lioea 
clothes. The word toile was mistaken for ioUf iron plate, and the news spread that 
they were clad in sheet iron J In the siege that afterward followed, Morgan and his 
brave men were made prisoners by the British. 


awe and respect for the hunting-shirty which lasted with 
the War of the Revolution * 

That the fame of the prowess of American woodsmen 
had not been effaced by time, let me instance the ^ruse 
de ffuetre" most happily played off by a Yankee captain 
upon a British admiral during the last war, 

A Captain G had been taken by one of the vessels 

composing the Chesapeake squadron,f and waa carried on 
board the admiral's ship, who, after civilly treating his 

prisoner, one day observed, " Pray, Captain G ^ if I 

should determine to make a reconnoissance up the Poto- 
mac, toward your seat of government, how many rifle- 
men may I expect to find on the banks of the river, as 
my pilots tell me the channel-way in some places runs 
very near the land ? I do not mean your regulars, but 
those hunting-shirt fellows, from the woods, who can hit 
any button on my coat, when they are in the humor of 
sharp-shooting." Here the Yankee, being wide awake to 
the importance of the question, as regarding his country's 
interests, went right to windward of the admiral at once. 
He looked grave, and began to reckon deliberately on 
his fingers ; after a time, he replied, with perfect compo- 
sure, **Why, I guess somewhere about ten or eleven 
thousand, sir." The Briton, in his turn, looked grave, 

• General Gates bore testimoDy to the hct, that Moigan's oorpe inepired tfw 
British with fear. Waehiiiffton had sent that fine corps to aasiet Gates Id opposing 
fiorgoyne. After the battle near Stillwater, on the nineteenth of September, 1777, 
he wrote to G«tes to send them back again if he eonld posstUy spare them Gatse 
receired the letter Jnst before the dedsive engagement of the seventh of October, aad 
in reply, after suting that he conid not then part with any of his troops, he remarind*. 
'* In this situation yonr excellency would not wish me to part with the corpg the mnmy 
of General Burgoyne ate most aihud of/' 

t Under Admiral Cockbnm, who engaged in an amphihtons marauding waxfiva 
on die shores of that bay. 


and turning to his officers^ observed, ^ I believe we will 
not go up at this time/' 

Not a long rifle, that is, such as a hunting-shirt would 
use (for a genuine Tomahawk would not pick up in the 
street a short, or jager piece), was at the time within a 
hundred miles of the Potomac, and the Yankee well 
knew it; but finding that he had an opportunity of pro- 
tecting an important portion of his country by hoaxing 
a British admiral, he thought that the end justified the 
means, as to take advantage is the true morality of war. 
The Yankee so played his part, and famously too. 

General Morgan frequently observed, ^ The very sight 
of my riflemen was always enough for a Hessian piquet. 
They would scamper into their lines as if tlie d — ^1 drove 
them, shouting in all the English they knew, ' Rebel in 
de bush ! rebel in de bush T "* 

The famed corps of Morgan was raised in the Shenan- 
doah valley and the mountains circumjacent The drum 
and fife, and even the sergeant^s hard doUars on the drum- 
head, would not have enlisted a man of this corps. It 
was like the devotion of a Highland clan to its chief. 
Morgan was the chief — Morgan, with whom those hardy 
fellows had wrestled and fought, and kicked up all sorts 

* In the antamn of 1775, the British minUtrf oonclnded a bazgain with some of 
the petty Gennan prinoet for the use of Berenteeii thousand troops in America. The 
landgrare of Hesse Cassel, having famished the mo^t considerable portion of these 
meroenaries, ail that came orer in the sprinf^ of 1776, were called by the general 
name of Jgesswar. liaajr of them ignorant^ bmtal, and blood-thhwty, were hated 
by die patriots, and despised erea by the regular English army. They were always 
employed at posts of grsatest danger, or in expeditions least creditable. These 
tvoops cost the British gorennment eight hnndred thoosand dollars, besides the neces- 
rity, according to the contract, of defending the little principalities thos stripped, 
against their foes. A laige portion of them were pressed into the service, and drag- 
ged away from their families ; and great numbers of them deserted before the close oC 
the war. 


of a dust for a long time. When Morgan cried, with his 
martial inspiration, ^ Come, boys, who's for the camp be- 
fore Cambridge," the mountaineers turned out to a man. 
Short was their "note of preparation." The blanket 
buckled to their backs, their baggage, a supply of food 
in their pouches, scanty as an Aborigine would take for 
a long march, their commissariat — they grasped their 
rifles, and strode away to the North, a band of young 
giants, for the combats of liberty. 

The Americans may be said at this time to have no 
national costume — all borrowed from abroad. They 
" order things" better in Scotland. There the Gael ad- 
heres to the martial habiliments of his ancestors, proud 
of their renowned recollections, and jealous of the pecu- 
liar colors of his tartan. Amid the cruel persecutions of 
Forty-five,* was the proscription of the Highland costume ; 
which is, in truth, the only relic of the ancient Roman 
dress. What British ministry would proscribe it now. 
They hail with joy the philebeg and hose, whose war- 
riors have covered their arms with glory in every quarter 
of the world. From the time that the old Highland 
watch, the renowned " Fortie-twa,"f first embarked for 

* This has reference to the action of the British gOTernment after the rising of 
the Scotch in 1745, in hror of Charles JBdward, grandson of James 11. of England, 
who claimed a right to the British throne. They were pat down in 1746, and many 
saifered pnnishmeats. 

t The celebrated forty-second regiment of the British inikntry, known as the Royal 
Highlanders. It was organized in BCay, 1740. It was embodied in Perthshire, Soot- 
land, in 1730, as a local corps, and was widely known as the " Black Watch," the 
privates eren, being gentlemen by birth and fortune. It was first called the forty- 
third regiment, and was then numbered as the forty-second in 1749. It was made 
"royal" in 1758, by Geoige II., as a testimony of his approbation of the "extnk 
ordinary courage and exemplary conduct of the Highland regiment." 

This gallant corps hat been abroad on actiTC senrice more than sixty-lbur yesM, 
and in England and Ireland thirty-five — only thirteen years being spent in ScoC- 


foreign service, down to the present hour, in every action 
where they have been engaged, in every quarter of the 
world, the friend and the foeman have alike awarded 
glory to the kilts. But suppose, for a moment, yielding 
to the ^ march of intellect," you disrobe Donald of his 
trews, and fit him with *^braw breeks," in their stead — 
adieu, then, adieu to the magic influence of the soul- 
stirring pipes ; no longer will the awful cry of Claymore 
drive him .headlong into the ranks of the foe ; and soon, 

land. It has served in twentj-nine expeditions and campaigns, and has been en- 
gaged in more than fifty battles, sieges, and skirmishes. The following is a list of 
the principal campaigns and actions of note in which it has distingaished itself: — 

At the bloody battle of Fontenoy, in 1745 ; the descent on the coast of France and 
the siege of L'Orient, in 1746 ; the raising of the siege of Halse, and the campaign 
in Sonth Beveland, in 1747 ; the attack on Ticonderoga, in 1758 ; that on Martiniqae 
and the capture of Gnadaloupe ; the expedition to Lakes Greorge and Cham plain, 
under General Amherst, including the surrender by the French of Crown Point and 
Ticonderoga, in 1759 ; the surrender of Montreal, in 1760 ; the capture of Martinique* 
siege of the Moro castle and capture of Havana, in 1762; the campaigns against 
the North American Indians in 1763, 1764, and 1765. 

Daring our War for Independence the forty-second was present at the battles of 
Brooklyn and Xrong Island, and the capture of Fort Washington, in 1776 ; Brandy- 
wine and Germantown, 1777; Monmouth, 1778; Elizabethtown, 1779; siege of 
Charleston, 1780, and many minor affairs. 

During the war of the first French Revolution, the forty-second was engaged in 
the battles of Nienport, 1793 ; Gildermaison, 1795; the capture of St. Lucia and St. 
Vincent, 1796, and Minorca, 1798. In Egypt, it was present in the several actions 
under Abercrombie, and gained the red-feather as a particular mark of distinction for 
its gallantry there. The regiment was also in Moore's campaign in Portugal and 
Spain, the disastrous retreat to Corunna and the fierce fight there, in 1808-9. It 
was in the unfortunate Walcheren expedition; fought in •the battle of Salamanca; 
was at the siege of and retreat from Burgos, and in the battles in and near the Py- 
renees — Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, and finally at Thonlouse — which terminated Wel- 
lington's campaigns in Spain and the occupation of that country by the French 
armies. The regiment was in the bloody battle of Qnatre Bras, and distinguished 
itself a few days after in the awful struggle at Waterloo. Since then they have 
maintained thehr well-earned reputation in the Crimea and in India. 

The forty-second ia one of the oldest of all the Scotch regiments now in the British 
army; the others are the seventy-first, seventy-second, seventy-third, seventy-fourth, 
aeventy-fifih, seventy-sixth, seventy-eighth, ninety-first, ninety-second, and ninety. 

272 BEComacnoNS op Washington. 

very soon, would there be a faxewell to the glories of the 

And should not Americans feel proud of the garb, and 
hail it as national, in which their fathers endured such 
toil and privation, in the mighty struggle for Independ- 
ence, which is associated with so many and imposing 
events of the days of trial — the march across the frozen 
wilderness, the assault on Quebec,* the triumphs of Sap- 
atogaf and the Kong's mountain ?J But a little while, 
and of a truth, the himting-shirt^ the venerable emblem 
of the Revolution, will have disappeared from among the 
Americans, and only to be found in museums, like anci^it 
armor, exposed to the gaze of the curioua 

^ Arnold's expedition in the antamn of 1775, and the siege of Quebec, where 
thejr were made prisoners. See pa^ 267. 

t When General Bnigoyne, with a laiige invading army that had penetrated from 
Canada, was obliged to sorrender to the republicans, under General- Gates. 

I Early in the antnmn of 1780, Comwallis, ^ho held South Carolina in subjee* 
lion, resoWed to invade the North State. As a part of his plan, he sent Major 
Patrick Fei^gnson to embody the tories among the mountains, west of the Broad 
river. Early in October he crossed that stream with a considerable force, and en- 
camped among the hills of King's mountain. There he was attacked on the seventh 
by several corps of whig militia. A bloody contest ensned, and the republicans 
were victorious. Ferguson was slain, and three hundred of his men were killed and 
wounded. Eight hundred of them were made prisoners. There were many hantiii|^ 
shirts in the republican ranks on that day. 



Washington's headquarters. 


TA0B— BAKQinrrxKe akd Slxbputo Maxqvsu— Washxnotoh wiTHnr TmM—TnBMAKiB 
or rmt MABQim— Tm Lifk-Gvabs — Ootxbnob Trumbull — Puthajc stabtxko fob 
«n Camp — WASHnreroH's Appbal fob Amotakcb— Bcenb n Gotxbvob Tbumbull*! 
pBasxMox— Tub Ootxbnob^ Patbxotxbm— Suppubb PxoMnzD— Jot ob thbib Abbitai. 
— Tbumbull'K two Sons — Oaptain Molit and tiib CoMMANDBB-iN-ooxBr — Old Sol- 


Many of the establishments that constituted the head- 
quarters during the Revolution yet remain for the vene- 
ration of the Americans * At Cambridge,f Morristown, J 

* This chapter was first published in the National Intdligencer, on the twenty-third 
of Febraarr, 1843. 

t Washing^n's residence daring the time a portion of the American army occu- 
pied Cambridge, near Boston, ftom the spring of 1775 until that of 1776, is yet 
standing, and is well preserved. It was known as the Cra^ Houte, and has been 
for many years the property and residence of Professor Henry Wadsworth Long- 
fellow, the poet. It is a spacious building, standing at the upperof two terraces, 
which are ascended by five stone steps. At each firont of the house is a lofty elm, 
mere saplings when Washington was there. Everything within is sacredly pre- 
served in its ancient style, for the hand of the iconoclast. Improvement, has not beeu 
allowed to strike a single blow there. 

X The house in which Washington resided at Morristown is well preserved. It is 
about a quarter of a mile eastward of the village green. Washington first occupied 
it in the winter of 1777, after his brilliant achievements at Trenton and Princeton. 
He was again there during the winter of 1779-'80. During the war it was the resi- 
dence of Widow Ford, mother of the late Judge Gabriel Pord, who lived there until 
his death, which occurred a few years ago. It, too, is quite a spacious mansion, 
pleasantly situated near the highway. There in the autumn of 1848, while Judge 
Ford was yet living, I passed a night, and slept in the room occupied by General 
Washington and his lady. The carpet and some of the ftimiture were the same 
that belonged to the room when that illustrious couple occupied it. 



Newburgh,* New Wmdsor,f West Point^J and other 
places, title buildings are still preserved} but of the 

* The headquarters at Newburgh presents a point of great attraction to toarists 
on the Hndson daring the summer season. It is a rather small, old-fashioned Dutch 
house, fronting the rirer, and now belongs to the state of New York, it baring come 
into its possession hj foreclosure of a mortgage. It is in chaifre of the public author- 
ities at Newburgh, and has been thoroughly repaired, care having been taken to 
preserve the ancient form of every part that was renewed. It was dedicated to the 
public service with appropriate ceremonies, on the fourth of July, 1850, when Major- 
General Winlield Scott, who was present, hoisted the American flag upon a lofty 
staff that had just been erected near. At the foot of that flag-staff, as we have 
already observed, the last survivor of Washington's Life-Guard lies buried. 

The front door of this mansion opens into a large square room, which was used 
by Washington fur his public audiences, and as a dining hall. It is remarkable as 
having seven doors, and only one window. In the December nnmber of the New 
York Mirror for 1834, is an interesting account of this old building, by Gulian C. 
Verplanck, Esq. He relates the following anecdote connected with this room, 
which he received from Colonel Nicholas Fish, father of the late governor of the 
slate of New Tork. Just before Lafayette's death, himself and the American minis- 
ter, with several of his countrymen, were invited to dine at the house of the dis- 
tinguished Frenchman, Marbois, who was the French secretary of legation here dur- 
ing the Revolution. At the supper hour the company were shown into a room which 
contrasted quite oddly with the Parisian elegance of the other apartments where they 
had spent the evening. A low boarded, painted ceiling, with large beams, a single 
small, uncurtained window, with numerous small doors, as well as the general style 
of the whole, gave, at first, the idea of the kitchen, or largest room of a Dutch or 
Belgian farm-house. On a long rough table was a repast, just as little in keeping 
with the refined kitchens of Paris as the room was with its architecture. It consisted 
of a large dish of meat, uncouth-looking pastry, and wine in decanters and bottles, 
accompanied by glasses and silver mugs, such as indicated other habits and tastes 
than those of modern Paris. " Do you know where we now are V said the host to 
Lafayette and bis companions. They paused for a few minutes in surprise. They 
had seen something like this before, bat when and where ? " Ah I the seven doors 
and one window," said Lafayette, " and the silver camp-goblets, such as the mar- 
shals of France used in my youth 1 We are at Washington's headquarters on the 
Hudson, fifty years ago !" 

t Washington lived in a plain Dutch house at New Windsor, which has long 
since passed away. He occupied it first on the twenty-third of June, 1779, and 
again toward the close of 1780, where he remained until the summer of 1781. In 
that humble tenement, Mrs. Washington entertained the most distinguished officers 
and their ladies, as well as the most obscure, who sought her friendship. New 
Windsor village is about two miles below Newburgh. 

X Washington never remained at West Point long at a time, and, properly 
speaking, he had no headquarters there. At this time not a single building of any 

washikgton's headquarters. 275 

Valley Forge it is doubtful whether there exists at this 
time any remams of the headquarters so memorable in 
the history of the days of trial.''' 

If the headquarters at Morristown were bleak and 
gloomy, from being located in a mountainous region, and 
occupied in the depth of winter,f the soldier was cheered 
amid his privations by the proud and happy remembrance 
of his triumphs at the close of the campaign of 1776.t 

kind remains that was standing on or near the Point daring the Rerolation. 
There maj bo seen the.monnds of Fort Clinton, and upon the monntain, westward, 
five hundred feet abore the plateaa on which the Military Academy now stands, 
may be seen the grey mins of Fort Putnam, finely reliered by surrounding ever- 
greens. Nearly opposite West Point, on the eastern shore of the Hudson, is the 
well-preserred mansion of Beverly Robinson, where Arnold had his quarters, and 
from which he fied for refuge on board the British sloop-of-war VvJture, 

* The Potts House, the residence of Washington at Valley Forge, is well-pre- 
served. It is at the month of the valley, near the banks of the Schuylkill. It is a 
substantial stone building. The main portion was erected by Isaac Potts (who had 
ironworks there), in 1770. A wing, used as a kitchen, is on the site of the log ad- 
dition to which Mrs. Washington thus alluded in a letter to Mrs Mercy Warren, 
written in the spring of 1778 : " The general's apartment is very small ; he has had a 
log cabin built to dine in, which has made our quarters much more tolerable than 
they were at first." When I visited the house, a few years ago, I was shown a cavity 
in the deep east window, formed with a lid, in which the commander-in-chief kept 
his papers while he resided there. Mr. Potts, the Quaker who owned the house 
when Washington occupied it, relates that one day while the Americans were 
encamped at Valley Foige, he strolled np the creek, and when not far from his dam, 
heard a solemn voice. He walked quietly in the direction of it, and saw Washings 
ton's horse tied to a sapling. In a thicket near by was the beloved chief upon his 
knees in prayer, his cheeks suffused with tears. Like Moses at the bush, Isaac felt 
that he was upon holy ground, and withdrew unobserved. He was much agitated, 
and, on entering the room where his wife was, he burst into tears. On her inquiring 
the cause, he informed her of what he had seen, and added, " If there is any one on 
this earth whom the Lord will listen to, it is George Washington ; and I feel a pre- 
sentiment that under such a commander there can be no doubt of our eventually 
establishing our independence, and that God in his providence hath willed it so." 

i Morristown is in the hill-country of East Jersey, and was considered a most 
secure and eligible place for a winter encampment ; not easily accessible by the 
enemy, and surrounded by a fertile coantry. 

I The brilliant achierements at Trenton and Princeton, which led to the speedy 
ezpnbion of the British from Ne# Jersey, except at Brunswick and Amboy. 


Not such were the associations that attended the head- 
quarters at Valley Forge, at the close of the campaign 
of 1777. The American army, defeated in two hard- 
fought general engagements,* beheld its enemy comfort- 
ably housed in Philadelphia, while it was compelled at 
an inclement season to retire to a forest, there to erect 
huts for shelter, and where it afterwards endured the 
greatest extremities of human suffering.f But Wash- 

* Brandywine and Germantown. 

t The courage of the battle-field dwindles almost into insigniflcanoe when com- 
pared with that sublime heroism displayed by the American soldieiy at Valley 
Poige, in the midst of frost and snow, disease and destitation. They had marched 
and countermarched, day and night, in endeavoring to baffle the designs of a power* 
fal enemy to their country and its liberties ; now they were called apon, in the midst 
of comparatiTO inaction, to war with enemies more instdioas, implacable, and per- 
sonal. Hanger and nakedness assailed that dreary winter-camp, with all their pro- 
geny of disease and woe. Thither, as we have seen, the soldiers came with naked 
and bleeding feet; and there they sat down where destitution held court, and 
ruled with an icy sceptre. The prevalence of toryism in the vicinity, the avaricious 
peculations of some unprincipled commissioners, the tardy movements of Congress 
in supplying provisions, and the dose proximity of a powerful enemy, combined to 
moke the procurement of provisions absolutely impracticable without resort to force. 
But few horses were in the camp ; and such was the deficiency, in this respect, for 
the ordinary, as well as extraordinary occasions of the army, that the men, in many 
instances, cheerfully yoked themselves to vehicles of their own construction, for 
carrying wood and provisions when procured ; while others performed the duty of 
pack-horses, and carried heavy burdens of fuel upon their backs. — - Lomng/'M Ftdd" 
Book of the Bevolution, ii. 129. 

On the sixteenth of February, 1778, Washington wrote to Governor Clinton, 
" For some days past there has been little less than a famine in the camp. A part 
of the army has been a week without any kind of flesh, and the rest three or four 
days. Naked and starving as they are, we can not enough admire the incomparable 
patience and fidelity of the soldiery, that they have not been, ere this, excited by 
their sufferings to a general mutiny and desertion." — " The situation of the camp 
is such," wrote General Vamum to General Greene, on the twelfth of February, 
" that in all human probability the army must dissolve. Blany of the troops are 
destitute of meat, and are several days in arrears. The horses are dying for want 
of forage. The country in the vicinity of the camp is exhausted. There can not 
be a moral certainty of bettering our condition while we remain here. What con- 
sequences have we rationally to expect?"— "It was with great difficulty," says 
Doctor Thacher, " that men enough could be found in a condition fit to dischaige 

Washington's headquarters, 277 

itigton was in the midst of his faithful companions in 
arms, ever employed in limiting their privations, in alle- 
viating their miseries, and holding up to them the hopes 
of better fortunes. And oft in the rude wintry night, 
when the tempest howled among the hovels, and the 
shivering sentry paced his lonely round, would his eye 
be attracted to the taper that burned in the headquar- 
ters, where the man of mighty labors, watching while 
others slept, toiled in the cause of unborn millions. 

At the headquarters of the Valley Forge occurred 
some of thfe most memorable incidents of the war for Inde- 
pendence. It was there the general received the appal- 
ling intelligence that not another ration was in store to 
issue to his troops. It was there that he was forced, by 
a stem and painful necessity, to use the high powers 
vested in him by Congf ess, to seize upon provisions for 
the relief of his starving soldiers.* It was there, while 
struggling with dangers and difficulties, while borne 
down with the cares and sorrows of his country's cause, 
that Washington was informed of the cabalf then agitar 

the military camp daties from day to daj ; and for this purpose, those who were 
naked borrowed of those who had clothes." UnproTided with materials to raise 
their beds from the ground, the dampness occasioned sickness and death. ** The 
army, indeed, was not without consolation," says Thacher, " for his excellency, the 
commander-in-chief,, whom every soldier renerates and loves, manifested a fatherly 
, oonoem and fellow-feelings, and made every exertion in his power to remedy the 
evil, and to administer the mnch-desired relief." 

* The Congress, by resolation, anthorized Washington to seize grain, forage, 
and other supplies, for the ose of the army, within an area of seventy miles around 
his camp, the whole to be paid for. The tories were so abundant in Pennsylvania 
at that time, that this measure appeared necessary, for they would not sell provisions 
for the "rebel" camp. In February, Washington reluctantly used his power, by 
compelling the fiurmers to thrash out their grain. He condemned the system ; and in 
a letter to the board of war, he said, " Supplies of provisions and dotfaing must be 
had in another way, or the army can not exist." 

t This is known in history as Conway'M Cabal, a French officer of Irish birth. 


ting in Congress and the anny, for the removal of the 

But^ with all these glooms, there were glories too, that 
shed their lustre upon the headquarters at Valley Forge. 
There was first proclaimed to the army the grateful 
tidings of the alliance with France ;* and it waa from 

named Thomas Conway, then holding the commission of a brigadier in the Ameri- 
can army, being one of the chief actors in the matter. Generals Gkites and Mifflin 
of the army, and James Lovell and other New England delegates in Congress^ 
were associated with Conway in the affur. The design of the conapiratorB (if 
blnndering and not thoroughly collading schemers may be called conspirators), was 
to deprive Washington of the chief command of the American armies, and giye it to 
General Gates, or General Lee. Both of these officers had, from the beginning of 
the war, aspired to that honor, and Gates was fully identified with the movement to 
displace Washington. Conway appears to have been more the instrument of others 
than a voluntary and independent plotter. The whole nefarious plan was dis« 
covered, and recoiled with fearful force upon the conspirators. Washington acted 
with great judgment and forbearance throughout, having an eye single to the public 
good. " My enemies," he said, " take an ungenerous advantage of me. They 
know the delicacy of my situation, and that motives of policy deprive me of the 
defence I might otherwise make against their insidious attacks. They know I can 
not combat their insinuations, however injurious, without disclosing secrets which it 
is of the utmost moment to conceal." 

* Early in the struggle, the colonists sent commissioners to Europe to solicit the 
aid and friendship of the continental powers. The French government evinced 
much sympathy for the Americans, extended some aid secretly, and promised more ; 
but, until the capture of Bnrgoyne, when the Americans showed how able they were 
to help themselves, none of the European powers ventured to fly in the face of Eng- 
land, by openly aiding the revolted colonists. When that event became known, 
the aspect of American affairs wore a brighter hue abroad; and on the sixth of 
Fobruary, 1778, two treaties, one of Alliance, and the other of Amity and Commerce, 
were concluded and signed by the representatives of France and the United States. 
Intelligence of this joyful event reached Washington at Valley Foiige, at midnight, 
on the third of May, and the sixth was set apart for a grand military yete and jubilee 
by the army. The day was fine, and the roar of artillery and shouts of the soldiery 
attested their great joy. Washington and his general officers, with their ladies, 
attended the religious services of the New Jersey brigade, and then repaired to head- 
quarters and partook of a collation provided by the commandeMn-chief. The enter- 
tainment was concluded with patriotic toasts. When the chief and his snite with- 
drew for a tour of inspection, there was a universal shout, " Long Uve General 
WathingUm ! '* This con tinned until they had proceeded some distance, when the 

Washington's headquarters. 27£ 

that scene of so many trials and sufferings that, on the 
return of the genial season, the modem Fabius marched 
again to grapple with his formidable and well-appointed 
foe, and to wrest from him, after a most gallant and 
hard-fought conflict, a glorious victory on the plains of 

The headquarters were under canvass during the siege 
and after the sm'render of Yorktown. The marquees of 
the commandeivin-chief welre pitched in the rear of the 
grand battery, just out of the range of the enemy's 
8hells.f There were two marquees attached to the 
headquarters during all the campaigns The larger, or 
banqueting tent, would contain from forty to fifty per- 
sons ; the smaller, or sleeping tent, had an inner-cham- 
ber, where, on a hard cot-bed, the chief reposed. There 
are most interesting reminiscences attached to the sleep- 
ing tent. The headquarters, even during the summer 
season, were located, in a great majority of instances, in 
private dwellings, the sleeping tent bemg pitched in the 
yard, or very near at hand. Within its venerable folds, 
Washington was in the habit of seeking privacy and 
seclusion, where he could commune with himself, and 
where he wrote the most memorable of his despatches in 
the Revolutionary war. He would remain in the retire- 

genend and his party tarned and hazzaed sereral times, while a thousand hats were 
tossed in the air. 

* See chapter on battle of Monmoath. 

t The late Doctor Eneas Manson, of New Haven, who was then attached to the 
medical staff of the American army, informed me that while yigorous assaults upon 
two or three English ledoabts were in progress, Washington left his marquee, and 
with Lincoln, Knox, and one or two other oflScers, disengaged at the time, stood 
within the grand battery, watching every movement through the embrasures. When 
the last redoubt was captured, Washington turned to Knox, and said, " The work 
is done, and tceil done ;" and then called to his servant, " Billy, hand me my horse." 


ment of the sleeping tent sometimes for hours, giving 
orders to the officer of his guard that he should on no 
account be disturbed^ save on the arrival of an important 
express. The objects of his seclusion being accomplished, 
the chief would appear at the canvass door of the mai^ 
quee^ with despatches in his hand, giving which to his 
secretary to copy and transmit, he would either mount 
his charger for a tour of inspection^ or return to the 
headquarters and enjoy social converse with his officers. 

The marquees were made in Third street, Philadel- 
phia, under the direction of Captain Moulder, of the 
artillery,* and were first pitched on the heights of Dor- 
chester, in March, 1776.f 

The Life-Guard was attached to the headquarters from 
the time of its formation till the end of the war. This 
chosen corps of picked men, with Gibbs and Colfax, and 
their gallant officers, was always in the finest order, 
proud of its being attached to the person of the chief, 
and appearing smart and soldierly, even in the worst 

In our memoirs of the Pater PatriaB, we shall continue 

* Captain Moulder commanded the American artillery in the battle at Princeton, 
on tlie third of January, 1777. 

t Washington took command of the army before Boston, on the third of Jalj, 
1775, and, with the aid of Greneral Gates, who was the adjatant-general, prepared 
the troops for a reg;iilar siege of the city. It was resoWed to capture or expel the 
invaders, and for this purpose, a line of fortifications was built, extending fh>m 
Charlestown Neck, near Bunker Hill, to Roxbury. For sereral months the Ameri« 
cans hemmed in the British army upon the little peninsula on which Boston stands. 
Finally, early in March, 1776, the republicans, under cover of night, proceeded to 
Dorchester heights with every precaution, and before morning constructed such for- 
midable military works there, that the British commander was alarmed for the safety 
of his troops and shipping. The occupation of this eligible position led to a speedy 
evacuation of Boston by the inraders, and the recovery of that important positioa 
by the Americans. 

Washington's headquarters, 281 

to introduce some mention of the distinguished patriots, 
statesmen, and soldiers, who enjoyed his intimacy and 
were dear to his affections. High on this honored list 
appears, in bold relief, the name of Jonathan Trumbull, 
the patriotic governor of Connecticut during the whole 
of the Revolution. He was, indeed, well fitted for the 
times in which he flourished, and such an one as revolu- 
tion alone seems capable of producing. Wise to con- 
ceive, and energetic to execute, his prudence equalled 
his courage in the conspicuous part he was destined to 
bear in those momentous concerns that eventuated in the 
independence of his country ; yet did he " bear his high 
offices so meekly," that he was as deservedly beloved for 
the mildness of his private virtues as he was admired for 
the stem unyielding integrity with which he discharged 
his public duties. It is enough for his fame, or his epi- 
taph, that he was a man after Washington's own heart'*' 

* Jonathan Trambnll was born at Lebanon, Connecticnt, on the ninteenthof Jnne, 
1710. He was graduated at Harvard college in 1727, and commenced the stndy of 
theology with the Reverend Solomon Williams, of Lebanon. The death of an elder 
brother, who was engaged in mercantile business with his father, at Lebanon, 
caused him to become a merchant instead of a clergyman. At the age of twenty- 
three he was elected a member of the Connecticut assembly, where his business capa- 
cities raised him rapidly in public estimation. He was elected lieutenant-governor 
of the colony in 1766, and by virtue of that office became chief-justice of the superior 
court. His first bold step in opposition to Great Britain was in refusing to take the 
oath enjoined in 1768, which was an almost unconditional submission to all the power 
claimed by Parliament ; nor would be be present when others, more timorous than 
be, took it. Because of his firmness he was elected governor of the colony in 1 769, 
and he had the proud distinction of being the only colonial governor, at the com- 
mencement of the Revolution, who espoused the cause of the colonies. He was con- 
sidered the whig leader in New England while the Adamses and Hancocjc were legis- 
lating in the continental Congress; and during the whole contest no manias moro 
implicitly relied upon as a firm, consistent, and active friend of liberty, than Gov- 
ernor Trumbull. " General Washington relied on him," says Sparks, " as one of his 
main pillars of support" In 1783, when peace for the colonies returned, Governor 
Tmmbnll, then seventy-three years of age, declined a re-election to the office of gov- ^ 


When the news arrived in Connecticut of the battle 
of Lexington,* Putnam, who was ploughing in his field, 
instantly repaired to the governor for orders. "Go/' 
said Trumbull, "to the scene of action." — "But my 
clothes, governor?" — "Oh, never mind your clothes," 
continued Tnunbull, " your military experience will be 
of service to your countrymen." — "But my men^ gov- 
ernor; what shall I do about my men?" — "Oh, never 
mind your men," continued the man for the times, "I'll 
send your men after you." Putnam hurried to Cam- 

emor, which he had held foarteen consecative years. He retired from pnblie life, 
bat did not live long to enjoy, in the bosom of his family, the quiet he so much coveted. 
He was seized with a malignant fever in August, 1785, and on the serenteenth of 
that mouth died, at the age of seventy-five years. 

* When, in 1774, it became evident to the Americans that war was inevitable, un* 
less they would consent to be slaves, they began to prepare for conflict. In Massfti 
chusetts, in particular, the republican leaders labored with great zeal to place the 
province in a condition to rise in open and united rebellion, when necessity should 
demand it. Grovemor Gage, in Boston, became alarmed, and commenced fortifying 
the Keck. The exasperated people began to collect munitions of war, and soon pub- 
lic affairs were like a sleeping volcano. 

In April, 1775, Gage had three thousand British troops in Boston, ready to sup> 
port the governor in any oppressive measure which he might choose to employ. He 
felt uneasy concerning some ammunition and stores which the republicans had 
gathered at Concord, sixteen miles from Boston, and on the night of the eighteenth 
of April, he sent out a secret expedition to destroy them. Vigilant patriots gave 
the alarm, and when the ministerial troops approached Lexington, a few miles from 
Concord, in the gray of early morning, they found seventy determined men standing 
upon the green, ready to oppose them. Fitcaim, the leader of the advanced corps, 
ordered them to lay down their arms and disperse. They stood firm. The British 
fired. A skirmish ensued* &nd several of the citizens were killed and wounded. The 
British then went on to Concord, had a fight with the Americans there, and finding 
the whole country rising, retreated to Boston » with great loas. 

t Israel Putnam was bom in Salem, Massachusetts, on the seventh of January, 
1718, and at Pomfret, Connecticut, he cultivated land during many of the earlier yean 
of his lii*e. He was appointed to the command of some of the first troops raised in Con 
nectu:ut for the French and Indian war in 1755, and during the whole of that long 
contest he was distinguished for bravery, in the wilds of northern New York. He 
distinguished himself at Bunker Hill, at the head of Connecticut troops in 1775, and 

Washington's headquabtebs. * 283 

One of the most urgent appeals for assistance that 
ever emanated from the American headquarters was con- 
tained in a despatch to the governor of Connecticut It 
was dated from the camp, near the North river, in the 
latter years of the war * 

Governor Trumbull was alone in l^s room of business ; 
on the table were various letters and despatches, some 

ft few days afterward was appointed bj the continental Congress one of the four 
major-generals of the grand army. He served his conntiy faithfallj until 1779, 
when partial paralysis prostrated him. His mind preserved ita elasticity antil liia 
death, which occurred at Brooklyn, Connecticat, on the twenty-ninth of May, 1790, 
aft the age of seventy-two years. 

« This despatch was a drcalar letter, which was sent to the goveroots of each of 
the eastern states. It was dated at "New Windsor, 10th May, 1781.*' After 
staUng that General Heath had consented to visit the New England states to " repre- 
sent the present distresses of the army for want of provision," &c., Washington said, 
" From the post aft Saratoga to that of Dobb's ferry inclusive, I believe there is not 
(by the returns and report I have received) at this moment one day's supply of meat 
for the army on hand. Our whole dependence for this article is on the eastern 
states ; Uieir resources, I am persuaded, are ample. To request and urge that they 
may be drawn forth regularly, and to be inforced with precision and certainty, what 
may absolutely be depended upon through the campaign, are the objects of this ap- 

" I hare already made representations to the states of the want of provisions, the 
distress of the army, and the innumerable embarrassments we have suffered in con- 
sequence ; not merely once or twice, but have reiterated them over and over again. 
I have struggled to the utmost of my ability to keep the army together, bat it will 
be in vain without the effectual assistance of the states. I have now only to repeat 
the alternative, which has been so often urged, that supplies, particularly of beef 
cattle, must be speedily and regularly provided, or our posts can not be maintained, 
nor the army kept in the field much longer. I entreat your excellency, that this 
representation may be received in the serious light it is meant and deserves, or that 
I may stand exculpated from the dreadful consequences, Which must otherwise in- 
evitably follow in a veiy short time." 

A few days* afterward, Washington held a conference with Rochambeau, at 
Weathersfield, in Connecticut, and from that place he wrote another urgent circular 
letter. In his Diary of the twentieth of May, he wrote : '* Had a good deal of pri- 
vate conversation with Governor Trumbull, who gave it to me as his opinion, that if 
any important offensive operations should be undertaken, he had little doubt of our 
obtaining men and provisions adequate to our wants. In this opinion Colonel 
Wsdsworth and others concurred." 


just opened and others sealed for immediate transmission ; 
a cocked-hat, of the cut and fashion of the days of George 
TI., the governor's sole insignia of office, was also on the 
table, while the chief magistrate himself was busily en- 
gaged in writing. 

An aid-de-camp of the commander-in-chief was intro- 
duced, much worn and " travel stained" from the haste 
of his journey. The governor rose, and, while cordially 

welcoming Colonel ^ inquired after the health of his 

excellency, and what news from the army. The aid-de- 
camp replied that the general was well, and the news 
from the army of a very sombre character, and presented 
a letter. The letter was very short It contained an 
apology from Washington for having applied for assist- 
ance where it had been so often and so liberally rendered 
before, but continued that the situation of the army was 
critical in the extreme, the country adjacent to the camp 
being completely exhausted, as well by the enemy's as 
by his own foraging parties ; and concluded by lamenting 
that, unless supplies could be speedily obtained, he should 
be obliged to abandon his position, and fall back into the 
interior to obtain the necessary subsistence for the troops. 

The governor pondered for a moment upon the con- 
tents of the letter, then rising, and cordially grasping the 
colonel by the hand, observed, in a firm yet cheerful 
tone, "When yoji return to camp, bear with you, my 
dear sir, my love and duty to his excellency, and say to 
him that brave old Connecticut, patriotic Connecticut, is 
not quite exhausted, but for every barrel of provisions 
she has furnished to the cause of liberty, she will furnish 
another, and yet another, to the same glorious cause : say 
fiirther, that on such a day our teams may be looked for 

washinoton's headquarters. 285 

on the bank of the North river." The aid-de-camp de- 
parted rejoicmg. 

And now the patriot became ^ every inch'* the execu- 
tive officer. From his intimate acquaintance with the 
resources of his native state, he knew exactly where 
those resources were to be obtained, and their facilities 
for transportation, for with him everything was done by 
method and regularity. His orders flew in all directions. 
And his orders were obeyed. 

Meantime, the return of the aid-de-camp to head- 
quarters with intelligence of the promised supplies dit 
fused a general gladness throughout the army. When 
the expected day arrived, many an anxious eye was 
turned to the road leading from the eastward to the 
landing on the North river.* A dust is seen in the dis- 
tance, and presently are heard the cries of the teamsters, 
Urging their fine oxen, while the heavy-laden wains groan 
under their generous bmdens. A shout rings through 
the American camp, and the commander-in-chief, attend- 
ed by his officers, ride to an eminence to witness the ar- 
rival of the welcome supplies. - 

Governor Trumbull had two sons attached to the 
headquarters: John, the distinguished artist, and the 
last of the cads-de^arnpy^ and Jonathan, military secre- 

« FiBhkill landing, oppMifte Newbargh. 

t John Tramboll was born in Lebanon, Connecticnti in Jnne, 1756. He com- 
Bkenced his career as a painter at the age of eighteen yean. He had been gradu- 
ated at Harvard college the prerlons year. His first historical oompoeition, the 
BattU of CbniMs, was painted in 1774. At the breaking out of the Beyolntionary 
war he entered the army as acyntant of the first Connecticut regiment, and went to 
Bosbury, near Boston. Washington heard of his talent for drawing, and employed 
him to sketch a draught of the enemy's wprlu. His success commended the young 
painter to Washington, and in August, the commander>in-chief appointed him his 
aid-de-camp. In 1776 he was in the northern department, under Qates. The fol- 
lowing year he left the army, and resumed his profession aft Boston. He went first 


tary to the commander-in-chief at the siege of York- 

Among the great variety of persons and character that 
were to be found from time to time at and about the 
headquarters, was the famed Captain Molly, already 
mentioned in the chapter on the Battle of Monmoijts. 
After her heroic achievements at the battle of Mon- 
mouth, the heroine was always received with a cordial 
welcome at headquarters, where she was employed in 
the duties of the household. She always wore an ar- 
tilleryman's coat, with the cocked-hat and feather, the 
distinguishing costume of Proctor's artillery. One day 
the chief accosted this remarkable woman, while she was 
engaged in washing some clothes, pleasantly observing : 
" Well, Captain Molly, are you not almost tired of this 
quiet way of life, and longing to be once more on the 
field of battle?" — "Troth, your excellency," replied the 
heroine, " and ye may say that ; for I care not how soon 

to Paris,* and then to Ix>ndon, in 1780, and in the latter city placed himself under 
the instruction of Benjamin West. The political sins of his father were visited 
upon his head. On suspicion of his beint^ a secret rebel agent, he was im- 
prisoned eight months, and then banished from the kingdom, West and Copley- 
becoming his securities. He returned home in January, 1782, and formed a 
connection with the army, as aid to the chief. At the close of the war ho 
again went to England, where he pursued his profession with leal for seve- 
ral years. Finally he contemplated a series of pictures illustrative of American 
history. He arrived in New York in 1789, and was favored with sittings by Wash- 
ington and other distinguished men of the Revolution. Having collected much ma- 
terial, he again went to England, as private secretary to Mr. Jay, the American em- 
bassador. He returned to America in 1804, but did not remain long. He lived in 
England until the close of the war of 1812->'15, and then came home. He was en- 
gaged to paint four targe pictures for the rotunda of the new federal capitol. These 
pictures occupied him seven yean, and are, Signen of the Dedaration o/lndependencB^ 
the Surrender ofBurgoifne, the Surrender at Yorktoum, and Washington rengning tig 
Ctmnttsewn. He died in the dty of New York on the tenUi of November, 1848, in 
the eighty-eighth year of his age. 
« See note on page 174. 

washinoton's hrvdquarters. 287 

I have another slap at them red-coats, bad luck to them/' 
^ But what is to become of your petticoats in such an 
event, Captain Molly?' — "Oh, long life to your excel- 
lency, and never de ye mind them at all at all," continued 
this intrepid female. " Sure and it is only in the artillery 
your excellency knows that I would sarve, and divil a 
fear but the smoke of the cannon will hide my petti- 

The name and memory of headquarters expired not 
with the war of the Eevolution, but was preserved in the 
Fresidoliads of New York and Philadelphia,* where hun- 
dreds of the war-worn veterans of the days of trial re- 
paired, as they said, to headquarters, to pay their respects, 
and inquire after the health of his excellency and the 
good Lady Washington. All were made welcome and 
** kindly bid to stay ;" and while they quaflFed a generous 
glass to the health of their beloved chief) the triumphs 
of Trenton and Princeton, of Monmouth and Yorktown, 
^ were freshly remembered." 

And poor Pat> too, reverently with hat in hand, would 
approach the headquarters. *^ To be sure, he would say, 
that he well knew his excellency had no time to spare 
to the likes of him. He just called to inquire after his 
honor's health, long life to him, and the good Lady 
Washington, the poor soldier's friend." But, taking the 
steward aside, with a knowing look, would observe: 
^ Now, my darlint, if his excellency should happen to in- 

* The federal Congress held its first session, nnder the present constitution, in the 
city of New York, where Washington was inaugnrated president of the United States, 
on the thirtieth of April, 1789. The seat of goTemment was removed to Philadel- 
phia in 1790, the Congress assembling there on the first Monday in December of that 
year. That city continued to be the seat of government andl the year 1800, wlien 
the Congress assembled for the first time in the city of Washington. 


quire who it was that called, just tell him it was on^ of 
ould Mad Anthony's boys. Hurrah for Ameriky !" And 
repeating the shout that so often had lang above the 
battle's roar, the veteran would go on his way rejoicing. 
It may be, in the course of hiunan events, that upon 
the places at Morristown and the Valley Forge, where 
the soldier of liberty erected his cheerless hut, the domes 
and spires of cities may arise in the splendid progress of 
a mighty empire, but the patriotic American of that 
ftiture day, proud of the fame of the Father of his Country, 
and glorying in the recollections of America's heroic time, 
will pass by the palaces of pomp and power, to pay horn- 
age to the mouldering ruins of the heabquabtebs.* 

* There are seTeral other buildings, besides those already mentioned, yet standing, 
that were nsed as headquarters by Washington. The best presenred of Uiem ara 
located as follows : near Chad's ford on the Brandywine, and at White Marsh, four- 
teen miles from Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania ; the Hopper house, four miles south 
of the Bamapo Pass, an old mansion at Bocky Hill, where his farewell addresa 
to the army was written, in New Jersey ; at Tappan, in Bockland county, Quaker 
Hill, in Duchess county^ near White Plains, and at Dobb's ferry, in Westchester 
county; and at No. I Broadway, and Madam Jumel's mansion near Fort Wa^ 
ington, on York or Manhattan island, in the state of New York. 



Thx Ambbioait Oamp dt Nbw Jbmbt— A Niobt Sosxa — AppiASAiraa of a Bthangsr — 


Tub Qvakbb Loait— Bimcoroir FAnspirL— Solutioh op thb Mtbtbbt— Wabhibaton 
▲H9 BimroTOB— Sbobbt Ibtbbtibw — BirmoTOK'ft Mannbbs — Anomn op Sbobbt Sbb- 


It was Saturday night, the twenty-seventh of June, 
1778. when the American army, afler a toilsome march 
in a tropical heat, halted for rest and refreshment in the 
county of Monmouth, New Jersey.f The weary soldiers 
were gathered in groups, some preparing the evening 
meal, while others, exhausted by -their march, threw 
themselves on the ground to seek repose. The short 
night of June was waning, the watch-fires burned dimly, 
and silence reigned around. Not so at headquarters.^ 
There lights were seen, while the chief, seated at a table, 
wrote or dictated despatches, which were folded and 
directed by aid-de-camp and secretaries, while near at 
hand were expresses, seated like statues upon their 
drowsy horses, awaiting orders; and ever and anon an 
officer would approach them with the words, " This for 

* Published in the National Inteiligencer, on the twentj-BCCond of Febmary, 1856. 
t See note on page 211. 

X The American armj was encamped that night upon the BCanatapan creek, be* 
tween Cranberry and Engliahtown, a few miles from Monmouth ooarthonse. 



Major-General ; ride with speed and spare not the 

spur;" and in a moment the horseman would disappear 
in the surrounding gloom. Suddenly a stranger appeared 
on the scene. He wore no martial costume, neither had 
he the measured tread of the soldier ; in truth his appear- 
ance was anything but rmlitaire. On being challenged 
by the sentinel, he answered, " Doctor Griffith, chaplain 
and surgeon in the Virginia line, on business highly im- 
portant with the commander-in-chief" The cry of " Of- 
ficer of the guard !" brought forth that functionary, so 
necessary a personage in a night camp * The officer 
shook his head, and waving his hand said, ^ No, sir, no ; 
impossible ; intensely engaged ; ;my orders positive ; can*t 
be seen on any account." The reverend gentleman 
quailed not, but said to the officer who barred his pas- 
sage,^ " Present, sir, .my humble duty to his excellency, 
and say that Doctor Griffith waits upon him with secret 
and important intelligence, and craves an audience of 
only five minutes' duration." 

The high respect in which the clergy of the American 
army was held by Washington was known to every officer 
and soldier in its ranks. This, together with the impos- 
ing nature of the chaplain's visit, induced the officer of 
the guard to enter the headquarters and report the cir- 
cumstance to the general He, quickly returning, ushered 
the chaplain into the presence of the commander-in-chief. 

Washington, still with pen in hand, received his mid- 
night visiter courteously, when Griffith observed ; ^ The 
nature of the communication I am about to make to 
your excellency must be my apology for disturbing you 
at this hour of the night While I am not permitted to 

* Officer of the Liie-Gnard. 


dividge the names of the authorities from whom I have 
obtained my information, I can assure you they are of 
the very first order, v^hether in point of character or 
attachment to the cause of American independence. I 
have sought this interview to warn your excellency 
against the conduct of Major-General Lee in to-morrow's 
battle. My duty is fulfilled, and I go now to pray to the 
God of battles for success to our arms, and that he may 
always have your excellency in his holy keeping." The 
chaplain retired, the officer of the guard (by signal from 
the chief) accompanying the reverend gentleman to the 
line of the sentinels. Doctor Griffith survived the war 
and became rector of a parish in which Washington wor- 
shipped. He was elected first bishop of Virginia under 
the new regime, but was never consecrated. He sickened 
and died in Philadelphia, in 1789. He was a ripe scholar, 
a pious minister, and an ardent enthusiast in the cause of 
American independence.* 

* Bererend David Griffith was a native of the city of New York, and was edn 
cated partly there and partly in England, for the medical profession. He took 
his degrees in London, returned to America, and entered npon the dnties of his pro- 
fession in the interior of New York, abont the year 1763. Haying resolved to 
enter the ministry of the Protestant Episcopal chnrch, he went to London in the 
year 1770, and there, on the nineteenth of Angnst, was ordained by Bishop Terrick. 
He was a missionary in West Jersey for a while, and at the close of 1771, became 
rector of Shelbnme parish, in London connty, Virginia. In 1776 he entered the 
military service as chaplain to the third Virginia regiment, and continued in that 
position until some time in the year 1780, when he became rector of Christ chnrch, 
Alexandria. There he remained until his death, in 1789. During a large portion 
of that time Washington was his parishoner, and Doctor Griffith frequently visited 
Mount Vernon as a welcome guest. He was chosen bishop of Virginia in 1786, 
but such was the depressed state of the chnrch in that diocese, that funds sufficient 
to defray his expenses to London, to receive consecration, could not be raised. He 
resigned all claims to the office in May, 1789, and while attending flie general con- 
vention of the church at Philadelphia, a few weeks later, died at the house of Bishop 


When the warning became known in the army it 
created many conjectures as to the sources from whence 
the chaplain acquired his information. Nothing ever 
transpired, and the secret died, while the mystery re- 
mains to the present time * 

The conduct of General Lee in the battle of Mon% 
mouth very fairly justified the warning of the chaplain. 
It is certain that that brave and skilful commander had 
no leaning toward the enemy, but it is thought that he 
expected, by throwing things into confiision, to lessen 
the merits of Washington in the public estimation, for 
he aspired to be the commander of the army.f 

* The author of these RecoUeclions received the foregoing acoount of the warning 
giFen to Washington bj Doctor Griffith, from Colonel Nicholas, of Viiginiay who 
Mras an officer of the Life-Gnard at that time. 

t The charitj for Lee expressed by the author of these RecoUedions is not justified 
by recent revelations. Lee undoubtedly entertained treasonable designs at that 
moment. That he had held treasonable intercourse with the enemy previous to this 
time, his own handwriting bears testimony. That proof is in the form of a manu- 
script of eight foolscap pages, in Lee's own peculiar handwriting, prepared while ha 
was a prisoner in New YoriL, and dated the twenty-ninth day of March, 1777, in 
which he submits to Lord and Sir William Howe, a plan for the easy subjugation of 
the colonies. It is endorsed in the known handwriting of Lord Howe's secrotary— 
" Plan of Mr. Lee, 1777." In it Lee professed to desire a cessation of bloodshed, 
as he considered the bsue doubtful. His plan was to dissolve the system of resist- 
ance which centered in the government of Congress. He regarded that system as 
depending chiefly upon the (>eople of Pennsylvania, Mar}iand, and Virginia ; and 
his plan looked to the reduction or submission of MaryUmd, and the preventing 
Virginia from furnishing aid to the army then in New Jersey, and thus to dissolve 
the whole machinery of resistance. He proposed an expedition against New Eng- 
land, so as to keep the inhabitants there at home, and make it an easy matter to 
hold possession of New York and the Jerseys. He suggested that, simultaneously 
with this movement eastward, a considerable force should be sent up the Chesapeake 
baf, to land at and take possession of Annapolis, and march into the interior of 
Maryland as lisr as Queen Anne. Another was to be despatched up the Potomac, 
and take possession of Alexandria, when the two invading armies might form a 
junction ; while a third should ascend the Delaware and capture Philadelphia. The 
middle states would now be in subjection, and New England and the southern states 
would be too wide apart to act in efficient concert. These things acoomplished, 


The interview between Washington and Lee^ and the 
chivalric enthusiaam of Colonel Hamilton on Hiat occar 
aion, have been already described in our account of that 

Of all the mysteries that occurred in the American 
Kevolution, the employment of Rivington, editor of the 
Boyal Gazette, in the secret service of the American 
commander is the most astounding."^ 

and the system of resistance dismembered, all that woald be necessary, to insure a 
complete subjagation of the revolted states to the crown, woald be the issuing of 
proclamations of pardon to all who should desert the republican standard, and return 
to their allegiance to King George. 

With such evidence of his treason, it is easy to interpret much in the conduct of 
Lee which has puzzled the historian and the student of our history. By the light of 
this evidence we may easily explain his conduct after the fall of Fort Washington, 
in the Autumn of 1776, until his disgraceful retreat on the field of Monmouth — ^his 
tardy movements in New Jersey, when earnestly appealed to by Washington ; his 
repeated disobedience of orders; his capture by a small party of British light-horse 
in New Jersey ; his provision with a suit of rooms in the City hall. New York, 
while a prisoner, and his great intimacy with the British officers there ; his refusal 
at first to take the required oath of allegiance at VuUey Forge ; his intimations of 
the intended movements of the enemy (according to the suggestions of his plan), 
when they were about to evacuate Philadelphia ; his opposition to any attack on Sir 
Henry CUnton; and his' conduct on the field of Monmouth. The document con-, 
taming the evidences of his treason was discovered at the close of 1857, among 
■ome papers said to have been brought from Nova Scotia, and offered for sale in 
New York. I first perused it on the second of January, 1858. It soon afterward 
became the possession of Professor Greorge H. Moore, librarian of the New York 
Historical Society; and this, and other circumstantial evidences of Lee*s treason, 
were first made known to the world by that gentleman in a paper read by him before 
that society in June following. 

* James Bivington was a native of London, well educated, and of pleasing deport- 
ment. He came to America in the year 1760, and established a bookstore in Phila- 
delphia. The following year he opened one near the foot of Wall street, in New 
York, where he established a paper called the Boyal Gazetteer, in 1778.^ It was after- 
wards entitled the Boifal Gautte. He took the ministerial side In politics when the 
Bevolution broke out, and became very obnoxious to the republicans, whom he 
abused without stkit In the autumn of 1775, a company of Connecticut ligh^horBe, 
led by Captain Isaac Seaxs of New York, entered the city at noonday, proceeded to 
Rivington'a printing establishment, placed a guard with fixed bayonets around it, 
put all his types into bags, destroyed his press and other apparatus, and then in the 


The time that this remarkable coimection took place 
is of course unknown. There is much probability that it 
may have commenced as early as the closing of the 
campaign of 1776, as it is known that about that period 
Kobert Morris borrowed of a Quaker five hundred guineas 
in gold for the secret service of Washington's army, and 
that intelligence of vital and vast importance was obtained 
from the disbursement of the Quaker loan. 

The worthy Quaker said to Morris: "How can I, 
Mend Robert, who am a man of peace, lend thee money 
for the purposes of war ? Friend George is, I believe, a 
good man and fighting in a good cause ; but I am op- 
posed to fighting of any sort" Morris, however, soon 
managed to quiet old broadbrim's scruples : the gold was 
dug up from his garden and handed over to the com* 
mander-in-chief, whose application of it to the secret seiv 
vice produced the happiest effects upon the cause of the 
Revolution in that critical period of our destiny.* 

same order, cheered by the shoats of the pleased populace, and the tnne of Yankee 
Doodle, left the city. Bivington then went to England. When, the following year, 
the Britiflh took possession of New York, BiTington returned. In October, 1777, he 
was appointed "king's printer" in that city, and resumed the pnblicatioii of hit 
paper, semi-weekly. After the war, his bostness dectined, and he liFed in oompara- 
live poverty until Joly 1802, when he died, at the age of seventy-eight years. A 
portrait of Bivington, from a painting by Stuart, may be found in Lomnf§ Field- 
Book of the Revolution. 

* ** This story," says the author of these RecoUeetione, in a note, " was no mysteiy 
in Philadelphia sixty-five years ago, when the man of peace was then living, per- 
fectly vrell known and deservedly esteemed, and ei^oying the peace, liberty, and hap- 
piness which his gold had contributed to accomplish for his native land." 

Another transaction of a similar character, but on a laiger scale, is related upon 
good authority. After the capture of the Hessians at Trenton, and disposition ot 
them in Pennsylvania, Washington resolved to recross the Delaware and occupy tha 
field of his conquest. But the term of enlistment of many of his troops was about 
to expire. To retain them he offered a bounty, to be paid in specie, and he applied 
to Bobert Morris for the metal, the credit of Congress being too low at that time to 
offer it as security to the lender. Morris received the application Just at evening. 


Rivington proved faithful to his bargain, and often 
would intelligence of great ^importance, gleaned in con- 
vivial moments at Sir William's, or Sir Henry's table,* be 
in the American camp before the convivialists had slept 
oflf the effects of their wine. 

The business of the secret service was so well man- 
aged that even a suspicion never arose as to the medium 
through which intelligence of vast importance was con- 
tinually being received in the American camp from the 
very headquarters, of the British army; and, had sus- 
picion arose, the king's printer would probably have 
been the last man suspected, for during the whole of his 
connection with the secret service his Royal Gazette 
literally piled abuse of every sort upon the American 
general and the cause of America.f 

He knew aot where to apply for the money, and with a desponding spirit he left his 
connting-room late in the evening, musing upon the subject. He met a wealthy 
Quaker neighbor, and made known to him his wants. *' Robert," he said, " what 
Becarity canst thou give ?"^" My note and my honor," replied Morris. "Thou 
Shalt have it," was the quick response ; and a few hours later, Morris wrote to 
Washington : " I was up early this morning to despatch a supply of fifty thousand 
dolUn to your excellency. It gives me pleasure that you have engaged the troops 
to continue ; and, if further occasional supplies of money are necessary, yon may 
depend on my exertions, either in a public or private capacity." Thus strengthened, 
Washington turned his face toward the enemy. 

The Quakers, as advocates of peace, were opposed to the war, and were among 
the most determined loyalists throughout the Revolution. And that loyalty to the 
king was not always passive, but with glaring inconsistency with their professions, 
some of them, in Philadelphia, aided the British troops in their efforts to crush the 
rebellion, so called. To such an extent did they exert an influence against the 
patriots, that Congress thought it advisable to recommend the several states to keep 
a watch upon their movements. Several leading Quakers were banished from Phila- 
delphia in 1777 ; and in November, 1778, John Roberts and Abraham Carlisle, 
Quakers, who were found guilty of affording secret aid to the enemy, were hanged. 

« Sir William Howe and Sir Henry Clinton. 

t Never was an editor more nnscmpnlous in defaming his opponents, than Riving 
ton. He paid no regard to truth or decency, but belabored the whigs with all his 
might. He was most cordially hated by the republicans, and their writers even 


In 1783 this remarkable mystery was solved. When 
Washington entered New York a conqueror, on the eva- 
cuation by the British forces,* he said one morning to 
two of his ofl&cers : " Suppose, gentlemen, we walk down 
to Rivington's bookstore ; he is said to be a very plea^ 
ant kind of a fellow.'* Amazed, as the officers were, at 
the idea of visiting such a man, they of course prepared 
to accompany the chief. When arrived at the bookstore^ 
Rivington received his visiters with great politeness ; for 
he was indeed one of the most elegant gentlemen and 
best bred men of Hie age. Escorting the party into a 

after the war, never spared him when an opportnnity offered to lash him. Philip 
Frenean, one of tlie bards of the Bevolntion, g;aye him many a hard hit. In a poem 
entitled Rimngton*s R^flectianB, he thus referred to the editor's mendacity nhm 
making him say, at the close of the war :— 

" For what have I done when we come to consider, 
But sold my commodities to tlie best bidder ? 
If I offered to lie for the sake of a post. 
Was I to be blamed if the king offered most ? 
The king's royal printer I — Five hundred a-year I 
Between yon and me 'twas a handsome affair : 
Who wonld not for that give matters a stretch, 
And lie backward and forward, and carry and fetch." 

* A preliminary treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, 
was signed at Paris on the thirtieth of November, 1782, and a definitive treaty was 
signed at the same place by American and English commissioners, on the third of 
September, 1783. In that treaty, England acknowledged the independence of the 
United States. By previous arrangement, the British army, which had occupied 
New York seven years, was to leave it on the twenty-fifth of November, 1 783. On 
the morning of that day — a cold, frosty, but clear and brilliant morning — ^the Amer- 
ican troops, under General Knox, who had come down from West Point, and en- 
camped at Harlem, marched to the Bowery lane, and halted at the junction of the 
present Third avenue and Bowery. Knox was accompanied by Geoiige Clinton, 
the governor of the State of New York, with all the principal civil officers. There 
they remained until about one o'clock in the afternoon, when the British left their 
posts and marched to Whitehall (near the South ferry to Brooklyn) to embark. 
'The American troops, accompanied by Washington, followed, and before three 
o'clock General Knox took formal possession of Fort George, amid the acclamations 
of thousands of emancipated freemen, and the roar of artilleiy upon the Battery. 


parlor, he begged the officers to be seated, and then said 
to the chief; ^ Will your excellency do me the honor to 
step into the adjoining room for a moment that I may 
show you a list of the agricultural works I am about to 
order out from London for yom* special use?" They 
retired. The locks on the doors of the houses in New 
York more than threescore years ago were not so good 
as now. The door of Kvington's private room closed 
very imperfectly and soon became ajar, when the officers 
distinctly heard the chinking of two heavy purses of 
gold as they were successively placed on a table.* 

The party soon returned from the inner-room, when 
Eivington pressed upon his guests a glass of Madeira^ 
which he assured them was a prime article, having im- 
ported it himself, and it having received the approbation 
of Sir Henry and the most distinguished hon vivards of 
the British army.f 

* BiviDgton's method of eonveying intelligence to Washington was ingenious. 
He published books of Tarions kinds, and by means of these he carried on his 
treasonable correspondence. He wrote his secret billets upon thin paper, and boand 
them in the cover of a book, which he always managed to sell to those spies of Wash- 
ington, who were constantly rtsiting New York, and who, he knew, would carry the 
Tolnmes directly to the headquarters of the army. The men employed in this spe- 
cial service were ignorant of the peculiar nature of it. 

t RiWngton was a high liver when his pecuniary means would allow him the in- 
dulgence. He was a fine-looking, portly man, and dressed in the extreme of fashion 
«*-curled and powdered hair, claret-colored coat, scarlet waistcoat trimmed with gold 
lace, buckskin breeches, and top-boots. He always kept a stock of choice wines on 
hand, with which to regale his friends. A good anecdote connected with his wine 
was related by Rivington himself. He had soundly abused Colonel Ethan Allen, 
while he was a prisoner, and the leader of the Green-Mountain Boys swore he would 
" lick Rivingtou the first opportunity he had." When Allen was released firom the 
provost jail, he went directly toward Rivington's office to execute his oath. Riving- 
ton's clerk saw him coming, and went up stairs to warn his ma.«iter, the loyal editor 
having already been informed of the irate colonel's Intentions. " I was sitting/' said 
Rivington, " after a good dinner, atone, with 'ny bottle of Madeira before me, when 
I heard an unusual noise in the street, and a huzza from the boys. I was in the 


The visiters now rose to depart Rivington, on tar- 
king leave of the chief, whom he escorted to the door, 
said : " Your excellency may rely upon my especial at- 
tention being given to the agricuUural toorks^ which, on 
their arrival, will be immediately forwarded to Mount 
Vernon, where I trust they will contribute to your grati- 
fication amid the shades of domestic retirement." Riv- 
ington remained for several years in New York after the 
peace of 1783. It was the general opinion at that time, 
that if Rivington had been closely pressed on the. deli- 
cate subject of the secret service, characters of greater 
calibre might have appeared on the tapis than the king's 

second stoiy, and, stepping to the window, saw a tall figure in tarnished regimentals 
with a large cocked hat and an enormous long sword, followed bj a crowd of boys, 
who occasionally cheered him with huzzas, of which he seemed insensible. He came 
up to my door and stopped. I coold see no more. My heart told me it was Ethan 
Allen. I shut down my window, and retired behind my table and bottle. I was 
certain the hour of reckoning had come. There was no retreat. Mr. Staples, my 
clerk, came in paler than ever, and clasping his hands, said, ' Master, he is come !' 
' I know it.' ' He entered the store, and asked ** if James Bivington lived there." 
I answered, " Yes, sir." " Is he at home Y* " I will go and see, sir," I said ; * and 
now, master, what is to be done ? There he is in the store, and the boys peeping at 
him from the street' I had made np my mind. I looked at the bottle of Madeinir* 
possibly took a glass. ' Show him np,' said I ; ' and if such Madeira can not mol- 
lify him, he must be harder than adamant.' There was a fearful moment of sus- 
pense. I heard him on the stairs, his long sword clanking at eveiy step. In he 
stalked. ' Is your name James Bivington V * It is, sir, and no man could be more 
happy than I am to see Colonel Ethan Allen.' ' Sir, I have como— ' * Not an- 
other word, my dear colonel, until you have taken a seat and a glass of old Madeira.' 
'But sir, I don't think it proper — ' ' Not another word, colonel. Taste this wine; 
I have had it in glass for ten years. Old wine, yon know, unless it is originally 
sound, never improves by age.' He took the glass, swallowed the wine, smacked 
his lips, and shook his head approvingly. ' Sir, I come — ' < Not another word 
until you have taken another glass, and then, my dear colonel, we will talk of old 
affairs, and I have some droll events to detail.' In short, we finished two bottles of 
Madeira, and parted as good friends as if we never had cause to be otherwise." 

* When the loyalists of New York fled to Nova Scotia, on the evacuation of the 
dty by the British, Bivington, to the astonishment of all, remained. This fact 


When the famous Rivington espionage became known 
there were many speculations as to the amount paid for 
the secret service. Some went so far as to calculate 
how many guineas the capacious pockets of an officer's 
coat made in the old fashion would contain. The general 
result was that^ including the quaker's loan and pay 
meiits made up to the final payment in fiill, made by the 
chief in person, from a thousand to fifteen hundred 
guineas would be a pretty fair estimate. 

It was a cheap, a dog cheap bargain ; for, although 
gold was precious in the days of the continental currency, 
yet the gold paid for the secret service was of inestim- 
able value, when it is remembered how much it contri- 
buted to the safety and success of the army of indepen- 

puzzled those anacqnainted with his career daring the war. Others, not a tenth 
part as obnoxious to the republicans as he, were driven away. In his secret treason 
is the solution of the mysteiy. The facts above related are given by the author of, 
these BecUUctkm, he says, " on the authority of General Henry Lee, who had them 
fsooL one of the officers who accompanied Washington in his visit to Bivington." 
I received substantially the same facts, a few years ago, from the late Senator Hun- 
ter, of Hunter's island, Westchester county. New York, who heard them from the 
lips of a British admiral. 




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It was in 1770, that Colonel Washington, accompanied 
by Doctor James Craik, and a considerable party of 
hmiters, woodsmen, and others, proceeded to the Kan- 
awha with a view to explore the country, and make sur- 
veys of extensive and valuable bodies of lands.f At that 

* This was first published in the Philadelphia United Statet Gazette, on the 
twenty-seventh of May, 1826. 

t The officers and soldiers who accompanied Washington in the expedition against 
the French, on the Ohio, in 1754, were promised grants of land in the fertile regions 
of the great Kanawha, where it empties into the Ohio. These lands were formally 
granted that year, by an order in council of the British goremment, and a proclama- 
tion by Governor Dinwiddle, but on account of the continuance of a state of war, 
they were not located, and actual possession given, until many years afterward. In 
1770 a company in London solicited a grant of land within the proposed boundaries 
of which nearly all of the promised bounty land lay. Washington at once took the 
matter in hand, as the champion of the soldier about to be wronged. He first laid 
before Governor Botetourt a history of the daim, and entered a strong protest against 
the proposed grant to the English company, at the head of whom was the celebrated 
Horace Walpole. He was successful in his defence of the soldier's rights, and that 
nothing essential to their interests should be left undone, he resolved to visit the 
region under consideration, and select the best tracts of land for himself and his 
oompanions-tn-arms ; and on the fifth of October, 1770, accompanied by his friend 
and neighbor. Doctor Craik, with three negro attendants, he left Mount Vernon for 
the Ohio. His Diary, kept during this journey to the wilderness and back, wliieh 


time of day, the Kanawha was several hundred mfles re- 
mote firom the frontier settlements, and only accessible 
by Indian paths, which wound through the passes of the 

In those wild and unfrequented regions, the party 
formed a camp on the bank of the river, consisting of 
rudely-constructed wigwams or shelters, from which they 
issued to explore and survey those alluvial tracts, now 
forming the most fertile and best inhabited parts of the 
west of Virginia.* 

This romantic camp, though far removed from the 
homes of civilization, possessed very many advantages. 
The great abundance of various kinds of game, in its 
vicinity, afforded a sumptuous larder, while a few luxuries 
of foreign growth, which had been brought on the bag^ 
gage horses, made the adventurers as comfortable as they 
could reasonably desire.f 

One day when resting in camp from the fatigues at* 
tendant on so arduous an enterprise, a party of Indians 
led by a trader, were discovered. No recourse was had 
to arms, for peace in great measure reigned on the firon* 
tier; the border warfare which so long had harassed the 
imhappy settlers, had principally subsided, and the savage 
driven farther and farther back, as the settlements ad- 
vanced, had suflBciently felt the power of the whites, to 
view them with fear, as weU as hate. Again, the approach 

occupied "nine weeks and one daj/' is printed entire in the appendix to the second 
Tolome of Spark's lAft and WrUmgs of Washington. 

* These lands lay in the present counties of Kanawha, Jackson, Mason, and 

t Washington in his Diary, thns refers to one of his horses : "My portmanteau 
horse being anable to proceed, I left him at my brother's [Samuel, on Worthington's 
marsh, over the Blue Ridge], and got one of his and proceeded to Samuel Fritchard's, 
on Cacapehon." 


of this party was anything but hostile, and the appeaiv 
ance of the trader, a being half savage, half civilizied, 
made it certain that the mission was rather of peace 
than war. 

They halted at a short distance, and the interpreter 
advancing, declared that he was conducting a party, 
which consisted of a grand sachem, and some attendant 
warriors ; that the chief was a very great man among 
the northwestern tribes, and the same who commanded 
the Indians on the fall of Braddock, sixteen years before,* 
that hearing of the visit of Colonel Washington to the 
western country, this chief had set out on a mission, the 
object of which himself would make known,f 

The colonel received the embassador with courtesy, 
and having put matters in camp in the best possible order 
for the reception of such distinguished visiters, which so 
short a notice would allow, the strangers were introduced. 
Among the colonists were some fine, tall, and manly 
figures, but so soon as the sachem approached, he in a 
moment pointed out the hero of the Monongahela, from 
among the group, although sixteen years had elapsed 
since he had seen him, and then only in the tumult and 
fury of battle. The Indian was of a lofty stature, and of 
a dignified and imposing appearance. 

* See note on page 158. 

t On the way, Washington and Doctor Craik were joined by sereral frontier men, 
i^mong them Joseph Nicholson, an interpreter. Under date of October 20, he rs- 
corded in his Diary : " We embarked in a large .canoe, with a sufficient store of pro- 
visions and necessaries, and the following persons, besides Dr. Craik and myself, 
to wit, Captain Crawford, Joseph Nicholson, Robert Bell, William Harrison, Charles 
Morgan, and Daniel Rendon, a boy of Captain Crawford's, and the Indians, who 
were in a canoe by iheroselTes." Captain Crawford afterward saffered a horrible 
death at the hands of the Shawnees, in Ohio. At Fort Pitt they were joined by 
^ Colonel Craghan, Lieatenant Hamilton, and Mr. Magee." 


The usual salutations were going round, when it was 
observed, that the grand chiei^ although perfectly fami- 
liar with every other person present, preserved toward 
Colonel Washington the most reverential deference. It 
was in vain that the colonel extended his hand, the Indian 
drew back, with the most impressive marks of awe and re- 
spect A last effort was made to induce an intercourse, by 
resorting to the delight of the savages — ardent spirit — 
which the colonel having tasted, offered to his guest ; the 
Indian bowed his head in submission, but wetted not his 
lipa Tobacco, for the use of which Washington always 
had the utmost abhorrence, was next tried, the colonel 
taking a single puff to the great annoyance of his feel- 
ings, and then offering the calumet to the chief, who 
touched not the symbol of savage friendship. The banquet 
being now ready, the colonel did the honors of the feast, 
and placing the great man at his side, helped him plenti- 
fully, but the Indian fed not at the board. Amazement 
now possessed the company, and an intense anxiety be- 
came apparent, as to the issue of so extraordinary an 
adventure. The council fire was kindled, when the 
grand sachem addressed our Washington to the follow- 
ing effect : — * 

^I am a chief, and the ruler over many tribes. My in- 
fluence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to 
to the far blue mountains. I have travelled a long and 
weary path, that I might see the young warrior of the 
great battle. It was on the day, when the white 
man's blood, mixed with the streams of our forest^ that I 
first beheld this chief: I called to my young men and 
said, mark yon tall and daring warrior ? He is not of the 

« He addressed Washington, through Nicholson, the interpreter. 


red-coat tribe — he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his war- 
riors fight as we do — himself is alone exposed. Quick, 
let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were 
levelled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to 
miss — 'twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, 
/shielded him from harm. He can not die in battle. I 
am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council- 
fire of my fathers^ in the land of shades, but ere I go, 
there is a something, bids me speak, in the voice of 
prophecy. Listen! The Greai Spirit protects that many 
and gvides Ma destimes — he wiU become the chief of nations, 
and a people yet unbomy unll haH him as the founder of a 
mighiy empire .^'* 

The savage ceased, his oracle delivered, his prophetic 
mission fulfilled, he retired to muse in silence, upon that 
wonder-working Spirit, which his dark 

" XJntatored mind 
Saw oft in clondB, and heard-Him in the wind." 

Night coming on, the children of the forest spread 

* This narrative the aathor of the Recollections receiyed from the lips of Dr. Craik. 
Washiogton does not mention the circumstance in his Diary. It was a pecniuit 
trait of his character to avoid eyetTthiiig, either in speech or writing, that had a per* 
sonal relation to himself, in this manner. In his Diary he mentions a yisit from an 
emhassy of the Six Nations, led by White Mingo, who made a speech. Bat that oc- 
cnrred on the nineteenth of the month ; while the incident that forms the snbject of 
this chapter, did not occur nntil they had reached the month of the KanAWha, after 
the thirty-first. 

The Reverend Samuel Davies, a Presbyterian minister at Hanover, in Virginia, 
during the earlier portions of the French and Indian war (and in 1799, was president 
of the college at Princeton), preached several patriotic discourses af^ the defeat of 
Braddock, to arouse his countrymen to action. In one of these, entitled " Religion 
and Patriotism the constituents of a good Soldier," he remarked, in allusion to tiie 
remarkable preservation of Washington on the bloody field of Monongahela, " I can 
not but hope Providence has hitherto preserved him in so signal a manner, for some 
important service to his country." It is an interesting fact, that Washington never 
received the sli^test wound in battle. 


their blankets^ and were soon buried in sleep. At early 
dawn they bid adieu to the camp, and were seen slowly 
winding their way toward the distant haunts of their 

The effects which this mysterious and romantic ad- 
venture had upon the provincials, were as various as the 
variety of character which composed the party. All 
eyes were turned on him, to whom the oracle had been 
addressed, but from his evernaerene and thoughtful coun- 
tenance, nothing could be discovered : still all this was 
strange, " 'twas passive strange." On the mind of Doctor 
.James Craik, a most deep and lasting impression was 
made, and in the war of the Revolution it became a 
favorite theme with him, particularly after any perilous 
action, in which his friend and commander had been 
peculiarly exposed, as the battles of Princeton, German- 
town, and Monmouth. On the latter occasion, as we 
have elsewhere observed,* Doctor Craik expressed his 
great faith in the Indian's prophecy. " Gentlemen," he 
said, to some of the ofl&cers, ^ recollect what I have often 
told you, of the old Indian's prophecy. Yes, I do believe, 
a Great Spirit protects that man — and that one day or 
other, honored and beloved, he will be the chief of our 
nation, as he is now our general, our father, and our 
friend. Never mind the enemy, they can not kill him, 
and while he lives, our cause wiU never die." 

During the engagement on the following day, while 
Washington was speaking to a favorite officer, I think 
the brave and valued Colonel Hartley, of the Pennsyl- 
vania line, a cannon ball struck just at his horse's feel^ 
throwing the dirt in his face, and over his clothes, the 

* See page 222. 


general continued giving his orders, without noticing the 
derangement of his toilette. The ofl&cers present, several 
of whom were of the party the preceding evening, looked 
at each other with anxiety. The chief of the medical 
stafij pleased with the proof of his prediction, and in re- 
miniscence of what had passed the night before, pointed 
toward heaven, which was noticed by the others, with a 
gratifying smile of acknowledgment* 

Of the brave and valued Colonel Hartley, it is said, 
that the commander-in-chief sent for him in the heat of 
an engagemeni^ and addressed him bs follows : " I have 
sent for you, colonel, to employ you on a serious piece 
of service. The state of our affairs, renders it necessary, 
that a part of this army should be sacrificed^ for the wel- 
fare of the whole. You command an efficient corps (a 
fine regiment of Germans from York and Lancaster 
counties). I know you well, and have, therefore, selected 
you to perform this important and serious duty. You 
will take such a position, and defend it to the last ex- 
tremity." The colonel received this appointment to a for- 
lorn hope, with a smile of exultation, and bowing, replied : 
^ Your excellency does me too much honor ; your orders 
shall be obeyed to the letter," and repaired to his post 

I will not be positive as to the location of this anec- 
dote, having heard it from the old people of the Revolu- 
tion many years ago, but think it occurred on the field 
of Monmouth — but of this I am not certain. I have a 
hundred times seen Colonel Hartley received in the halls 
of the great president, where so many Revolutionary 
worthies were made welcome, and to none was the hand 
of honored and friendly recollection more feelingly offer- 

* The subttanco of this is given in the accoant of the battle at Monmouth. 


edj on none did the meritdiscerning eye of the chief 
appear to beam with more pleasure, than on Hartley of 

* Colonel Thomas Haitlej was a native of Berks conntj, Pennsylvania, and was 
bom on the seventh of September, 1748. He studied law in York, and practised his 
profession there. He entered the armj at the beginning of the Revolution, and was 
in several engagements. After the descent of Butler and his Indians into the Wyo- 
ming valley, in the summer of 1778, he commanded a corps in that region. Colonel 
Hartley was a member of Congress in 1788, and held the office twelve consecutive 
yean. He also held several offices in his native commonwealth. He died on the 
twenty-first of December, 1800, at the age of fifty-two years. 




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It was our good fortune, in conversations with the late 
General Daniel Morgan, to elicit from that distinguished 
veteran most interesting narratives of many of the prom^ 
inent events in the Revolutionary war * 

* General Daniel Morgan was a native of New Jersey, where he was bom in 1737 
He emigrated to Viiginia at the age of eighteen years. That was the year 755), when 
Braddock went on his expedition against the French and Indians at Fort da Qoesne. 
Morgan accompanied the army as a waggoner. Daring the march he replied 
sharply to the insults of a British officer, who then tried to ran him tfarongh with his 
sword. Morgan well-defended himself, and succeeded in ginng the officer a seTsre 
whipping. For this he was condemned to receive five hondred lashes on the bare 
back. Four hundred and fifty were given, when he fainted. The remainder were 
remitted. The officer becoming convinced that he had been in the wrong, apologised ; 
but the memory of this indignity, no doubt, gave vigor to the arm of Daniel Moigan 
in the war against the British officers and soldiers twenty years later. 

Morgan raised a company of riflemen and joined the continental army, at Cam- 
bridge, in 1775. During that autumn he accompanied Araold in his famous expe- 
dition across the wilderness of the Kennebec and Chaudidre to Quebec, where he 
was taken a prisoner at the close of the year. He was active throughout a greater 
portion of the war, after his exchange. He was in the army against the " Whukey 
Insurgents/* in 1794, and was afterward a member of Ck>ngress. His estate in Vlr- 


Wlule listeuing to the tale of the hardships and privar 
tions of our suffering soldiery^ as to a tale of wonder, we 
asked the general which of the men, of the various nations 
composing the American armies (in his excellent judg- 
ment), possessed the best natural requisites for making 
good soldiers ? 

Morgan replied : ^ As to the fighting part of the matter, 
the men of all nations are pretty much alike ; they fight 
as much as they find necessary, and no more. But^ sir, 
for the grand essential in the composition of the good 
soldier, give me the Dutchman — f^ starves vSelV 

It is not a little remarkable that the last survivor of 
the celebrated rifle corps which Morgan led across the 
wintry wilderness of the Kennebec in 1775, and which 
corps suffered an extremity of famine and hardship al- 
most beyond belie^*^ is a highly respectable German, a 
Mr. Lauk,now resident, at a very advanced age, in Wash- 
ington, Virginia.f 

ginia, where he lived many yean, he called Saratoga. He died at BenyTille, in Vir- 
ginia, on the sixth of Jalj, 1803, at the age of sixty-fiye yean. 

* Colonel Benedict Arnold left Cambridge with a thousand men, in September, 
1775, and, landing at the month of the Kennebec, marched np that stream and 
through the wilderness, to the St Lawrence, by way of the Chandidre liyer, that 
flows northward from Lake Megantic, on the high water-shed in Maine. That 
expedition, to which reference has been made seyeral times before, was one of the 
ttost wonderful on record. For forty days Arnold and his men traversed a gloomy 
wilderness without meeting a hnman being. Frost and snow were upon the ground, 
and ice was upon the surface of the marshes and the streams which they were com- 
pdlfid to traverse and fond sometimes armpit deep in water and mud. Tet they 
murmured not, and even women followed in their train. Famine beset them before 
they reached the French settlements on tiie St Lawrence slope, and they were reduced 
to such extremities, that the dog of Captain Dearborn made a most acceptable meal 
for himself and soldiers. After incredible hardships from fktigne, intense cold, and 
biting hunger, they airived at Point Levi, opposite Quebec, on the ninth of Novem- 

\ This was published in the NaJtwnai TnieUigenoer, on the fourteenth of December 


General Morgan related to us the substance of the 
following personal reminiscences ; and many times during 
the recital his voice faltered with emotion, and his eyes 
filled with tears : — 

The outposts of the two armies were very near to each 
other, when the American commander, desirous of obtain- 
ing particular information respecting the positions of bis 
adversary, summoned the famed leader of the riflemen. 
Colonel Daniel Morgan, to headquarters * 

It was night, and the chief was alone. After bis usual 
polite, yet reserved and dignified salutation, Washington 
remarked : " I have sent for you. Colonel Morgan, to en- 
trust to your courage and sagacity, a small but very im- 
portant enterprise. I wish you to reconnoitre the ene- 
my's lines, with a view to your ascertaining correctly 
the positions of their newly-constructed redoubts ; also of 
the encampments of the British troops that have lately 
arrived, and those of their Hessian auxiliaries. Select, 
sir, an oflScer, non-commissioned oflScer, and about twenty 
picked men, and under cover of the night proceed with 
all possible caution, get as near as you can, learn all 
you can, and by day-dawn retire and make your report 
to headquarters. But mark me. Colonel Morgan, mark 
me well : On no account whatever are you to bring on 
any skirmishing with the enemy. If discovered, make a 
speedy retreat ; let nothing induce you to fire a single 
shot. I repeat^ sir, that no force of circumstances will 
excuse the discharge of a single rifle on your part, and 
for the extreme preciseness of these orders, permit me to 

* Mr. Castis has not given the locality of the events of this narratiTe. It is prob* 
able that it was in New Jersey, and the time a night or two before the battle of Mon- 


say that I have my reasona." Filling two glasses of wine, 
the general continued, " And now, Colonel Morgan, we 
will drink a good night, and success to your enterprise." 
Morgan quaffed the wine, smacked his lips, and assuring 
his excellency that his orders should be punctually 
obeyed, left the tent of the commander-in-chief 

Charmed at being chosen the executive officer of A 
daring enterprise, the Leader of the Woodsmen repaired 
to his quarters, and calling for Gabriel Long, his favorite 
captain, ordered him to detail a trusty sergeant, and 
twenty prifhe fellows. When these were mustered, and 
ordered to lay on their arms, to be ready at a moment's 
warning, Morgan and Long stretched their manly forms 
before the watchfire, to await the going down of the 
moon— the signal for departure. 

A little after midnight, and while the rays of the set- 
ting moon still faintly glimmered in the Western hori- 
zon, " Up sergeant^" cried Long, " stir up your men !'* 
and twenty athletic figures were upon their feet in a 
moment Indian file, march, and away all sprung with 
the quick, yet light and stealthy step of the woodsmen. 
They reached the enemy's lines, crawled up so close to 
the pickets of the Hessians, as to inhale the odor of their 
pipes, and discovered, by the newly turned up earth, the 
position of the redoubts, and by the numerous tents that 
dotted the field for ^ many a rood around," and shone 
dimly amid the night haze, the encampment of the Brit- 
ish and German reinforcements. In short they performed 
their perilous duty without the slightest discovery ; and, 
pleased with themselves, and the success of their enter- 
prise, prepared to retire, just as chanticleer from a neigh- 
boring farm-house was ^ bidding salutation to the mom." 


The adventurous party reached a small emijience at 
some distance from the British camp, and commanding 
an extensive prospect over the adjoining country. Here 
Morgan halted, to give his men a little rest, before taking 
up his line of march for the American outposts. Scarcely 
had they thrown themselves on the grass, when they 
perceived, issuing from the enem3r*8 advanced pickets, a 
body of horse, commanded by an officer, and proceeding 
along a road that led directly by the spot where- the 
riflemen had halted. No spot could be better chosen for 
an ambuscade, for there were rocks and ravines, and also 
scrubby oaks, that grew thickly on the eminence by 
which the road we have just mentioned passed, at not 
exceeding a hundred yards. 

^ Down boys, down," cried Morgan, as the horse ap- 
proached ; nor did the clansmen of the Black Khoderic 
disappear more promptly amid their native heather, than 
did Morgan's woodsmen in the present instance, each to 
his tree, or rock. ^ Lie close there, my lads, till we see 
what these fellows are about" 

Meantune, the horsemen had gained the height, and 
the officer dropping his rein on his charger's neck, witli 
a spy-glass reconnoitred the American lines. The 
troopers closed up their files, and were either cherishing 
the noble animals they rode, adjusting their equipments, 
or gazing upon the surrounding scenery now fast bright- 
ening in the beams of a rising sun. 

Morgan looked at Long, and Long upon his superior, 
while the riflemen, with panting chests and sparkling 
eyes, were only awaiting some signal from their officers 
« to let the ruin fly." 

At length the martial ardor of Morgan overcame hi? 

djlNiel mobgan. 813 

prudence and sense of military subordination. Forgetful 
of consequences, reckless of everything but his enemy 
now within his grasp, he waved his hand, and loud and 
sharp rang the report of the rifles amid the surrounding 

At point-blank distance, the certain and deadly aim of 
iht Hunting Shirts of the Revolutionary army is too well 
knoTn to history to need remark at this time of day. In 
the i]istance we have to record, the eflFects of the fire of 
the riflemen were tremendous. Of the horsemen, some 
had falbn to rise no more, while their liberated chargers 
rushed wildly over the adjoining plains ; others, wounded, 
but entangled with their stirrups, were dragged by the 
furious animals expiringly along, while the very few 
who were unscathed spurred hard to regain the shelter 
of the British lines. 

While the smoke yet canopied the scene of slaughter, 
and the picturesque forms of the woodsmen appeared 
among the foliage, as they were reloading their pieces, 
the colossal figure of Morgan stood apart. He seemed 
the very genius of war, as gloomily he contemplated the 
havoc his order had made. He spoke not, he moved 
not^ but looked as one absorbed in an intensity of 
thought The martial shout with which he was wont to 
cheer his comrades in the hour of combat was hushed; 
the shell^ from which he had blown full many a note of 

* Moiigan's riflemen were geiierallj in the advance, Bkirmishing with the light 
troops of the enemj, or annoying his iflanks ; the regiment was thus mach divided 
Into detachments, and dispersed over a very wide field of action. Morgan was in 
the habit of nsing a conch-^hell frequently during the heat of battle, with which he 
would blow a loud and warlike blast. This he said was to inlbrm his boys that he 
was still alive, and from many parts of the field was beholding their prowess ; and, 
like the last signal of a celebrated sea-warrior of another hemisphere, was expecting 
that " every man would do his duty."— iVols bg tU AutKor. 


battle and of triumph on the fields of Saratoga, hung idly 
by his side ; no order was given to spoil the slain. The 
arms and equipments for which there was always a 
bounty from Congress, the shirts for which there was 
such need in that^ the sorest period of our country's prt- 
vation, all, all, were abandoned, as, with an abstracted 
air and a voice struggling for utterance, Morgan sud- 
denly turning to his captain, exclaimed, " Long, to the 
camp, march." The favorite captain obeyed, the rifle- 
men, with trailed arms, fell into file, and Long and his 
party soon disappeared, but not before the hardv fellows 
had exchanged opinions on the strange termination of 
the late affair. And they agreed nem couy that their 
colonel was tricked (conjured), or assuredly, after such a 
fire as they had just given the enemy, such an emptying 
of saddles, and such a scampering of the troopers, he 
would not have ordered his poor rifle-boys firom the field, 
without so much as a few shirts or pairs of stockings 
being divided amongst them, "Yes," said a tall, lean 
jmd swarthy-looking fellow, an Indian hunter fix)m the 
frontier, as he carefully placed his moccasined feet, in the 
foot-prints of his file-leader, " Yes, my lads, it stands to 
reason our colonel is tricked.'* 

Morgan followed slowly on the trail of his men. The 
full force of his military guilt had rushed upon his mind, 
even before the reports of his rifles had ceased to echo in 
the neighboring forests. - He became more and more 
convinced of the enormity of his offence, as, with dull 
and measured strides, he pursued his solitary way, and 
thus he soliloquized : — 

" Well, Daniel Morgan, you have done for yom-self. 
Broke, sir, broke to a certainty. You may go home, sir. 


to the plough ; your sword will be of no further use to 
you. Broke, sir, nothing can save you ; and there is the 
end of Colonel Morgan. Fool, fool — by a single act of 
madness thus to destroy the earnings of so many toils, 
and many a hard-fought battle. You are broke, sir, and 
there is an end of Colonel Morgan." 

To disturb this reverie, there suddenly appeared, at 
full speed, the aid-de-camp, the Mercury of the field,* 
who, reining up, accosted the colonel with, "I am or- 
dered. Colonel Morgan, to ascertain whether the firing 
just now heard, proceeded firom your detachment" — ^^ It 
did, sir," replied Morgan, doggedly. ^Then, colonel," 
continued the aid, " I am further ordered to require your 
immediate attendance upon his excellency, who is fast 
approaching." Morgan bowed, and the aid, wheeling his 
charger, galloped back to rejoin his chief 

The gleams of the morning sun upon the sabres of the 
horse-guard, announced the arrival of the dreaded com- 
mander — that being who inspired with a degree of awe 
every one who approached him. With a stem, yet dig- 
nified composure, Washington addressed the military 
culprit ^ Can it be possible. Colonel Morgan, that my 
add-de-camp has informed me aright? Can it be pos- 
sible, after the orders you received last evening, that the 
firing we have heard proceeded firom your detachment ? 
Surely, sir, my orders were so explicit as not to be easily 
DMSimderstood " Morgan was brave, but it has been often 
and justly, too, observed, that that man never was bom 
of woman, who could approax^h the great Washington, 
and not feel a degree of awe and veneration firom his 
presence. Morgan quailed for a moment before the 

* Colonel Alexander HamUton. 


stem, yet just displeasure of his chiefs till, arousing all 
his energies to the eflFort, he uncovered, and replied : 
"Your excellency's orders were perfectly well under- 
stood i and, agreeably to the same, 1 proceeded with a 
select party to reconnoitre the enemy's lines by night 
We succeeded even beyond our expectations, and I was 
returning to headquarters to make my report, when, 
having halted a few minutes to rest the men, we dis- 
covered a party of horse coming out from the enemy's 
lines. They came up immediately to the spot where we 
lay concealed by the brushwood. There they halted, 
and gathered up together like a flock of partridges, 
affording me so tempting an opportunity of annoying 
my enemy, that — that — may it please your excellency 
—flesh and blood could not refrain." 

At this rough, yet frank, bold, and manly explanation, 
a smile was observed to pass over the countenances of 
several of the general's suite. The chief remained un- 
moved ; when, waving his hand, he continued : " Colonel 
Morgan, you will retire to your quarters, there to await 
further orders." Morgan bowed, and the military cortege 
rode on to the inspection of the outposts. 

Arrived at his quarters, Morgan threw himself upon 
his hard couch, and gave himself up to reflections upon 
the events which had so lately and so rapidly succeeded 
each other. He was aware that he had sinned past all 
hope of forgiveness. Within twenty-four hours, he had 
fiedlen from the command of a regiment, and being an 
especial favorite with his general, to be, what — a dis- 
graced and broken soldier. Condemned to retire from 
scenes of glory, the darling passion of his heart — for ever 
to abandon the " fair fields of fighting, and in obscisitv * 


to drag out the remnant of a wretched existence, neg- 
lected and forgotten. And then his reputation, bo nobly 
won, with all his "blushing honors" acquired in the 
march across the frozen wilderness of the Kennebec, the 
storming of the Lower Town, and the gallant and glo- 
rious combats of Saratoga^ to be lost in a moment ! 

The hours dragged gloomily away. Night came, but 
with it no rest for the troubled spirit of poor Morgan. 
The drums and fifes merrily sounded the soldiers' dawn, 
and the sun arose, giving ^ promise of a goodly day." 
And to many within the circuit of that widely-extended 
camp did its genial beams give hope, and joy, and glad- 
ness, while it cheered not with a single ray the despair^ 
ing leader of the Woodsmen. 

About ten o'clock, the orderly on duty reported the 
arrival of an officer of the staff from headquarters, and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton, the favorite aid of the 
commander-in-chief, entered the marquee. " Be seated," 
said Morgan ; " I know your errand, so be short my dear 
fellow, and put me out of my misery at once. I know 
that I am arrested, 'tis a matter of course. Well, there 
is my sword ; but surely his excellency honors me, in- 
deed, in these the last moments of my military existence, 
when he sends for my sword by his favorite aid, and my 
most esteemed friend. Ah, my dear Hamilton, if you 
knew what I have suffered since the cursed horse came 
out to tempt me to my ruin." 

Hamilton, about whose strikingly-intelligent coun- 
tenance there always lurked a playftil smile, now ob- 
served, ^^ Colonel Morgan, his excellency has ordered me 
to" — ** I know it," interrupted Morgan, "to bid me pre- 
pare for trial, but pshaw, why a trial ! . Guilty, sir, guilty 


past all doubt. But then (recollecting himself), perhaps 
my services might plead — nonsense! against the dis- 
obedience of a positive order ? No, no, it is all over with 
me, Hamilton, there is an end of your old friend, and of 
Colonel Morgan," The agonized spirit of our hero then 
mounted to a pitch of enthusiasm as he exclaimed, ^ But 
my country will remember my services, and the British 
and Hessians will remember me too, for though I may 
be far away, my brave comrades will do their duty, and 
Morgan's riflemen be, as they always have been, a terror 
to the enemy." 

The noble, the generousnsouled Hamilton could no 
longer bear to witness the struggles of the brave unfor- 
tunate, and he called out : " Hear me, my dear colonel, 
only promise to hear me for one moment, and I will tell 
you all. " Go on, sir," replied Morgan, despairingly, ^ go 
on." — ^"Then," continued the aid-de-camp, "you must 
know that the commanders of regiments dine with his 
excellency to-day." — ^^What of that," again interrupted 
Morgan, " what has that to do with me, a prisoner and — .** 
^ No, no," exclaimed Hamilton, no prisoner, a once-offend- 
ing, but now a forgiven soldier. My orders are to invite 
you to dine with his excellency to-day at three o'clock 
precisely ; yes, my brave and good friend. Colonel Mor- 
gan, you still are, and likely long to be, the valued and 
famed commander of the rifle regiment" 

Morgan sprang from the camp-bed on which he was 
sitting, and seizing the hand of the little great man in 
his giant grasp, wrung and wrung, till the aid-de-camp 
literally struggled to get free, then exclaimed, ^ Am I in 
my senses ? But I know you, Hamilton, you are too 
noble a fellow to sport with the feelings of an old brother- 


soldier." Hamilton a^ured his friend that all was true, 
and gayly kissing his hand as he mounted his horse^ bid 
the now delighted colonel^ to remember three o'clock, 
and be careful not to disobey a second time, galloped to 
the headquarters. 

Morgan entered the pavilion of the commander-in- 
chief, as it was fast filling with officers, all of whom, after 
paying their respects to the general, filed off to give a 
cordial squeeze of the hand to the commander of the 
rifle regiment^ and to whisper in his ear words of con- 
gratulation. The cloth removed, Washington bid his 
guests fill their glasses, and gave his only, his unvarying 
toast^ the toast of the days of trial, the toast of the even- 
ing of his " time-honored" life amid the shades of Mount 
Vernon — ^AS our Friends^ Then, with his usual old- 
fashioned politeness, he drank to each guest by name. 
When he came to " Colonel Morgan, your good health, 
sir," a thrill ran through the manly frame of the gratified 
and again favorite soldier, while every eye in the pavil- 
ion was turned upon him. At an early hour the com- 
pany broke up, and Morgan had a perfect escort of 
officers accompanying him to his quarters, all anxious to 
congratulate him upon his happy restoration to rank and 
favor, aU pleased to assm:e him of their esteem for his 
person and servicer 

And often in his after life did Morgan reason upon the 
events which we have transmitted to the Americans and 
their posterity, and he would say : ^ What could the un- 
usual clemency of the commander-in-chief toward so in- 
subordinate a soldier as I was, mean ? Was it that my 
attacking my enemy wherever I could find him, and the 
attack being crowned with success, should plead in bar 


of the disobedience of a positive order? Certainly not 
Was it that Washington well knew I loved, nay adored, 
him above all human beings ? That knowledge would 
not have weighed a feather in the scale of his military 
justice. In short, the whole affair is explained in five 
words ; it was my fir d offencer 

The clemency of Washington toward the^^^ offence pre- 
served to the army of the Revolution one of its most 
valued and effective soldiers, and had its reward in little 
more than two years fi*om ilie date of our narrative, when 
Brigadier-General Morgan established his own fame, and 
shed an undying lustre on the arms of his country, by the 
glorious and ever-memorable victory of ihe Cowpens.* 

* The soachern states became the most important theatre of milltarj operations 
an the year 1781. General Greene had been appointed oommander-in-chief of the 
southern department, in October, 17S0, and with his nsaal skill and eneiigy, arranged 
his arm/ for a winter campaign, in two divisions. With the main armj, Greene took 
post at Cheraw, eastward of the Pedee, and Morgan (then promoted to briga^r- 
general) was sent with the remainder (about a thousand in nomber) to occnpj the 
country near the junction of the Facolet and Broad rivers. At that time, Comwallit 
was preparing to invade North Carolina. He found himself in a dangerous situa- 
tion, for he was placed between the two divisions of the republican army. UnwOI- 
ing to leave Moigan in his rear, he sent Tarleion to capture or disperse his troops. 
His force was superior, and the Americans retreated northward for some distance. 
At length having reached a position among the Thicketty mountains, in Spartanburg 
district, Moigan found himself compelled to fight. Posting his men upon an emi- 
nence, he turned and faced his pursuers. This movement disconcerted Tarleton, 
for he expected to fall upon Morgan in the confusion of a flight. He was confident 
of an easy victory, however, and prepared for battle. On the morning of the seven- 
teenth of January, 1781, a furious contest began. For more than two hours they 
fought desperately, when the British broke and fled. They lost almost three hun- 
dred men in killed and wounded, flve hundred made prisoners, and a large quantity 
of arms, ammnnitioir, and stores. It was one of the most brilliant victories achieved 
during the war. Congress awarded a gold medal to General Moigan, and Colonels 
Howard and Washington, who nobly seconded the general, each received a silver 
medal. Morgan pushed on across the Catawba with his prisoners, and at the Tad- 
kin was joined by General Greene. Then commenced that remarkable retreat of 
Greene before Comwallis, from the Yadkin, beyond the Dan, into Virginia, which 
has arrested the attention of military men. 


Nearly twenty years more had rolled away, and our 
hero, like most of his compatriots, had beaten his sword 
into a ploughshare, and was enjojdng, in the midst of a 
domestic circle, the evening of a varied and eventful life. 
When advanced in years, and infirm, Major-General Mor- 
gan was called to the supreme legislature of his country, 
as a representative of the state of Virginia."^ It was at 
this period that the author of these Memoirs had the 
honor and happiness of an interview with the old gen- 
eral, which lasted for several days. And the veteran was 
most kind and communicative to one, who hailing from 
the immediate family of his venerated chief, found a 
ready and a warm welcome to the heart of Morgan. And 
many, and most touching reminiscences of the days of 
trial were related by the once famed leader of the woods- 
men, to the then youthful and delighted listener, which 
were eagerly devoured, and carefully treasured in a mem- 
ory of no ordinary power. 

And it was there the unlettered Morgan, a man bred 
amid the scenes of danger and hardihood that distin- 
guished the frontier warfare, with little book knowledge, 
but gifted by nature with a strong and discriminating 
mind, paid to the fame and memory of the Father of our 
Country a more just, more magnificent tribute than, in 
our humble judgment, has emanated from the thousand 
and one efibrts of the best and brightest geniuses of the 
age. General Morgan spoke of the necemltf of Washing- 
ton to the army of the Revolution, and the success of the 

* Qeneral Morgaa was elected to Congress in 1797, and senred two years. In 
Jaly, 1799, he published an address to his constituents, in which he yindicated the 
administration of President Adams. Like Washington, Morgan was a federalist. 
The author of these RecolUetions was then about eighteen years of age. 



struggle for Independence. He said we had officers of 
great military talents, a^ for instance Greene and others; 
we had officers of the most consummate courage and 
spirit of enterprize, as for instance Wayne and others. 
One was yet necessary y to guide, direct, and animate the 
whole, and it pleased Almighty God to send that one in 
the person of George Washington I 



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It has often been asked, " Who were the favorites of 
Washmgton ? whom did he love ?" I answer, the most 
worthy. Washington lived for his country, and for her 
so much did he ^ live and move," and almost " have his 
being," that when he loved a man, that man must love 
his coimtry. 

In the War for Independence, Greene was his Hephaes- 
tion,f yet such was his delicacy in bestowing praise, 

* First pablished in the Philaddphia Natitmal Gazette, on the twenty-ninth of 
Jane, 1826. 

t Nathaniel Greene was bom of Quaker parents, at Warwick, in Rhode Island, in 
1740. He was trained to the occupation of an anchor-smith, the basiness of his 
father. He was qnick and studious, and while yet a boy, had learned some Latin 
and collected a small library. He loved to read books on military subjects. At the 
age of twenty-one he was elected a member of the Rhode Island legislature ; and, 
full of zeal for republican principles, he hesitated not a moment to take up arms 
for his country, contrary to the practices and traditions of his sect. He took the 
command of three regiments of the Army of Obeervatum, which Rhode Island sent to 
Boxbury after the affair at Lexington. The Quakers disowned him, and the Con- 
gress made him a brigadier-general. All through the long struggle of seven years, 
he was the most useful of all the officers ; and in genuine military genius, was in 
some respects superior to Washington. He retired to Rhode Island at the conclu- 
sion of the war, and soon afterward went to Geoi^a to look after an estate near 
Sarannah, which that state had given him. There, in June, 1786, he was prostrated 


even where most deserved, that he declined the mention- 
ing of Greene's division, which had so gallantly covered 
the retreat from Brandjrwine, saying to that illustrious 
commander, who prayed that his comrades might receive 
their well-earned commendation : ^ You, sir, are con- 
sidered in this army as my favorite officer ; your divi- 
sion is composed of southrons, my more immediate 
•countrymen. Such are my reasons."* 

It has been thought that certain vivacious personages, 
tis Gouvemeur Morris, and General Henry Lee, were in 
the habit of taking liberties with the chief. Around the 
Father of his Country, his virtues and character created 
an atmosphere of awe and veneration, in which undue 
familiarity could not have existed for a moment No 
men living were more ardently attached to the chief 
than the Revolutionary statesman and distinguished ot 
ficer alluded to. They possessed brilliant talents, had 
rendered conspicuous services, and were the most plear 

bj a "san-stroke," and died on the nineteenth of that month, at the age of forty- 
six jean. 

Oreene was tnilj to Washington what HephsBStion was to Alexander. He lored 
him tenderij, and from the earliest moment of their acquaintance, their attach- 
ment was warm and sincere. Alexander used to saj, in speaking of the intimacT 
between his friend and himself, that " Cratems was the friend of the king, but 
HephsMtion was the friend of Alexander." Such was the relationship between 
Washington and Greene. 

* One of the most delicate duties to which Washington was called, during the 
earlier yeare of the war particularly, was the silencing of jealousies among the officers. 
They all soon learned so to confide in his justice, that he seldom failed in his efforts 
to allay unpleasant feelings. But while he desired to avoid every appearance of 
favoritism, he never failed to employ, in a manner, and in a position that he deemed 
best for the public service, those whom his judgment approved. In Greene he dis- 
covered rare talent for every kind of military service requiring groat executive ability, 
and he never hesitated to give him his proper position ; but, as in the instance 
mentioned in the text, he avoided the public expression of his opinion of his superior 
merits, so as not to offend others unnecessarily. 


Burable companions of their time. These considerations, 
together with the absence of restraint at the private par- 
ties of the president, gave rise to the idea that there 
were certain characters who could approach without 
reserve, and even toy with the passive lion. But the 
lion, though passive, was the lion still. He could always 
be approached, and sometimes in sportive mood, but not 
so near as to lay hand upon his mane.* 

If I am asked — ^ And did not Washington imbend and 
admit to familiarity, and social friendship, some one per- 
son, to whom age and long and interesting associations 
gave peculiar privilege, the privilege of the heart?" — ^I 
answer, that favored individual was Eobert Morris. 

The general-in-chief of the armies of Independence, in 
the relief afforded to the privations of his suffering sol- 
diery, first learned the value of Robert Morris. It was 
he who brought order out of chaos, and whose talent 
and credit sustained the cause of his country in her worst 

of times.f Virtues and services like these endeared 


* See note 6n page 175. 

t Mr. Morris was one of the Pennsylrania delegates in the second continental 
Congress ; and a few weeks after he had taken his seat, in 1775, he was placed 
npon the secret committee whose datj it was to contract for the importation of 
mnnidons of war. He was also on a committee for fitting out a naval armament, 
And specially to negotiate bills of exchange for Congress to borrow money for the 
marine committee, and to manage the fiscal concerns of Congress npon other occa- 
sions. From that time he was the accredited and efficient financier of the Kevolntion- 
ary goremment. His private commercial credit was sach, that all men had con- 
fidence in him as the public agent. Instances of his affording pecuniary assistance 
to the army have already been given in these pages. On one occasion he became 
personally responsible for a quantity of lead for the use of the army; at another, 
when the Congress was utterly without cash or credit, he supplied the array with 
four or fLre thousand barrels of flour ; when the French troops came, he borrowed 
twenty thousand dollars in specie on his own credit from Rochambeau. After the 
continental money became valueless, Robert Morris's notes formed a part of the 
reliable circulating medium. When, in 1781, a bank for government purposes wai 


their possessor to the paternal chief, in whose heart the 
financier of the Revolution held an esteem which neither 
time nor misfortune could alter or impair. 

Mr. Morris was ever a welcome guest at the private and 
select parties of the president. So much was this a mattei 
of course, that the steward, having first placed Mr. M.'s 
favorite wine at the plate immediately on the right of 
the chief, would repair to the dwelling of Morris, and 
observe, "The president dines with a select party of 
friends to-day, and expects your company as usual."* 

When Mr. Morris first engaged in those speculations 
which terminated so unhappily, Washington, with the 
privilege of sincere friendship, remonstrated, observing, 
" You are old, and had better retire, rather than engage 
in such extensive concerns." Morris replied, "-Your ad- 
vice is proof of that wisdom and prudence which govern 
all your words and actions : but, my dear general, I can 
never do things in the small ; I must be either a man or 
a mouseJ'-f , 

established in Philadelphia, he sabscribed ten thoiiBand pounds, and induced othe»^ 
to swell the Amount to three hundred thousand pounds. Other instances of the 
manner in which, financially, he supported the cause, might be given, but these will 
suffice. Botta, in his Histoiy of the Revolution, says, " certainly the Americans 
owed, and still owe, as much acknowledgment to the financial operations of Robert 
Morris, as to the negotiations of Benjamin Franklin, or even the arms of Ocorjce 

* This was when the seat of government was in Philadelphia. Mr. Morris hold 
the very first social position in that city. For nearly half a century, an intro- 
duction to Robert Morris was a matter in course, with all strangers who visited 
Philadelphia on commercial, public, or private business, and he was considered by 
all as a representative of the city. 

t Washington was at that time quite largely, but not injudiciously, engaged in 
land speculations with Governor Qeorge Clinton and others, although his name did 
not publicly appear as such. At the time alluded to in the text, a gigantic land 
speculation, known as the scheme of the "North American Land Company,' 
hod been commenced and Mr. Morris was one of the principal partners. He soU 


In 1798^ when the lieutenant-general and commander- 
in-chief repaired to Philadelphia to superintend the 
organization of his last Bxmjy* unmindful of the dignity, 
wealth, and splendor which crowded to greet his arrival, 
he paid his first visit to the prison-house of Bobert 
Morris-f The old man wrung the hand of the chief in 

cited Washington to join in the specnlation. He declined, and gare Morris the 
adrioe above mentioned. The chief parties in the company (which was organized 
In nS5), were Bobert Morris, James Oreenleaf, and John Nicholson. The land, 
for which they paid large sums of money, lay in the states of Pennsylvania, Vir- 
ginia, North and South Carolina, Geoigia, and Kentucky, in all six millions of acres. 
Their intention was to sell the lands at a handsome profit, to small speculators and 
actual settlers, at the arerage price of fiAy cents an acre. Several years afterward, 
Mr. Morris became concerned with others In the purchase of over a million of acres 
in western New York, at sixteen cents an acre. This speculation, with the whole 
former scheme, was a failure. Morris and Nicholson were utterly mined. The 
latter, who was at one time comptroller-general of the state of Pennsylvania, died, 
it is said, leaving unpaid debts to an immense amount. Mr. Morris was finally 
consigned to the debtor's apartment of the Walnut-street prison, to which was 
attached a small garden, in which he was permitted to exercise. There he remained 
a long time, and suffered much. He died in 1806 ; leaving a widow, a sister of 
Bishop White. 

* John Adams was inaugurated President of the United States in March, 1797. He 
sought diligently to reconcile disputes that had arisen between the governments of 
the United States and France, but without success ; and when Congress assembled 
in December that year, war measures were adopted. In May, 1798, quite a large 
etanding army was authorized. Washington had expressed his approval of the 
measure, and in July he was appointed the commander-in-chief. He consented to 
accept the office, only on the condition that General Hamilton should be the acting 
uommander-in-chief, for the retired president was unwilling to take the field, unless 
the most urgent necessity should demand it. 

t The debtors' apartment of the Walnut-street prison was on Prune street. 
Though suffering in bodily health, Mr. Morris's mind was cheerful under the weight 
of his misfortunes. On one occasion he wrote the following playful note to his old 
partner in speculations : — 

" Messrs. Henry Banks, David Allison and Bobert Morris present their compU 
ments to John Nicholson, Esq., and request the favor of his company to dine with 
them at the hotel with grated doors, in Prune street, at one o'clock, on Sunday next, 
pledging themselves most solemnly that to him the doors will be open for admission 
and departure on that day. 

" Friday MoBviwa, llth May, 1798. 

'' Dear sir : I have written the above not only with the consent, but at the request 


Bilence, while his tearful eye gave the welcome to such 
an home. The mouse was, indeed, in his iron-bound 
. cage ; but, in the United States of America, for Robert 
Morris to have been imprisoned, in character, the bars 
should have been of gold. How is this, Americans ? Is it 
not the condemnation of Manlius on the Capitoline hill, 
a crime T\hich the heathen Roman dared not commit? 
The financier of the Revolution, whose talent^ whose 
credit sustained the cause of his country in that country's 
utmost need ! Whatever may have been his misfortunes, 
say his faults, did not his generous services ^ plead like 
angels, trumpet-tongued, against the deep damnation," 

of the parties, and it is done after consulting Mr. Rotfner, who solemnlj assaretf ns 
that nothing can operate as a detdner but a bail-piece, and I think yon have no snch 
thing to fear ; or if there is any special bail for yon, it is John Baker, on whom yoa 
can safely rely. Come, therefore, my friend, as early in the forenoon as yon can, 
that we may have some conversation before as well as after dinner. We will shot^ 
you how we live here, that you may be prepared to bear your fate, snould It be de- 
cided that you are to'become a boarder at this hotel 

" I am your friend and servant, 

"3fa^ll, 1798. 

' Jno. Nicholson, Esq." 

Mr. Nicholson afterward became a regular inmate of the same "hotel," where he 
edited a newspaper." 

William B. Wood, thd celebrated actor, was a compulsory guest at the same 
" hotel with grated doors," for a short time, and has left on record the following 
account of his interview with Robert Morris there : — 

" Mr. Morris appeared cheerful, returned my salutation in the politest manner, 
but in silence, continuing his walk, and dropping from his hand at a given spot, a 
pebble on each round, until a certain number which he had in his hand was ex- 
hausted. For some mornings the same silence prevailed, until at length, observing 
my languid deportment, he suddenly stopped, inquired whether I was ill, and added 
with something like severity, ' Sir, this is but an ill place for one So sickly, and 
apparently so you,ng* He seemed to wait for some kind of explanation, which I 
found myself either unable or unwilling to give — and then passed on. From this 
time he spoke to me almost daily, and always with great kindness. On one occa- 
sion he unbent much more than usual, and offered some remarks which embraced 
much good counsel. In more than one instance he favored me with friendly notice.' 


of such an home for Ms age? And, when broken-hearted, 
pennyless, friendless, and forgotten, his gray hairs de- 
scended in sorrow to the grave, how was the last duty 
paid to him, to whom we owed so much ? How many 
of those who had basked in the sunshine of his prosperity, 
fed at his ever hospitable board, and drank of his ever 
flowing cup, followed his hearse ? Where the corporate 
bodies — where the long trains of youth who were led up 
to pay their last homage to the republic's benefactor?* 

* Unfortnnatelj onr historj affordi a parallel. Colonel William Barton, of 
Rhode. Island, received a grant of land in Vermont for his BeToIationary serrioes. 
B/ the transfer of some of this land he became entangled in the toils of the law, and 
was imprisoned for debt in Vermont for manj jears, nntil the visit of Lafayette to 
this country in 1825. That illustrious man, hearing of the incarceration of Colenel 
Barton and iu cause, liquidated the claim against him, and restored his fellow- 
soldier to liberty. It was a noble act, and significantly rebuked the Shylock who 
held the patriot in bondage, and clamored for ** the pound of flesh." This circum* 
stance drew from Whittier his glorious poem, The Prisoner for Debt, in which he 
exclaims — 

" What has the gpray-haired prisoner done 1 
Has murder stained his hands with gore ? 
Not so ; his crime 's a fouler one : 

God niudiB the old man poor ! 
For this he shares a felon's cell. 

The fittest earthly type of hell ! 
For this, the boon for which he poured. 
His young blood on the invader's sword. 
And counted light the fearful cost — 
His blood-^ined liberty is lost 
* * * * 

Down with the law that binds him thus ! 

Unworthy freemen, let it find 
No refuge from the withering curse 
Of Grod and human kind ! 

open the prisoner's living tomb. 

And usher from its brooding gloom 

The victims of your savage code 

To the free sun and air of God ! 

Ko longer dare, as crime, to brand 

The chastening of the Almighty's hand 1" 



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Among the patriots, statesmen, and soldiers that Vuv 
ginia contributed to the Congress and armies of the Re- 
volution, Thomas Nelson will ever claim an elevated 
rank. Descended from ancient and highly respectable 
English ancestry. General Nelson was educated in Eng- 
land, and was engaged, prior to the Revolution, in mer- 
cantile concerns, upon an extensive scale, at Torktown, 
in Virginia, strange to say, at that period the importing 
city for Philadelphia.* 

Upon the breaking out of the troubles, Nelson joined 
the cause of the colonies. He was a man of large for- 

* Yorktown is now an inconsiderable Tillage, containini^ about three hundred in- 
habitants. It is still a port of entry, bat commerce has deserted it, and the Tillage is 
going into decay. A conrthonse was built there in the year 1698 ; and an old church 
which was destroyed in 1814, had in it a bell inscribed, " County of York, Vti^ginis, 
1725." The church was built at the close of the previous century, out of the stone 
mail which composes the bluff on which the town stands. The water-scenery at 
Yorktown is Tery fine. The York riTer is there a full mile wide, and from the mins 
or site of the old church, no land is Tisible in the direction of Chesapeake bay, ints 
which the river flows. 


tune^ haying many and valuable estates in different coun- 
ties, particularly the county of Hanover. Greatly be- 
loved in his native colony, he held a high and command- 
ing influence among the people. He threw all into the 
scale of his country, in her struggle for the natural' rights 
of mankind. 

After the battle of Lexington, Virgmia put forth all 
her strength in the senate and the field. The very eUte 
of her statesmen had been sent to the Congress of 1774,* 

* Pailing in their efforts to obtain a redress of their grievances, bj remonstrances 
and petitions, the colonists, in 1774, resolved to call a general congress of represen- 
tatives. These were chosen in the several colonies during the spring and summer, 
and on the fifth of September they assembled, by appointment, in a building known 
as Carpenter's Hall, in Philadelphia. Some of the wisest and best men in America 
were there. Their sessions continued until the twenty-sixth of October ; aud during 
Aat time they discussed the great questions of the day in such manner that the repre- 
sentatives of each colony became well informed respecting the temper of the people 
In general, and were prepared to enter, into that union of effort for independence 
which was soon afterward formed. Twelve of the thirteen colonies were represented. 
Georgia was the exception. The delegates from Virginia were — ^Peyton BandolpV, 
George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Patrick Henry, and Richard Bland. 

The author of these UecoUectiom relates the following anecdote, in connection with 
this Congress, upon the authority of Ludwell Lee, son of Richard Henry Lee : 
'* When the first continental congress assembled at Philadelphia, September, 1774, 
there had been no provision made for the maintenance of the members, while in the 
discharge of iheir public duties. A council being held to determine as to the ways 
and means of effecting this most just and necessary arrangement, Richard Henry 
Lee (the same who afterward, in '76,moved the Declaration of Independence), rose, and 
observed, that as he was assured that every member present was desirous of putting 
the country to the least possible expense, in the maintenance of the Congress, he 
would move, that during the session, the honorable members be fed on wild pigeons, 
that article appearing to be in veiy great abundance, and certainly the very cheapest 
food in the market. 

** Now let the modem reader remember, that this Richard Henry Lee was bred in 
the lap of luxury, educated in Europe, and possessed the most polished and courtly 
manners, while bis seat of Chantilly, which he had just left to obey the high and 
imposing call of his country, was at once the seat of the m^st refined and enlarged 

" This illustrious patriot and statesmen, often congratulated himself in his later life, 
Upon his Jkaud moH<m touching the maintenance of the members of the first Con- 


while the pride of her chivalry took arms in the succeed* 
ing year. Among the illustrious names that composed 
the Virginia delegation to the Roman-like senate of 1776, 
we find the name of Thomas Nelson, junior, who affixed 
his signature to the Declaration of Independence on the 
ever-memorable fourth of July. 

The state of society in the South in the olden time was 
very different from that of modem days, under the 
republic. Under the ancien regime there were but two 
orders in society — the rich and educated, and the poor. 
Hence, the higher classes, as they were then called, held a 
most material influence over those who were not so for- 
tunately situated. Meji of extensive personal influence 
over the minds of the people at large, were all-important 
to the cause of American liberty in the commencement 
and during the whole progress of the Revolution, with 
the view of diffusing and fostering the whig spirit, in 
opposition to the powerful and ably-directed efforts of 
the tories.* 

It is well known to history, that the commander-in- 
chief spared, at a very critical period of the war, an active 
and valued officer (Mifflin), that he might exert his per- 
sonal influence among the people of his native state, to 
recruit the wasted ranks of the anriy.f 

gress, declaring it to have been in paritj of patriotism, not secondai^ to even hu 
immortal resolve in '76, ' That these anited colonies are, and of right ooght to be 
ft«e and independent states.' — Snch was a patriot of onr olden time." 

* The terms whig and tory had then long been nsed in England, as titles of political 
parties, and continae to be so nsed to the present day. The former denoted did 
opposers of royaltj ; the latter indicated its supporters. These terms were intro- 
duced into America two or three jears before the Bevolation broke oot, and becaiM 
the distinctive titles of patriots and loyalists. 

t It was late in the antnmn of 1776, while Washington and his little annj wera 
retreating toward the Delaware, across New Jersey. The army was rapidly melting 


On his return to Virginia from serving in the continen- 
tal Congress, General Nelson exerted himself in keeping 
alive the spirit of the Revolution, which was often flagging 
jQrom the severe disasters that had attended our arms. 
He was also actively employed in organizing a corps of 
cavalry, in which yoimg gentlemen of the first families 
served as volunteers. This corps he commanded up to 
the double invasion of 1781,* when, upon being elected 
governor of the state, he took the command in chief of 
its militia. 

The invasion of Arnold was more immediately preda- 
tory, but that of Comwallis swept like a tempest through 
the devoted commonwealth, already much weakened by 
her untiring exertions to sustain the army of Greene in 
the Carolinas, and to defend the many points of her ter- 
ritory, assailable by the attacks of the enemy's naval 

by desertions and the expiration of terms of enlistment. It was a most gloomj 
period of the contest, and few hoped for success in the field. However, Washin>r. 
Con determined to have personal appeals made to the people for the purpose of 
recruiting his armj, and he sent the eloquent and popular General Mifflin into Penn- 
a/lvania, " to exhort and rouse the militia to come forth in defence of their country." 
In Philadelphia he was very successful, and very soon he was at the head of fifteen 
hundred new recruits, in full march upon Trenton, to join the army under Wash- 

* Early in January, 1781, Benedict Arnold, lealous in the cause of his royal 
purchaser, went to Viiginia with about sixteen hundred British and tory troops, and 
a few armed vessels. He went up the James river, as far as Richmond, and de- 
stroyed much public and private property, and then returned to Portsmouth. In 
April, he accompanied General Philips up the same river, on a desolating expedition. 
They were joined at Petersburg by Comwallis, who had invaded the state from North 
Carolina, and who then took the general command. Lafayette was sent into Vir- 
ginia, and manoeuvred skilfully against this '* double invasion." He was soon fol- 
lowed by Wayne and Steuben. 

t Toward the dose of 1775, British vessels, under the general direction of Lord Dun- 
more, the royal governor of Viiginia, who had been compelled to flee from Williams- 
bug, were instrumental in great ravages along the Virginia coast, especially in the 


The forces under Steuben, Lafayette, and subsequently 
Wayne, were too limited in point of numbers, and too 
much straitened for Supplies of every sort, to be able to 
check the victorious career of the enemy * Indeed, the 
resources of Virginia, great as they originally were, had 
been sadly reduced in the previous campaign by the 
capture of her veteran regiments on the surrender of 
Charleston,"!" by the total discomfiture at Camden,J but, 

vicinity of the capes. Norfolk was burned, and all along tlie Elizabeth river, to 
Hampton roads, a vast amount of property, pablic and private, was destroyed. In 
1779, Sir Gkorj;^ Collier, with land troops, nnder General Mathews, again produced 
in«at distress along the shores of the same waters ; and the armed vessels under 
Arnold, in 1781, were no better than pirates. 

* Comwallis f»enetratcd Virginia beyond Richmond, and destroyed an immense 
amount of property. He sent out marauding parties in every direction, to harass 
the inhabitants, and for several weeks the whole state was kept in great alarm. 
Tarleton and Simcoe, active officers, at the head of enei^tic and well-disciplined 
corps, were busy in all quarters, and Lafayette found it quite impossible to stem 
the torrent of invasion. But when Wayne, with reinforcements, was approaching 
from the north, Comwallis turned his face seaward, and slowly retreated down the 
peninsula toward Williamsburg. 

t In the spring of 1780, Sir Henry Clinton, having arrived at Charleston with a 
large force, borne by a fleet under Admiral Arbuthnot, invested that city. The 
siege went on for several weeks ; the Americans witlun the city being under the 
command of General Lincoln. Finally, Comwallis came with a reinforcement of 
three thousand men. On the ninth of May, a general cannonade from the ships and 
the land batteries commenced, and it was kept up for two days. On the night of 
the eleventh it was perceived that further resistance would be madness. They 
offered to surrender, and on the following day, the army, city, all passed into the 
hands of the conquerors. 

X Qeneral Gates was appointed to the command of the southern army, after die 
surrender of Lincoln at Charleston. Comwallis had been loft in the chief command 
of the British in South Carolina, and Sir Henry Clinton had returned to New York. 
In order to make the subjugation of the South complete, the British army, in three 
divisions, marched into the interior, leaving a garrison for Charieston. One divi- 
sion, nnder Colonel Brown, marched to Augusta, in Georgia; a second, nnder 
Colonel Crager, penetrated the country to Ninety-Six, in Western Carolina ; and a 
third, nnder Lord Bawdon, took post at Camden. Toward the latter place Gates 
approached, early in August. He resolved to fall npon Bawdon on the night of 
the fifteenth of August, and marched from his camp confident of success, for that 
purpose. At the same time, Comwallis (who had hastened to Camden on hearing 


above all, by the enormous depreciation of the paper 
money ; all which causes combined to elevate the hopes 
of the enemy, and cast a shadow over those of the 
friends, of American liberty. To such a wretched state 
of depreciation had the paper money arrived at this 
period, that, in numberless instances, persons were known 
to have concealed their horses and oxen in the woods 
and swamps rather than hire them to the transportation 
department of the army, when the hire was to be ac- 
counted for in continental bills, which had become almost 

of the approach of Gates) and Rawdon, informed of Gates's movement, marched 
northward to fall upon the Americans. The sand was deep, the footfalls were un- 
heard, and the belligerents met in the dark, at Sanders' Creek. The next morning 
a serere battle ensued, the Americans were completely routed, and another southern 
onny was lost. 

• After the Congress had recognised the troops at Boston as a continental army, 
in June, 1775, it became necessary to provide money for its support. Specie suf- 
ficient could not be had, and they i«sorted to the issue of bills of credit. These 
emissions were made from time to time, as the wants of the public service demanded, 
and for a while all went on well. But it was soon found that it would be difficult, 
if not impossible, for the Congress to provide means for their redemption in specie, 
as promised upon their face, and they began to' depreciate. The last emission was 
early in 1780, and at the close of that year they were almost worthless. At that 
lime the enormous sum of two hundred millions of dollars had been issued. The 
following table shows the scale of depreciation :— 

Yalub 07 $100 iH Specib nr Coktiitbi^al Movbt. 
V 777. 177a 1779. 1780. 1781. 

January 9105 ^. .$325 $742 $2934 $7400 

Tebmary 107 .\. 350 868 8322 7500 

March 109 370 1000 3736 0000 

April 112 400 1104 4000 

Hay 115 400 1215 4600. 

June 120 400 1342 6400. 

July 125 425 1477 8900. 

August 150 450 1630 7000. 

September 175 475 1800 7100. 

October 276 500 2080 7200. 

November 800 545 2308 7300. 

December 810 634 2598 7400. 


Here the patriotic Nelson set a noble example; his 
crops were left to their £stte^ his ploughs left in the ftur- 
rows, while the teams were harnessed to the cannon and 
munitions of war moving to the investment of Yorktown. 
From his personal virtues^ he had the most commanding 
influence in the state; he exerted it in rall3dng her sons, 
when a powerful foe invaded her soil. His weight of 
character enabled him to unlock the coflfers of avarice, 
and give their hoards to the aid of his country, when 
that country had neither a dollar in her treasury, nor 
credit to obtain one. 

At the ever-memorable siege of Yorktown * Governor 
Nelson rendered important services in blockading the 
enemy previous to the arrival of the combined army and 
the fleets of France. It was on the venerable Lafayette's 
last visit to Mount Yemon, in 1825, that he related to 
the author of these Memoirs a touching anecdote of 
Governor Nelson, which we shall give in the good Gen- 
eral's own words: ^I had just finished a battery," said 
the nation's guest^ * mounted with heavy pieces; but 
before I opened on the town, I requested the attendance 
of the governor of Virginia, not only as a compliment 
due to the chief magistrate of the state in which I was 
serving, but from his accurate knowledge of the localities 
of a place in which he had spent the greater part of his 
life. *To what particular spot would your excellency 
direct that we should point the cannon,' I asked. 
^ There,' promptly replied the noble-minded, patariotic 
Nelson, * to that house ; it is mine, and is, now that the 
secretary's is nearly knocked to pieces, the best one in 
the town ; and there you will be almost certain to find 

• See chapter Ti. 


Lord Comwallis and the Britii^h headquarters. Fire 
upon it, my dear marquis, and never spare a particle of 
my property so long as it aflFords a comfort or a shelter 
to the enemies of my country.' The governor then 
rode away, leaving us all charmed with an instance of 
devotional patriotism that would have shed a lustre upon 
the piurest ages of Grecian or Roman virtue."* 

Another anecdote we will present to our readers ere 
we close this brief memoir. " During the campaign of 
1781, when the ruined state of the finances had caused 
everything like hard money to have almost entirely 
disappeared, Nelson learned that an old Scotchman named 

R y had a considerable sum in gold, which, like most 

oilier moneyed persons of that period, he kept carefully 
concealed. The governor waited upon the man of gold, 
a rara avis in those times, and begged and prayed for a 

loan on behalf of the state. R was inexorable, saying, 

' I ken naething of your goovemment, but if ye wuU ha' 
the siller for youself, general, de'il take me but every 
bawbee of it is at your service.' Nelson accepted the 
offer, and obtained on his own bond, and by his own per- 
sonal influence, a loan for the state of Virginia, when 
that prominent state had neither a coin in her treasury, 
nor credit to obtain one. The governor received the 

* When I visiied ToAkOwn a few years ago, GoTenior Nelson's house was jet 
standing, and was oocnpied bj his grandson. It was a large, two storied brick 
bnilding, fronting the main street of the town, a short distance from the rirer baDk. 
It bore many scars of the cannonade and bombardment allnded to in the text ; and 
in the yard, in front, lay an nnexploded bombshell, cast there at the time of the 
siege. A few feet from the door, was a fine laorel tree, from whose boughs a hand- 
some dric wreath was made, on the occasion of Lafayette's visit there in 18S4. The 
wreath was placed npon the brow of the nation's gnest, when he instantly remored 
It, and laid it npon that of Colonel Nicholas Fish, of the ReyoKition, who aocompa- 
niod him, remarking that no one was better entitled to wear the mark of honor 
than he. 


gold, and quickly did its circulation give a new and 
cheering aspect to our destinies at that momentous 

Aiud now, it would be naturally asked, who paid the 
bond and its acciunulated interest? Posterity would 
answer, a grateful and admiring country, surely. Say, 
rather, the impoverished family of the patriot This, 
with other facts of equal moment, caused the author of 
these Memoirs to blush for his country, when, during the 
triumph of Lafayette, and upon his last visit to Moimt 
Vernon, the veteran introduced the subject of Nelson, 
spoke in the most ardent and enthusiastic terms of his 
gallant services, untiring patriotism, and his unexampled 
and devotional sacrifices for the cause of American In- 
dependence ; and presumed that a grateful and admiring 
nation had long since rewarded the descendants of his 
old companion-in-arms, his beloved and bosom friend. 

It will be matter of interest to all future ages of the 
Republic, to learn who of the many worthies that flour^ 
ished in the age of Washington were nearest to the 
heart of the Pater PatridB. All tradition will agree upon 
Greene and Robert Morris. But if they were in the 
heart's core of the chief, as assuredly they were. Nelson, 
of Virginia, was at their side. Beloved in life, Washing- 
ton showed his esteem for Nelson's memory by appoint- 
ing the son, named after the sire, as one of the secreta- 
ries to the first president of the United States, on the 
commencement of the federal government in 1789. 

Such was Nelson, of Virginia, who, in times that tried 
men's souls, pledged for his country in the halls of her 
Independence, his life, and perilled it in her battle-fields; 
pledged his fortime, and lavished it in his country's 


cause ; pledged his sacred honor, and redeemed it by a 
life and actions honored among the most honored * 

Such was a patriot, statesman, and soldier of the 
American Revolution — the admired of his countrymen, 
the beloved of Washington and Lafayette-^whose re- 
spected descendants have appealed, in the name of the 
services and sacrifices of their ancestor, to the justice and 
magnanimity of a free, powerful, and prosperous empire. 

Having lived to witness the consummation of that In- 
dependence, the declaration of which his pen had signed, 
and achievements for which his sword had earned, he 
closed his eyes in peacci, leaving a very numerous family, 
and a fortune greatly impaired, by the vast sacrifices he 
had made for American liberty. And will the American 
reader believe, that the widow of such a patriot and such 
a man, lives in Virginia — that very Virginia on which 
the name and character of Nelson sheds unfading lustre 
— that this venerable relict, now on the verge of human 
life, blind and poor, has yet to learn whether an emanci- 
pated country can be just, more than forty years not 
having sufficed to show them, whether it can be grateful'\ 

* GoYernor Nelson was a member of the continental Congress in 1776, and 
signed the Declaration of Independence. He occupied a seat in that body daring 
the first half of the war ; and in 1 781, he was elected governor of Virginia. Because 
he exercised his prerogative, as goremor of the state, in impressing men into the 
military service, on the occasion of the siege of Torktown, many influential persons 
were offended, and many mortal enemies were created. But he outlived all the 
attacks of malice, and died on the fourth of January, 1789, in the fiftieth year of his 
age. His remains, with many others of his family, repose in the old churchyard at 

t This sketch was first published in the National Intdligencerf on the third of 
Afaxch. 1836. 




KiNO^B CoLLvos—BsooMn ▲ PoLinoAL Wbitbb wmiM IX CtoLLXOX— PESDIOnOH OOII* 

An Abtillut Company posmko— Hn bkadt Saoutiob— Hn Vncws psxTioim vo tbm 
Battlb on Lono Island — Anontmovs Lrtxb— Hamilton at Bbunbitiox— Intbbtibw 
WITH WAsniN«T0N — Hamilton ani> Lauebnb — Wabhinoton in urn Tint— Hamilton 
AT Monmovth— BirmrBB bbtwbbn Washinoton and Hamilton— Hamilton at Tobx« 
TOWN— Hb Studibb Law— Bboomxs a Lboslatob— Mbmbbb of thb Fbdxbal Con- 
tention OP 1787 — Hn Zxal— Hamilton appointed Sbobetaet of the Texasvet— 
MoEEis*B Opinion op bim — Gallatin's Extlooiitm — Bbtieement to Pexyate Life— 
Aneodotx — Hamilton^ Pebdxotion. 

In the illustrious Alexander Hamilton were united the 
patriot, the soldier, the statesman, the jurist, the orator, 
and philosopher, and he was great in them all. Bom in 
the island of Nevis, the first rudiments of his education 
were obtained in Santa Cruz, fix)m which, at a very early 
age, he came to America, and completed his studies at 
Columbia college, in New York * In that city the 
Revolution found the young West Indian engaged in his 

• At that time, and op to the dose of the ReToIation, it was called King's col- 
lege, the title by which it was incorporated by Greorge the Second. Young Hanul- 
t*n came to New York in the year 1772, and soon afterward prepared for college. 
This preparation occupied a year, and he was about to enter the college at Prince- 
ton, when some of its rules not meeting his views, he entered King's college, 
in the city of New York. The Reverend Myles Cooper, D. D., was Uie president, 
having succeeded Doctor Johnson in 1763. At the very beginning, young Hamil- 
ton was marked as an extraordinary youth. He was between sixteen and seventten 
years of age when he entered that institution. 


collegiate studies^ and he left the halls of learning for 
the camp. 

Among the efiTorts then makirg in behalf of the royal 
cause in New York, were a series of able essays, published 
with a view to alarm the patriots as to a rupture with 
the mother-country, urging that, in such an event, all 
supplies of clothing would be withheld, and thus the most 
serious privations be endured by the colonists.* Young 
Hamilton wrote a powerful reply to these essays, in 
which he.proved that resources abounded in the country ; 
and then, for the first time in the world, it was left for 
this precocious genius to predict that the cotton^lant could 
and would be grown in the sotdhem cohnieSy and would t/ield an 
abundance of the raw material for the mppjy of our wanis.f 

* These essays were written chiefly bj cler^gymen of the Chnrch of Enf^land. 
Among them were Doctor Cooper of the college, Samuel Seabary (afterward a New 
England bishop), Doctor Charles Inglis, Doctor Samael Auchmuty, and Doctor 
Chandler. John Holt, who published a warm whig newspaper, had drawn upon 
himself the invectives of all the ministerial writers ; and these, at first, Hamilton 
burlesqued in doggerel rhyme, with great wit and humor. But afterward, when the 
aspect of affairs became more serious, he replied to them with irresistible logic. 
Among the most able of these was his "Full Vindication of the Measures of Con- 
gress from the Calumnies of their Enemies," &c., written in December, 1774, in 
reply to Seabury, who wrote over the signature of " A Westchester Farmer," he 
being a eleigyman in that county at the time. 

t See Hamilton's replies to the ** Westchester Farmer" (Mr. Seabury), Hamilton's 
works, vol. ii., first and second articles. In the second, '* The Farmer Refuted," 
he says, ** with respect to cotton, yon do not pretend to deny that a sufficient quan- 
tity of that might be produced. Several of the southern colonies are so favorable to 
it, that with due cultivation, in a couple of years, they would afford enough to clothe 
the whole continent." It must be remembered that at the time this was written, 
the growth of cotton in the colonies was a mere experiment, and only men of far- 
seeing discernment, like this extraordinary young man, then dreamed of its becom' 
ing one of our great staples. It was not until twenty years afterward, when Whit- 
ney's cotton-gin produced a new epoch in our commercial history, that the annual 
product of cotton in all North America became a considerable item in our statistics 
of production. Tip to that time, it was only cultivated for family use in the South. 
It is true that seven bags of cotton were sent to Europe from Charleston, as early 


The troubles increasing, Mr. Hamilton spoke of revisit- 
ing the West Indies, with a view to recruit his finances. 
This the patriots of New York would not hear of for a 
moment ; they had witnessed the powers of his pen, and 
wished him lo try the temper of his sword, ^ Well, my 
friends," said the gallant youth, " if you are determined 
that I shall remain among you, and take part in your 
just and holy cause, you must raise for me a full com- 
pany of artillery." This was done, and Captain Hamil- 
ton lost no time in enlisting the services of several vet- 
eran artillerists, and, by constant drilling, soon brought 
his company into a very high state of order and dis- 

Hamilton was in New York, diligently engaged in his 
military duties when the Asia, Captain Vandeput, fired 
upon the city.f Retreat becoming necessary, Hamilton 

as 1747, and two thousand pounds more in 1770, four years Vbfore Hamilton wrt)te. 
It is a remarkable fact, that when, ten years after he wrote (1784), seventj-one bags 
were shipped, thej were seized by the British government, on the ground that 
America could not produce an amount so great 

* Hamilton had already joined a volunteer corps, commanded by Captain Flem- 
ing, formerly an adjutant in the British service, and an exact disciplinarian. Under 
his command he acquired considerable knowledge of the rudiments of a military 
education. They assumed the name of " Hearts of Oak," and they exercised every 
morning, before the hour for study or recitation at the college, in the churchyard of 
St. George's chapel, in Beekman .street Their uniforms were green, and on their 
leathern caps was the inscription "Freedom or" In March, 1776, Hamil- 
ton became captain of artillery in a New York regiment. In the summer following. 
General Greene's attention was one day arrested, as he was crossing '* The Fiel^" 
(now Ciiy Hall park), by the able movements of a company of artillery, com- 
manded by a mere youth. It was Hamilton. Greene conversed with him a few 
minutes, and discovered evidences of extraordinary ability. He invited him to 
his quarters, cultivated his acquaintance, and introduced him afterward to Wash- 

t That was in August, 1775. The Asia was a British ship-of-war that lay in the 
harbor of New York to overawe the Sons of Liberty, as the whigs were called. At 
that time, the republican movements in Now York were guided by a committee of 


here displayed that noble disinterestedness and disregard 
of self that adorned all the subsequent actions, whether 
public or private, of his illustrious life. A cart, drawn 
by a single horse, contained the baggage of this young 
oflficer. • He ordered his baggage to be abandoned, and 
the horse that drew it to be harnessed to the cannon * 

Hamilton's military talents were apparent in very 
early life. Previous to the battle of Long Island, he 
crossed over to Brooklyn, and thence, by examining the 
positions of the American forces with a military eye, he 
became convinced that with such materials as composed 
the American army, a conflict with troops which con- 
sisted of aU soldiers would be hopeless of success. Filled 
with these ideas, Hamilton addressed an anonymous letter 
to the commander-in-chief, detaiUng many and forcible 
arguments against risking an action, and warmly recom- 
mending a retreat to the strong grounds of the main- 
One Hundred. Gorcmor Tryon'a oparse was so decidedly hostile to the Sons of 
Liberty, and war now appeared so ineri table, that the committee of One Hundred 
determined to remove the cannon from the grand battery to a place of safety, for 
their own nse. Captain John Lamb was directed to perform the act, assisted by his 
own artillery company, and an independent corps under Colonel Lasher ; and^ with a 
body of citizens led by Isaac Sears (better known as King Sears), he proceeded to the 
work on the evening of the twenty-third of August. Captain Vandeput of the Ana 
had been informed of the intended movement, and sent a barge filled with armed men 
to watch die patriots. These were fired upon, when Vandeput opened his ports, and 
hurled three round shot into the city, spreading great alarm among the inhabitants. 
The church bells were then rung, and soon a broadside came from the Asia, Terror 
filled the people, bat the sturdy whigs removed every gun, in face of the cannonade. 
Hamilton was among the actors, at the head of fifteen of the college students. They 
carried two of the six-pound cannon to the college green and buried them, in spite 
of the menaces of Dr. Cooper. These stood at the gateway of the college until it 
was demolished in 1856. 

* In this the author evidently alludes to the retreat from the lines at Brookl^m, 
a year later, after the disastrous battle there, when the whole American army with- 
drew across the East river, to New York, under cover of the night and a dense fog 
in the morning. 


land. The letter created no little surprise in the mind 
of the general, but it was mixed with respect for the 
talent displayed by the writer. The disastrous battle of 
Long Island is matter of history.* 

Hamilton's artillery joined the American army, and 
took part in the memorable retreat through the Jerseyaf 
It was at the passage of the Raritan, near Brunswick, 
that Hamilton first attracted the notice of the com- 
mander-in-chief, who, while posted on the river bank, and 
contemplating with anxiety the passage of the troops^ 
was charmed by the brilliant courage and admirable skill 
displayed by a young officer of artillery, who directed a 
battery against the enemy's advanced columns that 
pressed upon the Americans in their retreat by the ford. J 
The general ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Fitzgerald, his 
aid-de-camp, to ascertain who this young officer was, and 
bid him repair to headquarters at the first halt of the 

At the interview that ensued, Washington quickly 

* This occurred on the twenty-seyenth of Augast, 1776. The British and Hes- 
sian troops landed from Staten Island, near the present Fort Hamilton, on Long 
Island, and marching ap, attacked the Americans, a large portion of whom were 
quite strongly intrenched near Brooklyn. About five hundred Americans were 
killed or wounded in the engagement, and eleven hundred were made prisoner*. 

t A combined force of British and Hessians attacked Fort Washington toward 
the upper end of York islan^ and captured it on the sixteenth of November. More 
than two thousand Americalv ^^resv-made prisoners. Washington, with a large 
portion of the American army, was in the vicinity of Fort Lee, on the Jersey shore, 
nearly opposite. Two dajrs afterward, Lord Cornwah^. with six thousand troopi, 
crossed the Hudson to attack Washington. Fort Lee wa^bandoned, and for three 
weeks the Americans fled before the British across New Jei^, toward the Dela- 
ware. ^'^ 

X Washington hoped to make a successful stand at Brunswick, but his army' was 
rapidly dissolving, and was not* strong enough to risk an engagement. While the 
broken army was retreating from the village, Hamilton, with his field-pieces planted 
on the highest ground there, effectually checked the advance of the enemy, and gaw 
Washington time to get the start by several hours. 


discovered in the young patriot and warrior those emi- 
nent qualities of the head and heart that shed such a 
renown upon the actions of his after life. From that 
interview Washington " marked him for his own " 

The American commander-in-chief was peculiarly happy 
in the selection of the officers of his military family, of 
his guard, &c., save in a solitary instanqe, and in that 
instance the individual served but for a very short time.* 
The members of the military family and of the Life- 
Guard were gentlemen of the first order in intellect, 
patriotism, and all right soldierly qualities — they were 
attached to the chief and to each other. Hamilton and 
Laurens were kindred spirits, brothers alike in arms, in 
afiection, and in accomplishments, and might be styled 
the preux ehevaUera of the American army. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton was at the side of the 
chief during the most eventful periods of the Kevolution- 
ary war. In the memorable campaigns of 1777 and 
1778, the habit at the headquarters was for the general 
to dismiss his officers at a very late hour of the night to 
snatch a little repose, while he, the man of mighty labors, 
drawing his cloak around him, and trimming his lamp, 
would throw himself upon a hard couch, not to sleep, but 
to think. Close to his master (wrapped in a blanket^ 
but *^all accoutred'* for instant service) snored the stout 
yet active form of BUb/y the celebrated body-servant 
during the whole of the Revolutionary war.f 

At this late lone hour, silence reigned in the head- 
quarters, broken only by the measured pacing of the 

* Colonel Aaron Ban*. He was in Washington's military family at the close of 
Jane, 1776, and entered that of General Patnam earlj in Jaly. 
t Seepage 157. 


sentinels, and the oft-repeated cry of ^ all's well f when 
suddenly the sound of a horse-tramp, at speed, is borne 
upon the night wind, then the challenging of the guard, 
and the passing the word of an express from the lines to 
tiie commander-in-chief The despatches being opened 
and read, there would be heard in the calm deep tones 
of that voice, so well remembered by the good and the 
brave in the old days of our country's trial, the command 
of the chief to his now watchful attendant, ^ CaU Colonel 

The remarkable conduct of the aid-de-camp during the 
exciting interview of Washington and Major-General 
Lee, on the field of Monmouth, as has been related ia 
another part of this work, caused no little sensation in 
the army at that time. It was indeed a generous burst 
of enthusiasm, emanating from a noble and gallant spirit^ 
that, pure in its own devotion to the cause of liberty, 
viewed with indignation and abhorrence even the sus- 
picion of treachery in another. It is somewhat singular 
that there were several distinguished officers of the 
American army, who, judging from events at the close of 
the campaign of 1776, anticipated some defection on the 
part of Lee, on his return from captivity, and rejoining 
his former colors; yet it was left for a member of a 
diflferent cloth from the military to give the first alarm 
to the commander-in-<}hief on this momentous subject* 

From a difficulty that occurred m 1780, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Hamilton retired from the headquarters and 
assumed his rank in the line, in the command of a bat- 
talion of light-infantry, then the crack corps of the army.f 

* See chapter t. Alao note on page 292. 
t See note on page 241. 


With this command he marched to the South in 1781. 
At the siege of Yorktown, it was determined to storm 
the two advanced redoubts of the enemy, and the selec- 
tion of officers and men for this daring achievement was 
intrusted to Major-General the Marquis de Lafayette, 
The marquis lost no time in choosing as the officer who 
was to lead the assault Lieutenant-Colonel Gimat, a gal- 
lant Frenchman, who had been attached to the marquis's 
military family * Hamilton, belonging to the division 
of light-infantry commanded by Lafayette, was about to 
prefer his claim, when his warmest friends and admirers 
dissuaded him, owing, as they said, to ihe vast influences 
in favor of the Frenchman, from the presence of a 
splendid French fleet and army, and the universal desire 
of doing every possible honor to our generous and gal- 
lant allies. Hamilton observed, " I am aware that I have 
mighty influences to contend with, but I feel assured that 
Washington is inflexibly just I will not urge my claim 
on the plea of my long and faithful services, co-eval with 
nearly the whole war ; I will only plead my rank." He 
accordingly repaired to headquarters. The general re- 
ceived his former and favorite aid-de-camp with great 
cordiality and kindness, listened patiently to his repre- 
sentations, and finally granted his claims; and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Hamilton, in the presence of three armies, led the 
assault on the redoubt on the night of the memorable 
fourteenth of October, with a brilliancy of courage and 
success that could not be surpassed.f 

As the Americans mounted the works, the cry of the 

* Colonel Gimat was Lafayette's chief aid-de-camp. He was with the marquis 
at the Brandy wine, and helped to bear his wonnded general from the field, 
t See page 240. 


soldiers was, ^Remember New London!" alluding to the 
cruel massacre of the American troops at FortOriswold 
the year before. When the redoubt was carried, the 
vanquished Britons fell on their knees, momently ex- 
pecting the exterminating bayonet; but not a man was 
injured, when no longer resisting. For Hamilton, who 
commanded, and Lieutenant-Colonel Laurens, who par- 
ticipated as a volunteer on this brilliant occasion, courage 
and mercy have entwined a wreath of laurel that will 
never fade.* 

Shortly after the surrender of Yorktown, Colonel Ham- 
ilton retired from the army, preserving his rank, but 
decUning aU pay or emolument^ and commenced the study 
of the law. He was chosen to a seat in the continental 
Congress on the twenty-second of July, 1782, where he 
remained about a year. While a member of that body, 
he wrote a series of essays of great ability, showing the 
defects of the old system of government, and recom- 
mending a convention with a view to an entirely new 
constitution, government, and laws.f He was elected a 

* This is mentioned in the text on page 241, and commented upon in a note on 
page 242, which see. 

t This proposition for a general convention was submitted to the legislature of 
New York, before his election to the continental Congress. He had written a series 
of essays on public matters for London's New York Packet, printed at FishkiU, in 
Duchess county, under the general title of The Continentalist, in which the defects 
of the Artides of Confederation were ably discussed ; and finally he brought the sub- 
' ject before the state legislature, then in session at Poughkeepsie. Tliat body, on 
Sunday ,the twenty-ftrst of July, 1 782, passed a series of resolutions, in the laat of which 
it was remarked, that " it is essential to the common welfare, that there should be 
as soon as possible, a conference of the whole on the subject, and that it would be 
advisable for this purpose to propose to Ck>ngreB6 to reeommend, and to each state 
to adopt, the measure of assembling a obnbral ooirvBNTioir of thx statis, 
specially authorised to revive and amend the cokfedbratioit, reserving Uie ty^t 
to the respective legislatures to ratify their determination." On the following day 
the legislature chose James Buane, William Floyd, John Morin Scott, EsraL'Hom* 
medieu, and Alexander Hamilton, delegates to the continental Congress. 


member of the convention of 1787, and waa one of the 
brightest stars in that constellation of patriots and states- 
men that formed the present happy constitution of the 
United States.* 

Hamilton's labors by no means ended with the conven- 
tion of 1787. It required all his zeal and eloquence to 
stem the torrent of opposition from Governor CHinton 
and others, up to the time of the final adoption of the 
constitution by the state of New Tork.f 

In 1789, when the first president was on his way to 
the seat of the new government, he stopped in Phila- 
delphia at the house of Robert Morris, and while consult- 
ing with that eminent patriot and benefactor of America^ 
as to the members of the first cabinet, Washington ob- 
served, *^The treasury, Morris, will of course be your 
berth. After your invaluable services as financier of the 
Revolution, no one can pretend to contest the office of 
secretary of the treasury with you." Robert Morris 
respectftilly but firmly declined the appointment, on the 
ground of his private affairs, and then said, ^ But, my 
dear general, you will be no loser by my declining the 

* The recommendadoii of the legislatnre of New York, in 1782, on Hanrilton's 
inggestion, was fioallj carried oat in 1787. In Maj of that year, delegates from all 
the states, except New Hampshire and Vermont, assembled at Philadelphia. 
Washington was a delegate from Virginia ; and on motion of Robert Morris, he was 
chosen president of the convention. On the twelfth of September following, the 
present ConstihUion of the United States (except a few amendments since) was 

tin the year 1788, when the Federal Constitntion was before the people of the 
seTeral states for consideration, it met with much opposition* This oppostUon, 
which at one time promised to prevent its ratification by a majority of the states, 
was ably met by a series of articles from the pens of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, 
■inoe collected nnder the general title of The Federalist, Of the eighty-five nnmbeis 
which compose The Federalist, Hamilton wrote fiffy-ona, Madison twenty-onM, and 
Jay five. 


secretarysliip of the treasury, for I can recommend to 
you a far cleverer fellow than I am for your minister of 
finance, in the person of your former aid-de-camp, Colonel 
Hamilton." The president was amazed, and continued, 
^1 always knew Colonel Hamilton to be a man of supe- 
rior talents, but never supposed that he had any knowl- 
edge of finance.** To which Morris replied, ^ He knows 
everything, sir ; to a mind like his nothing comes amiss." 
Robert Morris, indeed, had had ample proofs of Hamil- 
ton's talents in financial matters, the financier having re- 
ceived fi'om the soldier many and important suggestions, 
plans, and estimates touching the organization and es- 
tablishment of the bank of North America, in 1780.* 

Thus did Alexander Hamilton, from amid the stirring 
duties of a camp, devote the vast and varied powers of 
his mind to the organization of a system of finance, as 
connected with banking operations, that proved of inesti- 
mable service to the cause of the Revolution. 

Washington hesitated not a moment in making the 
appointment of secretary of the treasury agreeably ix> 
the reconunendation of Morris ; for assuredly there was 

* In May, 1781, Mr. Morris Bnbmitted to Congress a plan for a national bank, 
with a capital of fonr hundred thoasand dollars. Congress approved of the plan, 
offered to incorporate the subscribers by the name of the President and Directors of 
tha Bank of North America, and decreed that the bills should be receivable in pay- 
ment of all taxes, duties, and debts due the United States. This bank, the first in 
the United States, went into successful operation in December, 1781. It greatly 
assisted in the restoration of the credit of the government, and was of efficient service 
in the financial affairs of the country during the remainder of the war. To secure 
the public confidence for the bank, there was a snbscription among the citizens (n 
the form of bonds obliging them to pay, if it should become necessary, in gold and 
silver, the amounts annexed to their names, to fulfil the engagements of the bank 
As WQ have elsewhere observed, Mr. Morris headed the list with fifty thousand dol- 
lars. There were ninety-six subscribers who gave their bonds. Their names maj 
be seen in the Penns^vania Padeet, Jane, 1781. 


none, no, not one of the many worthies of the Revolution 
who stood higher in the esteem, or approached nearer to 
the heart of the chief than Eobert Morris, the noble and 
generous benefactor of America in the darkest hours of 
her destiny. 

On the very day of the interesting event we have just 
related, Mr. Dallas met Hamilton in the street and ad- 
dressed him with, ^ Well, colonel, can you tell me who 
will be the members of the cabinet T — ^^* Really, my dear 
sir, replied the colonel, " I can not tell you who will, but 
I can very readily tell you of one who will not be of the 
number, and that one is your humble servant " He had 
not, at that moment, the remotest idea that Washington 
had again in peace, as in war, " marked him for his own." 

The very best eulogium that can be pronounced upon 
the fiscal department of the United States, as organized 
by Alexander Hamilton, is in the remarks of the Hon. 
Albert Gallatin, a political rival, and the most distin- 
guished financier of the successors of the first secretary 
of the treasury. Mr. Gallatin has magnanimously de- 
clared that all secretaries of the treasury of the United 
States, since the first, enjoyed a sinecure, the genius and 
labors of Hamilton having created and arranged every- 
thing that was requisite and necessary for the successful 
operation of the department.* 

In January, 1795, Hamilton resigned his seat in the 

* ICr. Gallatin was a natire of Genera, Switzerland, and came to America in 
1780, at tlie age of eighteen yean. He was a relative of M. Necker, the celebrated 
French minister of finance. He entered the continental army, and at the close, set- 
tled in Pennsylrania. He was chosen a member of Congress in 1793, and in 1801 
Mr. Jefferson called him to his cabinet as secretary of the treasury. He remained 
in that office nnttl 1813, when he became a special envoy to negotiate for peace with 
Great Britain. He represented onr goremment in France from 1816 nntil 1823. 
ne died in 1849 at the age Qf more than eighty-eight years. * 


cabinet aud retired to private life. It was our good for- 
tune to be abnost domesticated in the family of this great 
man^ and to see and know much of him in the olden 
time. Among the many and imposing recollections of 
the great age of the Republic that are graven upon our 
memory, and, mellowed by time, cheer by their venera- 
ble and benign influences our evening of life, we call up 
with peculiar pleasm^e a reminiscence of the days of the 
first presidency embracing the resignation of Hamilton^ 
It was at the presidential mansion that the ex-sec- 
retary of the treasury came into the room where Mr. 
Lear,* Major Jackson,f and the other gentlemen of the 
president's family were sitting. With the usual smile 
upon his countenance he observed : " Congratulate me, 
my good friends, for I am no longer a public man ; the 
president has at length consented to accept my resigna* 
tion, and I am once more a private citizen.** The gentle- 
men replied that they could perceive no cause for rejoicing 
in an event that would deprive the government and the 
coimtry of the late secretary's valuable services. Ham- 
ilton continued : ^ I am not worth exceeding five hundred rfW- 
lars in the world; my dender fortune and the bed year% of my 
Ufe have been devoted to the service of my adopted cotmtry ; a 
rising famxly hath its claims^ Glancing his eye upon a 
small book that lay on the table, he took it up and ob- 
served: "Ah, this is the constitution. Now, mark my 
words : So Vmg as we are a young and virtuous peopUy this m- 
strument wiS bind us together in mtdualivierestSymuttwl welfare^ 
and mutual happiness ; but when we become old and corrupt U 
wiB bind us no longer*^ 

* TobiM Lear, Washington's prirate seeretaiy. 

t Major William Jackson, one of the president's mllitarj aids. 


Such were the prophetic words of Alexander Hamilton, 
uttered half a century ago, and in the very dawn of our 
existence as a nation. Let the Americans write them in 
their books and treasure them in their hearts. Another 
half century, and they may be regarded as truths * 

' What a spectacle does this touching reminiscence pre- 
sent to the Americans and their posterity ! A great man 
of the Revolution, the native of a foreign isle, who had 
employed his pen and drawn his sword in the cause of 
liberty before, a beard had grown upon his chin ; re- 
nowned alike in senates and in the field, in the halls of 
legislation and the * ranks of death,'* proudly acknow- 
ledging his honorable poverty, the result of his many and 
glorious services, and resigning one of the highest and 
most dignified offices in the government, to retire as a pri* 
vate citizen to labor for the support of a rising family. 

Of a truth, upon the Roman model, aye, and that of the 
purest and palmiest days of the mistress of the ancient 
world, were formed the patriots, statesmen, and warriors 
of the American Revolution. Worthy, indeed, are they 
to be ranked with the purest and noblest models of an- 
cient virtue and heroism, whom generations yet unborn 
will hail as the fathers of liberty and founders of an em- 

With these reminiscences, endeared to us by many 
venerable associations of our other days, and which we 
offer as an humble tribute to the fame and memory of 
him who was a master-spirit among the great and re- 
nowned that adorned the age of Washington, we close 
oinr brief memoir. 

^ This was first pablished in the Nxtional TnteUigenoer, on the twentj fourth of 
Fefamaiy, 184^ 





Waahinotoii'b Saoaoitt ih ms Bslxttioh of OrrxoxBS— HisFATOBxns— Bistb of Lsb — 
Anscdots of Ln at PsiKonov— His Pxbsok— Hi Joxvs thv Axxt— His Exploit at 
Pavlus' Hook— Commavdxb of a Pabtiban Goxps — HisOvalxfioatiorb—His Cobfs— 
Hn Offioxbs — His Sxbticxs vicdbb Gbxxkb— Bbtxxxmbiit fbom thb Abut— His Mab- 
BiAGB—His GzYiL Cabbbb— Thb WnnxxT Iksubbbotiov— Pibokhbt'S Bbxabks — Lbb's 
Obatxob oh tbx Dbath of Washibotoh — His Bpboulatzobb abs LoasBS—His Dbatb 
—Ha ExoaiTBHOB IK Spbxoh A2n» Bbadixbbs as a Wbxtbb. 

That Washington was eminently fortunate, and showed 
his rare and penetrating judgment of mankind, in his 
selections of oflBcers, as well for important commands, as 
for members of his military family, we may learn from 
the history of our olden times. Among many senior 
worthies, the illustrious names of Greene, Wayne, and 
Morgan, claim prominent rank, while of the young aspir- 
ants in arms, whom the chief may be said to have ushered 
to fame, were Lafayette, Hamilton, Pinckney, Laurens, 
and Lee. To these, how many more might be added, 
on whom the merit-discerning eye of the chief was well- 
known to have beamed with peculiar esteem and favor ; 
eia William Washington* — a namesake, but more relate'd 

• William Washington was called " the modern Marcellns/' " tlie sword of his 
country,*' and other names indicatiYe of his soldierly qualities. He was a son of 
Bailey Washington, of Stafford coanty, Vli^nia, where he was bom, on the twenty, 
eighth of Febmary, 1752. He was educated for the chorch, but was led into the 
field of politics at the beginning of the Revolution. He entered the army as captain 
under Colonel (afterward Qeneral) Hugh Mercer, and was first in battle on Long 
Island. He distinguished himself at Trenton, and was with Merce* when he fell al 


by glory, than lineage — the gallant, gay, Otho Williams,''' 
Watty Stewart,f Cadwalader,;]: and many, many others. 
Our purpose is, to attempt a brief memoir of Lee. 

Princeton. He was promoted to major in Colonel Baylor's cayaliy corps, and was 
with him when General Graj made his roardcrons attack npon the corps at Tappan, 
in 1778. The following year he joined the army nnder Lincoln, at the South, and 
was very active as commander of horse, in the vicinity of Charleston, daring the 
siege in 1780. He became attached to the division of General Morgan, and fou<rht 
bravely with him at the Cowpens. For his valor there, Congress voted him a silver 
medal. He accompanied Greene in his celebrated retreat, and again fought bravely 
at Gailford coarthonse. At Hobkirk's hill and Eataw he behaved gallantly. At 
the latter place he was made prisoner, and was a captive till the close of the war. 
While in captivity at Charleston, he became attached to a young lady there, man-led 
her, and settled in Charleston. He became conspicuous as a legislator, but declined 
being a candidate for governor, chiefly because he could not make a speech. General 
Washington, in 1798, chose Colonel Washington to be one of his staff, with the 
rank of brigadier. He died on the sixth of March, 1810. 

* Otho Holland Williams was bom in Prince George county, Maryland, in 1748. 
His ancestors were Welsh, and came to America soon after Lord Baltimore became 
proprietor of the province of Maryland. He was left an orphan at twelve years of 
age. He was a resident of Frederick county when the war of the Revolution began, 
where he entered the military service as lieutenant of a rifle corps under Colonel 
Michael Cresap, and with that officer he went to Boston. He was afterward pro- 
moted to the command of his company. In 1776 he was promoted to major, and 
fought at Fort Washington with distinction. In that engagement he was wounded 
and captured, and for some time experienced the horrors of the provost prison of 
New York. He was afterward exchanged for Major Ackland, captured at Saratoga. 
During his captivity, he was appointed to the command of a regiment in the Mary- 
land line. He was Gates's adjutant-general daring the campaign of 1780. When 
Gates collected the remnant of his army, scattered at Camden, the Marylanders 
were formed into two battalions, constituting one regiment. To Williams was 
assigned the command, with John Eager Howard as his lieutenant. When Greene 
assumed the command of the southern army, he perceived the value of Williams, 
and appointed him adjutant-general. In Greene's memorable retreat, and the sub- 
sequent battle of Guilford, Williams greatly distinguished himself; and at £utaw 
Springs he led the celebrated charge which swept the field and gained the temporary 
victory. Congress promoted him to the rank of brigadier ; and at the close of the 
war he received the appointment of collector of customs at Baltimore, whioh office 
he held until his death, which occurred on the sixteenth of Jaly, 1794, while on his 
way to a watering-place for the benefit of his health. 

t Colonel Walter Stewart was of Irish descent, had a fair and florid complexion, 
was vivacious, intelligent, and well educated ; and, it is said, was the handsomest 
man in the American army. 

t General John Cadwalader, of Philadelphia. 


Henry Lee was bom in the cotmty of Stafford, and 
state of Virginia, and was educated at Nassau Hall,* in 
the years immediately prior to the Revolution. In very 
early life he showed a disposition toward manliness, as 
appears from a ludicrous anecdote, probably still extant 
in the village of Princeton. At that day, the village 
possessed but one knight of the strap, commonly called 
a barber, who mowed the chins and powdered the wigs 
of the " grave and reverend seigniors'* of the faculty. 
Young Lee one day entered the shop, and pompously 
called to the operator, "Shave me, sir." Old Razor, 
though a dealer in suds, was a dry fellow, and a cele- 
brated wag. After looking for a moment with surprise 
at his new customer, he seated the youthful aspirant to 
the honors of a beard, in a chair, and having lathered 
him up to the eyes, flourished the steel as if about to 
begin ; then, laying it down, went to the door, and con- 
tinued walking backward and forward in the street, as 
though he were looking for something which had been 
lost Lee bore his situation for a while, with philosophic 
calmness, till his patience being exhausted, he roared out^ 
" Why don't you come and shave me, sir ?" — " Because," 
replied the waggish tonsor, ^ lam looking for yovr beardr 

From academic groves, Lee, then scarcely nineteen, 
repaired to the tented field. Of a height not exceeding 
the middle stature, with a form light and agile, a quick 
and penetrating glance, and a genius predominant to- 
ward arms, the youthful wMdire was attached to the 

* This is the name of the principal building of the College of New Jenej, at 
Princeton. It was erected in 1758, and was so named bj Governor Belcher, hi 
honor of William of Nassan, king of England, " who, under God," he said, ''was 
the great delirerer of the British wiiion from those two monstrous furies, poptrg an ' 

H£NBY LEE. 357 

eavaby service, and became distinguished in the early 
campaigns of the Revolution. 

• The affair of Paulus's Hook, in 79, in which a detach- 
ment led by Lee, succeeded in the surprise and capture 
of the enemy, *^ marked him for promotion." In reward 
of this brilliant achievement, Congress voted a gold 
medal,"*" and the commander-in-chief was pleased to author- 
ize Major Lee to raise and discipline a partisan legion, to 
consist of three companies of horse, and as many of infan- 
try, and to command the same, with the rank of lieu- 
tenant^oloneLf No officer in the American army could 
have been better fitted than Lee for the command of a 
partisan corps ; for in the siurprise of posts, in gaining 
intelligence, of distracting and discomfiting your enemy, 
without bringing him to a general action, and all the 
«trategy which belongs to the partisan warfare, few 
officers in any service have been more distinguished 
than the subject of our memoir. The legion of Lee, 
under the untiring labors of its active, talented com- 

* Panlns'f Hook was the name of the point of land apon which Jeney City now 
stands, opposite New York. The British erected quite strong military works there, 
after, they took possession of the city of New York and the Jerseys. Major Lee was 
stationed not far from that point, in the summer of 1779, and learned that Major 
Satheriand, the commander of the garrison, resting in fancied security, was by no 
means vigilant Fired with enthusiasm at the success of Wayne at Stony Point, 
Lee asked permission of Washington to attack the garrison at Paulus's Hook. It 
was granted ; and in the evening of the eighteenth of August, Lee set out in high 
spirits, with three hundred men, followed at helping distance by Lord Stirling with 
fire hundred more. At three o'clock in the morning, he fell upon the little fort, 
killed thirty of the garrison in prosecuting the assault, and made one hundred and 
iifty-nine prisoners. For this exploit, the Congress honored Lee with a vote of 
thanks, and ordered a gold medal to be struck in commemoration of the occasion, 
and presented to him. 

t Major Lee was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in November, 1780, and on the 
thirty-first of October, Congress ordered him to join Greene in th. i^onth, with his 


inander, became one of the most eflficient corps in the 
American army. 

The horsemen were principally recruited in the South- 
em and Middle states — countries proverbial for furnish- 
ing skilful riders; while the horses, under the inspec- 
tion of the Virginian commander, were superior in bone 
and figure, and could many of them have boasted a lineal 
descent from the Godolphin Arabian. 

Among Lee's officers, were the good and gallant names 
of Eggleston, Rudolph, Armstrong, O'Neil, and the sur^ 
viving honored veterans Allen M^Lane of Delaware, and 
Harrison of Virginia * The arrival of the legion in the 
South was hailed as most auspicious to the success -of our 
arms in that quarter; indeed, so fine a corps of horse 
and foot, so well disciplined, and in such gallant array, 
was rarely to be seen in those our days of desolation. 
The partisan legion did good service in the campaigns of 
the Carolinas, and the commander won his way to the 
esteem and confidence of Greene, the weUieJoved of Wash' 
iiigtouy as he had previously done to the esteem and con- 
fidence of the great chief himself ;f and, as a justice to 
the great military sagacity of Lee, let it be remembered, 
that he was mainly instrumental in advising Greene to 
that return to the CaroUiias^ which eventuated in the deci- 

* This was first published in the National IntdUgencer, on the twenty-fifth of 
Angast, 1828. 

t In the early part of the war, Lee distinguished himself for skill and bravery, 
and Washington became rerj mach attached to him. On one occasion while the 
Americans were encamped at Valley Forge, Lee performed a gallant exploit, and 
Washington, not content with honoring him with a public notice, wrote a prirata 
letter to him full of the warmest expressions of friendship. It is believed that Wash- 
ington's friendship for Lee was partly based upon the remembrance of his early 
love for Lee's mother, the " lowland beauty" of which he wrote, as having woa 
his heart when he was a lad of sixteen years. 


fiive and glorious combat of Eutaw,* and the virtual liber- 
ation of the South. With the close of the campaign of 
1781, ended the military services of Lieut enantColonel 
Lee.f He retired on furlough to Virginia, and was hap- 
pily present at the surrender of his old adversary, the 
formidable Comwallis, at Yorktown, October 19th. Lee 
married shortly afterward, and settled in the county of 
Westmoreland, but was permitted, by his grateful and 
admiring countrymen, for a short time only, to enjoy the 
^otmn cum dignitate^ being successively chosen to the 
state legislature, the convention for ratifying the con- 
stitution, the gubernatorial chair, and the Congress of 
the United States.J 

On the breaking out of the western insurrection, Lee, 
then governor of Virginia, was appointed by the presi- 
dent to the command-in-chief of the forces which were 
marched to the seat of rebellion.§ To this appointment, 

* In September, 1781. The British army in South Carolina had been driven to- 
ward the searboard, and was encamped at Eataw Springs, near the southwest bank 
of the Santee river, about sixty miles from Charleston. There, on the morning of 
the eighth of September, Greene, with a considerable force, fell upon the enemy, and 
a severe battle ensued. The British were driven from their camp, when Greene's 
troops carelessly strolled among the tents which the enemy had left. The British 
nnexpectedly renewed the conflict, and after a bloody battle of four hours, the Amer- 
icans had to give way. That night the British retreated toward Charleston, and the 
next morning Greene took possession of the battle-field. In that engagement, Lea 
and his legion were very conspicuous. 

t In January, 1782, Colonel Lee sought and obtained permission to leave the 
army on account of his impaired health, when Greene declared that his semcea 
lad been greater than those of any one man attached to the southern army. 

X He was a delegate in Congress for Virginia, in 1786, and in 1788 he was a 
member of the state convention, called to ratify the federal constitution. In 1792 
be was elected governor of Virginia, and in 1799 he was again elected to a seat in 

\ This is known in history as the " Whiskey Insurrection," and occurred in 
Western Pennsylvania, in 1794. It grew out of an unpopular excise law passed in 
1 791 which imnosed duties on domestic distilled liquors. A new act on the subject^ 


Major-General Morgan, who commanded the troops de- 
tailed from Virginia, at first demurred, Morgan having 
been a brigadier in the old service of the Revolution, 
while the rank of Lee was that of lieutenant<5olonel ; but 
the hero of the Cowpens soon waived his claims of rank, 
with the same magnanimous sentiments which afterwatd 
distinguished the estimable Charles Cotesworth Pinck- 
ney, in the difference about rank, in the army of 1798, 
who said, " He [the chief] should know us best j we are all 
his children, and he must be the best judge of our re- 
spective merits." 

With the advantages of a classical education, General 
Lee possessed taste, and distinguished powers of elo- 
quence ; and was selected, on the demise of Washington, 
to deliver the oration in the funeral solemnities decreed 
by Congress in honor of the Pater Patriaa * The oration 
having been but imperfectly committed to memory, fixMu 
the very short time in which it was composed, somewhat 
impaired its effect upon the auditory ; but, as a composi- 
tion, it has only to be read to be admired, for the purity 
and elegance of its language, and the powerful appeal it 
makes to the hearts of its readers ; and we will venture 

equally unpopular, was passed by Congress in the spring of 1794 ; and when, soon 
after the session bad closed, officers were sent out to the western districts of Penn- 
sylvania to enforce the law, the inhabitants presented armed resistance. The insnr- 
rection became g(>neral thronghont all that region, and in the vicinity of Pittsbai^ 
many outrages were committed. Baildings were bamed, mails were robbed, and 
goremment officers were abused. President Washington first issned two proda* 
nations (Angnst 7 and September 25), bat without eflfect. All peaceable means for 
maintaining law being exhausted, he ordered out a large body of the militia of Vt^ 
ginia, Maryland, Pennsylrania, and New Jersey. These marched to the insui^nt dis* 
trict in October, under the command of General Lee, who was then the governor of 
Virginia. The military argument was effectual, and the rebellion was crushed. 

* An account of the congressional proceedings on that occasion will be found in 
another part of this work. 


to affirm; that it will rank among the most celebrated 
performances of those highly distinguished men who 
mounted the rostrum on that imposing occasion of nar 
tional mourning * 

With his congressional career ended the better days 
of this highly-gifted man. An unhappy rage for specu- 
lation caused him to embark upon that treacherous 
stream^ which gently, and almost imperceptibly, at first, 
but with sure and fearful rapidity at last> hurries its vic- 
tims to the vortex of destruction. It was, indeed, lament- 
able to behold the venerable Morris and Lee, patriots, 
who, in the senates of liberty, and on her battle-fields, 
had done the ^ state such service,** instead of enjoying a 
calm and happy evening of life, to be languishing in 
prison and in exile. Lee, after long struggling with 
adversity, sought in a foreign^ land a reftige from his 
many ills, where, becoming broken in health, he returned 
home to die. He reached the mansion of Greene, and 
fortune, relenting of her frowns, lit up his few remaining 
days with a smile. There, amid attentions the most con- 
soling and kindly, surrounded by recollections of his old 
and loved commander, the most fond and endearing, the 
worn and wearied spirit of the patriot, statesman, and 
soldier of liberty, found rest in the grave.f 

In one particular, Lee may be said to have excelled 
his illustrious cotemporaries Marshall, Madison, Hamilton, 
Gouvemeur Morris, and Ames. It was in a surprising 

* Lee's oration is printed in the appendix of this volame. 

t General Lee was severel^r injured bj a political mob in Baltimore, in 1812, and 
nerer recovered. He went to the West Indies with the hope of improving his health, 
bat it continually declined. Early in 1818 he retamed to the United States. He 
stopped at the house of Mrs. Shaw, the daughter of his old friend and companion-in- 
arms, General Greene, on CnmberUnd island, off the coast of Georgia, where he 
died on the tweaty-fifth of March, at the age of sixty-two yean. 


quickness of talent^ a genius sudden, dazzling, and always 
at command, with an eloquence which seemed to flow 
unbidden. Seated at a convivial board, when the death 
of Patrick Henry was announced, Lee called for a scrap 
of paper, and, in a few moments, produced a striking and 
beautiful eulogium upon the Demosthenes of modem 
liberty. His powers of conversation were also fascinating 
in the extreme, possessing those rare and admirable 
qualities which seize and hold captive his hearers, de- 
lighting while they instruct That Lee was a man of 
letters, a scholar who had ripened under a truly classical 
Sim, we have only to turn to his work on the southern 
war, where he was, indeed, the ^magrui pars fuV^ of all 
which he relates — a work which well deserves to be ranked 
with the commentaries of the famed master of the Bo- 
man world, who, like our Lee, was equally renowned with 
the pen as the sword.* But there is a line, a single line, 
in the works of Lee, which would hand him over to im- 
mortality, though he had never written another. ^Fint 
in war J first in peace^ and first in the hearts of Us countrymen^ 
will last while language lasts.f What a subUme eulogium 
is pronounced in this noble line ! So few words, and yet 
how illustrative are they of the vast and matchless char- 
acter of Washington ! They are words which will descend 
with the memory of the hero they are meant to honor, to 
the veneration of remotest posterity, and be graven on 
colossal statues of the Pater PatriaB in some future a^e. J 

"tf General Lee's Memmn of the War in the Southern Department of the United 
Staiee, were written in 1808, «id tbe last edition was printed in 1827. It is a woric 
of great interest, and Teiy reliable. It is now sought after by all collectors of woiia 
on American histoiy, bnt can rarely be found, haying been out print for many yean 

t This notable expression was nsed by General Lee in his oration on the diaractaf 
of Washington. 

t These words were cut apon the granite pedestal of Qreenough's " colossal 


The attachment of Lee to Washington was like that 
of Hamilton^ pure and enthusiastic — like that of the 
chivalric Laurens^ devotional. It was in the praise of 
his ^ hero, his friend, and a countrjr^s preserver," that the 
splendid talent of Lee were often elicited, with a force 
and grandeur of eloquence wholly his own. The fame 
and memory of his chief was the fondly-cherished pas- 
sion to which he clung amid the wreck of his fortunes — 
the hope, which gave warmth to his heart when all else 
around him seemed cold and desolate. 

But shall the biographer's task be complete, when the 
faults of his subject are not taken in the account? Of 
faults, perhaps the subject of om* memoir had many; 
yet how admirable is the maxim handed down to us from 
the ancients, ^ de martuis nUy nisi honamP Let the faults 
of Lee be buried in his distant grave — let the turf of 
oblivion close over the failings of him, whose early de- 
votion to liberty, in libertjr^s battles — whose eloquence in 
her senates, and historical memoirs of her times of trial, 
shed a lustre on his country in the young days of the 
Republic ; and when the Americans of some future date 
shall search amid the records of their early history for 
the lives of illustrious men, who flourished in the age 
of Washington, high on a brilliant scroll will they find 
inscribed, Henry Lee, a son of Virginia — the patriot, 
soldier, and historian of the Revolution, and orator and 
statesman of the Republic. 

•utne" of Washington (now within the square, eaitward of the Federal capite'* 
Mleen years after this prophecj was written. 





UXT— Washiivgtok^ Last Dakob — Hi8 Last Attskdaitcb at a BALL — WASinKG-rov 
FoKD OP TBI Thbatbb— BsoBPfToir OP nn PBa8iDBivT AT TBS Thkatbs— Tm Tbb- 


nsiK OP TUB Pit anb Oaxxut— Bbvolutionabt Sbktimbnt. 

The birtli-night ball was instituted at the close of the 
Revolutionary war, and its first celebration, we believe, 
was held in Alexandria.* Celebrations of the birth-night 
soon became general in all the towns and cities, the 
twenty-second of February, like the fourth of July, being 
considered a national festival, while the peculiarity attend- 
ing the former was, that its parade and ceremonies 
always closed with the birth-night ball In the larger 
cities, where public balls were customary, the birth-night, 
in the olden time, as now, was the gala assembly of the 
season. It was attended by all the beauty and fashion, 
and at the seat of government, by the foreign ambassa- 
dors, and by strangers of distinction. The first president 

"* The French officers who served in America dnring the Rerolation, appear tu 
have celebrated die birthday of Washfngtoii immedialely after the war. This fkci 
is indicated by the following paragraph in a letter written by Washington to the 
Ck>ant de Bochambeau, in the spring of 1784. He says, " The flattering distinction 
paid to the anniversary of my birthday, is an honor for which I dare not attempt to 
express my gratitude. I confide in your excellency's sensibility to interpret my feel 
ings for this, and for the obliging manner in which yon are pleased to annonnoe it." 


always attended on the birth-night The etiquette was, 
not to open the ball until the arrival of him in whose 
honor it was given ; but, so remarkable was the puno- 
tnalit J of Washington in all his engagements, whether 
for business or pleasure, that he was never waited for a 
moment in appointments for either. Among the brilliant 
illustrations of a birth-night of five-and-thirty years ago,* 
the most unique and imposing was the groups of young 
and beautiful ladies, wearing in their hair bandeaux or 
scrolls, having embroidered thereon, in language both 
ancient and modem, the motto of ^ Long Kve the president T-f 

* This was first published in the National InteUi^tncer, on the twentj-second of 
Febmary, 1830. 

t In a very interesting letter, dated Philadelphia, twenty-fifth May, 1859, which I 
received from the yenerable Samuel Breck of that city, giving me a brief record of 
his recollections of Washington's visit to Boston in 1789, he says, after speaking of 
a dinner party at Governor Hancock's — " Meantime the French ships of war in the 
harbor were dressed in variegated lamps, and bonfires blazed in the streets. The 
ladieM loort bandeaux, cetteses, and ribbons, Btamped and embroidered vfith the name of 
Wabbivqtoic ; some in gold and silver letters, and some in pearls," 

The birthday of Washington was early celebrated among the masses of the people. 
They had been accustomed to do honor to the birthday of King George, on the 
fourth of Jane ; now they more delighted to do honor to a nobler Geoige, on the 
twenty-second of February. Popular songs often enlivened the occasion, and ex- 
pressed the sentiments of the people. One of these, written more than sixty years 
ago, is preserved, from which I quote some stanias as a specimen of its spirit : — 

" Come boys, close the windows and make a good fire. 
Wife, children, sit snug all around : 
'Tis the day that gave birth to our country's blessed sire. 

Then let it with pleasure be crowned. 
Dear wife, bring your wine, and, in spite of hard times. 

On this day at least we'll be meny : 
Come, fill eveiy glass till it pours o'er the brim. 
If not with Madeirar— then Sherry. 
* * * * « 

' May the laurels of fame that his temples enwreathed. 
Ever flourish in gratitude's tears : 
1 ever his luuae with devotion be breaihe^h* 
That name wMdi our country endears/' 


The minuet (now obsolete), for the graceful and ele- 
gant dancing of which Washington was conspicuous, in 
the vice-regal days of Lord Botetourt in Virginia, declined 
after the Revolution. The commander-in-chief danced, 
for his last time, a minuet, in 1781, at the ball given in 
Fredericksbmrg, in honor of the French and American 
officers, on their return from the triumphs at Yorktown.* 
The last birth-night attended by the venerable chief was 
in Alexandria, twenty-second February, 1798. Indeed 
he always appeared greatly to enjoy the gay and festive 
scene exhibited at the birth-night balls, and usually re- 
mained to a late hour ; for, remarkable as he was for 
reserve, and the dignified gravity inseparable from his 
nature, Washington ever looked with most kind and 
favoring eye, upon the rational and elegant pleasures of 


The first president was partial to the amusements of 
the theatre, and attended some five or six times in a sear 
son, more especially when some public charity was to 

* See page 144. 

t The following letter from Washington, written about a month before bis death, 
has an interest in this connection. It was in replj to an invitation from a com- 
mittee of gentlemen of Alexandria to attend the dancing assemblies at that place. I 
copied it from the original in the Alexandria Museum, in 1 848. 

" To Mestn. Jonathan Stoi/t, George DeneaU, William Newton, Robert Young, 
CharUM Alexander, Junior, Jamee H. Boole, Managers, 

"Mount Vernon, 12th November, 1799, 
" Gehtlbmeit — ^Mrs. Washington and myself have been honored with your polite 
Invitation to the assemblies of Alexandria this winter, and thank yon for this mark 
of your attention. But, alas 1 oar dancing days are no more. We wish, however, 
all those who have a relish for so agreeable and innocent an amusement all the 
pleasure the season will afford them ; and I am, gentlemen, 

" Tour most obedient and obliged humble servant, 

" Geo. Washington." 

See letters of Washikotoh and Cubtis, July 1 and July 10, on pages 89 and 99 
of this volume. 


be benefitted by the performance. The habit was, for 
the manager to wait on the president, requesting him to 
command a play ; the pieces so commanded partook of 
but little variety, but must be admitted to have been in 
excellent taste — the ^^ School for Scandal/' and ^^ Every 
one has his Faulty" for the plaj^s, and for the afterpieces, 
there was almost a standing order for the ^ Poor Soldier** 
and « Wigneirs Darby."* The old American company, 

* In his diary, under date of Tuesday, November 24, 1789, WashinjB:ton re- 
corded as follows : " A good deal of company at the levee to-day. Went to the play 
in the evening — sent tickets to the following ladies and gentlemen, and invited them 
to take seats in my box, viz. : Mrs. Adams (lady of the vice-president), General 
Schuyler and lady, Mr. King and lady, Major Butler and lady, Colonel Hamilton 
and lady, Mrs. Greene— all of whom accepted and came, except Mrs. Butler, 
who was indisposed." What a group for our contemplation I 

The theatre was in John street, north side, not far eastward from Broadway. It 
was a small, frail affair, and capable of holding only about three hundred persons. 
This was, doubtless, the occasion described by Dnnlap, when Wignell performed 
the part of Darby, in the interlude of Darhy*B Return, a play written by that gentle- 
man. Darby (an Irish lad) recounts his adventures in the United States and else- 
where. When he related what befell him in the city of New York, at the inauguration 
of the president, &c., " the interest.expressed by the audience," says Dnnlap, "Jh 
the looks and the changes of countenance of the great man [Washington], became 
intense." At the descriptive lines — 

" A man who fought 'to free the land from woe. 

Like me, had left his farm, a soldiering to go, 

But having gained his point, he had, like me, 

Returned his own potatoe-ground to see. 

" But then he could not rest. With one accord, 
Ha is called to be a kind of— -not a lord — 
I don't know what ; he 's not a ffreat man, sure. 
For poor men love him just as he were poor"— 
the president looked serious ; and when Kathleen asked, 

" How looked he. Darby 1 Was he short or tail 1"— 
Washington's countenance showed embarrassment from the expectation of one of 
those eulogies which he had been compelled " to hear on many public occasions, and 
which must, doubtless, have been a severe trial to his feelings." The president was 
relieved by Darby's declaration that he had not seen him, 
Mr. Dnnlap, in his " History of the American Theatre," alludes thus to the fact, 


comprising Hallam and Henry, Harper, Wignell, and old 
Morris, first played in 1789, in the theatre in John street^ 
and nothing more truly shows our transcendant march 
toward refinement^ than the contrast between the himi- 
ble, nay, bam-like theatre, which the first president 
attended forty years ago, and the now various and mag« 
nificent temples of Thespis, which adorn the present 
great and splendid city of New York. 

^ The company moved with the government to PhQar 
delphia, and performed in the old theatre, Southwark, in 
which was some scenery, said to have been painted by 
the interesting and unfortunate Major Andre, xmtil the 
erection of the house in Chestnut street, where we be- 
lieve the curtain fell upon the exits of the last remnants 
of the old American company* 

In New York, the play-biU was headed, ^By particular 
desirCy* when it was announced that the president would 
attend. On those nights the house would be crowded 
fh)m top to bottom, as many to see the hero bb the play. 
Upon the president's entering the stage-box with his family, 
the orchestra would strike up The PresidenPB March (now 
HaU Columbiajy composed by a German named Feyles, in 
'89, in contradistinction to the march of the Revolution, 

that in the theatrical world partiealAr ngud waf had to the birthdaj of Washings 
ton : " The theatre haviug been ckwed for the benefit of the managers, was re> 
opened on the twenty-second of Febmary [1810], with Guilavus Vaaa, a play 
thought appropriate for the birthday of Washington, and fieqnently as snch brongfat 

* Major Andr6 was chiefly instmmental in getting np theatrical performances in 
Philadelphia, during the occupancy of that city by the Britiish army, in the winter 
of 1777, '78, and tradition says that he painted nearly all the scenery that was used. 
Wignell, of the old American company, opened the theatre in Philadelphia (a new 
and splendid one), on the scTenteenth of February, 1794. The last performance of 
the old American company was, I believe, in 1798, at about which time the Paric 
theatre in New York was opened, with a new and strong company. 


called WashingtorCs March.* The audience applauded 
on the entrance of the president, but the pit and gallery 
were so truly despotic in the early days of the republic, 
that so soon as Hail Columbia had ceased^ WashinfftorCs 
March was called for by the deafening din of an hundred 
voices at once, and upon its being played, three hearty 
cheers would rock the building to its base. Indeed, five- 
and-thirty years ago there could not be gotten together 
any large public assembly without a considerable spice 
of the Revolution being among it The soldiers and 
sailors of the War for Liberty abounded in all public 
places, and no sooner would their old chief appear, than 
off came each hat, and the shout of welcome resounded, 
pure, spontaneous, direct from the heart 

* The song of HaU Columbia, adapted in measure to the President's March, was 
written by Joseph Hopkinson, of Philadelphia, in 1798. At that time war with 
France was expected* and a patriotic feeling pervaded the commnnitj. Mr. Fox, a 
young singer and actor, called npon Mr. Hopkinson one morning, and said, ** To- 
morrow evening is appointed for my benefit at the theatre. Not a single box has 
been taken, and I fear there will be a thin house. If yon will write me some patri- 
otic verses to the tune of the " President's March," I feel sure of a fall bouse. 
Several people about the theatre have attempted it, bat they have come to the con 
clnaion that it can not be done. Yet I think yon may succeed." Mr. Hopkinson 
retired to his study, wrote the first verse and chorus, and submitted them to 
Mrs. Hopkinson, who sang them to a harpsichord accompaniment. The time and 
the words harmonized. "The song was soon finished, and that evening the young 
actor received it. The next morning the theatre-placards announeed that Mr. Fox 
would sing a new patriotic song. The house was crowded — the song was snng«> 
the audience were delighted— eight times it waa called for and repeated, and when 
sung the ninth time, the whole audience stood up and joined in the chorus. Night 
after night, " HaU Columbia " was applauded in the theatres ; and in a few days it 
waa tiie universal song of the boys in the streets. Such was the original of our 
national song, HaU Columbia. 





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AscHiTSOT Ajn> Otxusvb — Impbotbcxht or ma Estatb — Ehjotmbxt or Pbztats Litb 
—Two or HB Aids at Mouirr Tskhov— Bibhop m Old Bodt-Sistaiit— Bohop os 
"Beaddoox^ FnLD"— Hn AnAomfxiiT to mi Fobtuhib or WABHnroTos— Too Ou> 
roB CiJiPAioimro xh thx BBYOLunov—'WABHiifOTOx^ Ibtzboovbbb with hui — Cou>> 
KBL 8]izTH*B Gallamtbt—Bibbop^ DAVOBm AjnrBroHTKD— TsB Wbath or BI8^0P 
— BixLT A Pbaobmakbb— BiBHOP^ Wbath Abbuaobd ~ Wabhixotoh nr mx Goarrxir- 
fiov or 1787— Obabui Thoxbox at Kouxt Yxbxox— Wabxivotox, Pbbbisxxt or tbx 
UxinD Btatm; 

After the sublime and touching event of the ^ resigna- 
tion of the commission," at Annapolis, on the twenty- 
third of December, 1783, Washington hastened to his 
beloved retirement^ himg np his sword, and prepared to 
enjoy the delights of rural and domestic life.f 

* This was first published in the National Intelligencer, on the twenty-second of 
Tebrnary, 1848. 

t The British anny evacuated the dtj of New York, their last resting-place on 
the soil of the United States, on the twenty-fifth of Noyember, 1783. The American 
army was disbanded immediately afterward, and on the foarth of December, Wash- 
ington bade his officers farewell, in a most touching personal interriew, in New York. 
He then went to Philadelphia, where the fiscal officers of the government received 
fh>m his hands a ftiU statement of his receipts and expenditures during the war. The 
Congress were then in session at Annapolis, to which place he journeyed, and on 
the twenty-third of December, he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of 
the armies of the United States, into the hands of Thomas Mifflin, the president of 
Congress. This was done at a public audience, Washington addressing the presi- 
dent in words appropriate for the occasion, and Mifflin replying in a most compliment- 
ary manner. " Having defended," he said, "the standard of liberty in this new 
world — having taught a lesson nsefiil to Uiose who inflict and to those who feel 
oppression— yon retire fW>m the great theatre of action with the blessings of your 
fellow-citizens. But the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your militaiy 
command ; it will continae to animate lemoteat ages." 


The same exact and economical distribution of time, 
the same methodical and active habits of business, that 
had so triumphantly borne the commander of armies 
through the mighty labors of an eight years* war, were 
now destined, in the works of peace, alike to distinguish 
the illustrious farmer of Mount Vernon. 

Afler so long an absence, the retired general, on re- 
turning to his home, found that there was much to 
create. Previous to the war, the establishment of Mount 
Vernon was upon a very limited scale. The mansion- 
house was small, having but four rooms on a floor ; and 
there were wanting nearly all of the present outbuild- 
ings and offices. 

Washington was his own architect and builder, laying 
off everything himself The buildings, gardens, and 
grounds all rose to ornament and useflilness under his 
fostering hand.* 

His landed estate, comprising eight thousand acres, 
xmderwent many and important changes and improve- 
ments. It was divided into farms, with suitable en- 
closures ; hedges were planted, and excellent farm-build- 
ings were erected, from European models. Devoting 
much time and attention to these various objects, Wash- 
ington accomplished the most important of his improve- 
ments in the very short space of from four to five years.t 

* la the arrangement and embellishment of his groands, as well as in the enlarge^ 
ment and improrement of the mansion-house, Washington attended to the minutest 
cfetails. He made drawings of every plan, made a memorandnm of every relative 
distance of hoildtngs, inclosnres, et cetera, and designated the position of every tree 
that was planted. I have before me some of his original drawings, in which alf 
these details appear, with memoranda in his neat handwriting. One of these drawings, 
pablished in **Mimfd Vtman and Ui Atiociations" shows the form of the lawn on 
the west front of the mansion, the flower and vegetable garden, and the name and 
position of every tree. 

t At the close of the war, Washington commenced very extensive improvements 


Nor was his time exclusively allotted to business ; he 
had a " time for all things." He enjoyed the pleasures 

at Mamt Vernon. The mansion was ^eatly enlarged, the noble piazza that adorns 
the river-front, the observatory and cnpola upon the roof, and the kitchen and Uon- 
dry, and connecting colonnades, as they now appear, were erected. In all these im- 
provements, Washington had an eye to utility and durability. The out-buildinga 
were made of the most substantial materials, and the floors of the piaaia and the 
covered colonnades were paved with cut stone. In this connection, the following^ 
letter to Mr. Bamney, of Alexandria (formerly an aid to General Lee), already 
alluded to in a note on page 171, will be found very interesting : 

" General Washington presents his compliments to Mr. Bamney-— would eeteem 
it as a particular favor if Mr. Rumney would make the following enquiries as soon 
as convenient, after his arrival in England ; and communicate the result of them by 
the Packet, or any other safe and expeditious conveyance to this countir. 

** First. The terms upon which the best kind of Whitehaven Flag stone— 4>lack 
& white in equal quantities — could be delivered at the Port of Alexandria by 
the superficial foot, workmanship, freight & every other incidental charge in- 
cluded. The stone to be Si Inches, or thereabouts, thick; and exactly a fbot 

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 St whifB if to be had) 
— same dimensions, could be delivered as above. 

" 3rd. As the General has been informed of a very cheap Kind of Marble, good 
in quality at or in the neighborhood of Ostend, he would thank Mr. Bamney, 
if it should fall in his way, to institute an enquiry into this also. 

" On the Report of Mr. Rumney, the General will take his ultimate determination ; 
for which reason he prays him to be precise and exact. The Piazza or Colonade 
for which this is wanted as a floor is ninety-two feet, eight inches, by twelve feet 
eight inches within the mai^gin, or border that surrounds it. Over and above the 
quantity here mentioned, if the above Flags are cheap — or a cheaper kind of hard 
Stone could be had, he woald get as much as would lay floors in the Circalar G^- 
onades, 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, within the maigin or bor- 
der as aforesaid. 

" The General being in want of a House Joiner & Bricklayer who nnderstaiid their 
respective trades perfectly, would thank Mr. Rumney for enqaring into the terms 
upon which such workmen might be Engaged for two or three years; (die time of 
service, to commence upon the Ship's arrival at Alexandria^) a shorter term thaa 
fiOD years would not answer, because foreigners generally have a seasoning; which 
with other interruptions too frequently waste the greater part of the first year- 
more to the disadvantage of the employer than the Employed.— Bed board & Toois 
to be found by the former, clothing by the Utter. 

" If two men of the above Trades and of orderly and quiet deportment could be 
obtained for twenty-five or even thirty pounds sterlioe^ per annum each (eitiaatiiig 


of the chaae^ visited his friends, and received and enter- 
tained the numerous guests who crowded to his hospita* 
ble mansion. Indeed, in the retirement at Mount Veiv 
non, from '83 to '89, were probably passed the very hap- 
piest days of this great man's life. /Glorying in the 
emancipation of his coimtry from foreign thraldom ; sur- 
roimded by many and dear friends; hailed with love 
and gratitude by his coxmtrymen wherever lie appeared 
among them ; receiving tokens of esteem and admiration 
from the good, the gifted, and the great, of the most 
enlightened nations in the civilized world j engaged in 
the pursuits of agriculture — pursuits that were always 
most congenial to his tastes and wishes — amid so many 
blessings we may well believe that in the retirement at 
Mount Vernon Washington was happy. 

On leaving Annapolis the general was accompanied 
by two of the officers of his former stafl^ Colonels 
Humphreys* and Smith,f who were a long time at 

dollars at 4 16) the Qeneral, rather than sustain the loss of Time necessarj for com- 
mvnication would be obli^d to Mr. Romney for entering into proper obligatory 
articles of agreement on his behalf with them and sending them bj the first yessel 
boand to this Port. <'Qbo. Washinotoh. 

" Mount Vernon, July 5, 1784" 

* David Humphreys was distinguished as a poet and soldier. He was bom at 
Derby, Connecticut, in 1758, and was graduated at Tale college in 1771, when he went 
to reside with Colonel Phillipse, of Phillipse's manor, in Westchester coanty, New 
York, as tutor. He joined the continental army, and in 1 778 became one of General 
Putnam's aids, with the rank of major. In 1 780 he entered the military family of Wash- 
ington, as aid to the chief, and remained in that position until the close of the war. 
Por his valor at Torktown, Congress presented him with a sword. In 1784 he ac- 
companied Jefferson to Paris, as secretary of legation. In 1786 he was a member 
of the Connecticut legislature, and at that time he was associated with Joel Barlow 
In a literary enterprise. Ho was minister to Portugal in 1788. In 1790, he resided at 
Mount Vernon by invitation of Washington, and there wrote his life of Putnam. 
He waa appointed minister to Spain in 1794. He returned to America with a 
wealthy wife in 1801, and devoted the remainder of his life to agriculture. He died 
suddenly in 1812. 

t Lietttenan^Colonel William S. Smith, of New York, had been a very active 


Mount Vernon, engaged in arranging the vast mass of 
papers and documents that had accumulated during the 
War for Independence. Humphreys was a man of letters 
and a poet, and, together with Colonel Smith, served in 
the staff of the commander-in-chief on some of the most 
important occasions of the Eevolutionary war. 

At a short distance from the mansion-house, in a 
pleasant and sheltered situation, rose the homestead of 
Bishop, the old body-servant Thomas Bishop, bom in 
England, attended General Braddock to the Continent 
during the seven years' war, and afterwards embarked 
with that brave and unfortunate commander for America, 
in 1775. 

On the morning of the ninth of July, the day of the 
memorable battle of the Monongahela, Bishop was pres- 
ent when Colonel Washington urged upon the English 
general for the last time the propriety of permitting him 
(the colonel) to advance with the Virginia woodsmen 
and a band of friendly Indians, and open the way to Fort 
Duquesne. Braddock treated the proposal with scorn ; 
but, turning to his faithful follower, observed : ** Bishop, 
this young man is determined to go into action to^ay, 
although he is really too much weakened by illness for 
any such purpose. Have an eye to him, and render him 
any assistance that may be necessary." Bishop had only 
time to reply, " Your honor's orders shall be obeyed," 

joang officer daring the war. He was actings commissarj-general of prisonen for a 
while, and at the close of hostilities, he was an associate commissioner with Egbert 
Benson and Daniel Parker, to inspect and superintend the embarkation of the per- 
sons and property of the loyalists, who left the city when it was eracaated by the 
British army. He was at Mount Vernon for several months, assisting Colonel 
Humphreys in the arduous task of arranging Washington's militaty papers, and 
until the close of his life, the chief regarded him with the warmth of true friendship. 


when the troops were in motion and the action soon afler 

Sixty-four British officers were killed or woxmded, and 
Washington was the only mounted officer on the field. 
His horse being shot, Bishop was promptly at hand to 
offer him a second ; and so exhausted was the youthful 
hero from his previous illness and his great exertions in 
the battle, that he was with difficulty extricated from his 
dying charger, and was actually lifted by the strong 
arms of Bishop into the saddle of the second horse. 

It was at this period of the combat that, in the ghmpses 
of the smoke, the gallant colonel was seen bravely dash- 
ing amid the ranks of death, and calling on the colonial 
woodsmen, who alone maintained the fight^ ^ Hold your 
ground, my brave fellows, and draw your sights for the 
honor of old Virginia !" It was at this period, too, of the 
battle, that the famed Indian commq^nder, pointing to 
Washington, cried to his warriors : ." Fire at him no more ; 
see ye not that the Great Spirit protects that chief; he 
can not die in battle.^f 

His second horse having fallen, the provincial colonel 
made his way to the spot where the conunanding-general, 
though mortally stricken, raging like a woxmded lion, 
and yet breathing defiance to the foe, was supported in 
the arms of Bishop. Braddock grasped the hand of 
Washington, exclaiming, ^ Oh, my dear colonel, had I 
been governed by your advice, we never should have 
come to this!" When he found his last moments ap- 
proaching, the British general called his faithful and long- 
tried follower and friend to his side, and said, ^ Bishop, 

• See page 158. 

t Sec chapter xi., page 300. 


you are getting too old for war ; I advise you to remain 
in America and go into the service of Colonel Washing- 
ton. Be but as faithful to him as you have been to me, 
and rely upon it the remainder of your days will be 
prosperous and happy."* 

Bishop took the advice of his old master, and at the 
close of the campaign returned with the colonel to Mount 
Yemon. As body-servant^ Bishop attended Colonel 
Washington at the time of his marriage,f and was in- 
stalled as chief of the stables and the equipage in Wil- 
liamsbmrg, in the bright and palmy days of that ancient 
capital. Finally, the old body-servant settled on the 
banks of the Potomac, married, and was made overseer 
of one of the farms of the Mount Yemon estate. 

At the conunencement of the Revolutionary war 
Bishop was considered as too old for active service, and 
was lefl in charge of the home establishment^ where the 
veteran soldier^s rigid « discipline and strict attention to 
everything committed to his care caused affidrs imme- 
diately relating to the mansion-house to be kept in firsir 
rate order. Upon the general's return after the peace 
of 1783, the ancient body-servant had passed fourscore, 
had been relieved from all active service, and^ having 
lost his wife, he, with his daughter and only child, was 
settled down in a comfortable homestead that had been 
built expressly as an asylum for his age. 

* Braddock was borne from the field, and carried away by his soldiers in their 
flight toward Fort Camberiand. The battle was fought on the ninth of /nly, 1755, 
and on the night of the fonrtaentfa Braddock expired. At a little past midnight 
Washington read the impressive funeral services of the Anglican church, over hia 
body, and it was buried in the road, so that the Indians might not discover and 
desecrate his grave. The place of his burial may now be seen between the fifty- 
third and fifty-fourth milestone, on the road firom Cumberland, westward. 

t See sketch of Martha WatkingUm, 


Although very infinn, yet, when the bright skies and 
bfdmy breath of spring renovated all nature, the veteran 
soldier and faithful follower of two masters would grasp 
his staff and wend his way to a spot by which he knew 
the general would pass in taking his morning ride. As 
Washington approached, the veteran, by aid of his sta£^ 
would draw himself up to his fiill height, and with a right 
soldierly air uncover. A few silver locks were scattered 
about his temples, his visage was deeply furrowed by the 
hand of time, while his bent and shrunken frame was 
but the shadow of a form once so tall and manly. The 
general would rein up his horse and kindly inquire, 
^How are you, old man; I am glad to see you abroad ; 
is there anything you want T The veteran would re- 
ply : ^ Good morning to your honor ; I am proud and 
happy to see your honor looking so brave and hearty. 
I thank God I am as well as can be expected at my 
years. What can I want while in your honor's service ? 
Whenever the choicest meats are killed for you honor's 
own table, the good lady will send to old Bishop a part 
God bless your honor, the madam^ and all your good 
family 1" Washington would continue his morning ride, 
while the old body-servant, made happy by the inteiv 
view, grasped his staff and strode manfully away to his 
comfortable home. 

Of the two former aids-de-camp, now secretaries, in 
their hours of relaxation from business, Humphreys was 
in the habit of strolling to unfrequented places, there to 
recite his verses to the echoes. Smith, too, would take 
tlie air after the labors of the writing-desk. 

One evening Colonel Smith in his rambles came sud-. 
denly upon the homestead of the old body-^ervant, whose 


daughter was milking at a short distance from the house. 
She was a slightly-built girl^ and^ in endeavoring to raise 
the pail, found it too much for her strength. Colonel 
Smith gallantly stepped forward, and offered his services^ 
saying, ^ Do, miss, permit my strong arms to assist you." 
Now, the veteran's daughter had often heard from her 
father the most awful tales of those sad fellows, the 
yoxmg, and particularly the handsome British officers, 
and how their attentions to a maiden must inevitably re- 
sult in her ruin. Filled with these ideas, Miss Bishop did 
not draw any line of distinction between British and 
American officers, and Smith, being a peculiarly fine hand- 
some fellow, the milkmaid threw down her pail and ran 
screaming to the house. The colonel followed, making 
every possible apology, when suddenly he was brought 
up aU standing by the appearance of the veteran, who 
stood, in all his terrors, at the door of his domiciL • The 
affiighted girl ran into her father^s arms, while the old 
body-servant rated the colonel in no measured terms 
upon the enormity of the attempt to insult his child. 
Poor Smith, well bespattered by the contents of the milk- 
pail, in vain endeavored to excuse himself to the enraged 
veteran, who declared that he would carry the affair up 
to his honor, aye, and to the madam, too. At the men- 
tion of the latter personage the unfortunate colonel felt 
something like an ague-chill pass over his frame. Smith 
in vain essayed to propitiate the old man by assuring 
bim that the affidr was one of the most common gallant- 
ry ; that his object was to assist, and not to insult the 
damsel Bishop replied, ^Ah! Colonel Smith, I know 
what you dashing young officers are. I am an old soldier, 
and have seen some things in my long day. I am sure 


his honor, after my services, will not permit my child to 
be insulted ; and, as to the madam, why the madam as 
good as brought up my girl." So saying, the old body- 
servant retired into his castle, and closed the door. 

The unfortunate colonel wended his way to the man- 
sion-house, aware of the scrape he had got into, and pon- 
dering as to the mode by which he might be able to g^t 
out of it At length he bethought himself of Billy, the 
celebrated servant of the commander-in-chief during the 
whole of the War of the Kevolution, and well known to 
all the officers of the headquarters. 

A council of war was held, and Billy expressed great 
indignation that Bishop should attempt to carry a com- 
plaint against his friend, Colonel Smith, up to the general, 
and that it was perfectly monstrous that such a tale 
should reach the ears of the madam ; ^ but^" continued 
Billy, ^ that is a terrible old fellow, and he has been much 
spoiled on account of his services to the general in Brad- 
dock's war. He even says that we of the Kevolutionary 
army are but half soldiers, compared with the soldiers 
which he served with, in the outlandish countries." Smith 
observed, ** it is bad enough, Billy, for this story to get to 
the general's ears, but to those of the lady will never do ; 
and then there's Hmnphreys, he will be out upon me in 

a d d long poem, that will spread my misfortimes 

from Dan to Beersheba." At length the colonel deter- 
mined, by the advice of his privy counsel, to despatch 
Billy as a special ambassador, to endeavor to propitiate 
Hie veteran, or, at any rate, to prevent his visit to the 

Meantime the old body-servant was not idle. He ran- 
sacked a large worm-eaten trunk, and brought forth a 


coat that had not seen the light for many long years (it 
was of the cut and fashion of the days of George II); then 
a vest^ and lastly a hat^ Cumberland cocked^ With a huge 
ribbon cockade, that had seen service in the seven years* 
war. His shoes underwent a polish, and were covered by 
large silver buckles. All these accoutrements being care* 
fully dusted and brushed, the veteran flourished his sbaiff 
and took up his line of march for the mansion-house. 

BUly met the old soldier in full march, and a parley 
ensued. Billy harangued with great force upon the im^ 
propriety of the veteran's conduct in not receiving the 
coloners apology ; " for," continued the ambassador, " my 
friend Colonel Smith is both an officer and a gentlemaj;! ; 
and then, old man, you have no business to have such a 
handsome daughter (a grim smile parsing over the vet- 
eran's countenance at this compliment to the beauty of 
his child), for you know young fellows will be young 
fellows." He continued by saying, it was not to be 
thought of that any such matter should reach the madam's 
•ears, and concluded by recommending to the veteran to 
drop the affair and retiun to his home. 

The old body^ervant, ftilly accoutred for his expedition, 
)iad cooled off a little during his march. A soldierly re- 
spect for an officer of Colonel Smith's rank and standing, 
and a fear that he might carry the matter a little too far, 
determined him to accept the colonel's assurance that 
there could be no harm where * no harm was intended," 
came to the rightrabout and retraced his steps to hi^ 

The ambassador returned to the anxious colonel, an4 
informed him that he had met the pld fellow, en grand 
costume^ and in full march for the mansion-house^ but 


that by a powerful display of eloquence he had brought 
him to a halt^ and induced him to listen to reason^ and 
drop the afiair altogether. The ready guinea was quickly 
in the ambassador's pouch, while the gallant colonel, 
happy in his escape from what might have resulted in a 
very impleasant affair, was careful to give the homestead 
of the old body-servant a good wide berth in all future 

The pleasurable routine of Washington's life, in his 
retirement, was a little varied by his call to the conven- 
tion of 1787;* but in 1788, when the constitution became 
ratified by the states,-]- letters, addresses, and memorials 

* Before the close of the Bevolntion, many sagacioos minds perceiyed the ntter 
incompetency of the federal goTarnment, under the provisions of the ArtieUiofCm^ 
federation, to perform the proper functions of sapreme power. The doctrine of 
state rights was strongly impressed upon the minds of the people, and there was a 
growing jealousy of the assumptions of Congress, eren when that body exercised its 
legitimate functions. To the appreciation of true statesmen such as Washington, 
Hamilton, Madison, Jay, and others, there appeared a necessity for a greater cen« 
tralization of power, for to a great extent the people had lost all regard for the au- 
thority of Congress. The commercial and monetary afiairs of the country were 
wretchedly deranged, jmd many felt eeiious appreheosions of a total failure of the 
republican scheme. Hamilton, at an early period, suggested a convention of 
states to consider and correct the errors of the federal system as it then existed ; and 
finally, at the suggestion of Washington, a convention was called for the purpose, - 
at Annapolis, in Maryland. The delegates assembled in September, 1786. Only 
five states were represented. These recommended the holding of another conven- 
tion in May following. At that time delegates from all the states, except New 
Hampshire and Rhode Island, appeared. Washington was a delegate from Virginia, 
and was chosen to preside. Able statesmen were his associates ; and on the twelfih 
of September, 1787, the present Constitntien of the United States (except a few 
subsequent amendments) was adopted. 

t The federal Constitution was submitted to the people for their approval or re- 
jection. It found many able opposers. State rights, sectional interests, radical de- 
mocracy, had all numerous friends, and these stood firmly in the opposition. Among 
its ablest supporters with pen and tongue, was Alexander Hamilton, who gave to 
the world most able papers on government, to which were added some by Madison 
and J^y. These, in collected form, bear tiie titie of 7%s FederaUtL Very soon 
eleven of the thirteen states ratided the Constitution. The Congress then fixed the 
time for the new government to go into operation. 


from his compatriots and old companionfr-iD-arms pomisil 
in from all parts of the country, all praying him who had 
been " first in war" to become ^ first in peace" as the 
chief magistrate of the new government These testt- 
monials of affection made deep impression upon the re- 
tired general, as they showed him that he stood " first 
in the hearts of his countrymen" 

In April, 1789, the doors of Mount Vernon opened to 
receive, and Washington hastened to embrace, the ven- 
erable Charles Thomson, the secretary to the continental 
Congress during fifteen consecutive years. He came 
charged with the important duty of announcing to the 
retired general his unanimous election to the office of 
president of the United States. The tall attenuated form, 
the simple yet dignified manners of Secretary Thom- 
son, made him a most favored guest at a board where 
had been welcomed many of the wise, the good, the 
brave, and renowned.* 

* On th^ 8ixth of April, 1789, John Langdon, president of tfae tJnited States 
tenate, pro tempore, wrote an official letter to Washington, informing him that he 
had been chosen first president of the United States, with John Adams as vice-pres- 
" ident ; and Charles Thomson, the secretary of the continental Congress, imme- 
diately proceeded to Monnt Vernon to bear to the new officer the official announce- 
ment of his election. The president made immediate preparations for his journey 
to the seat of government, then at New York. He left Monnt Vernon on the six- 
teenth, arrived at New York on the twenty-third, and there, on the thirtieth of the 
month, in the presence of a vast concourse of people, he took the solemn oath of 
office. The old continental Congress had expired on the fourth of March previously, 
and the federal Constitution had become the organic law of the republic. 

Mr. Secretary Thomson was a native of Ireland, where he was bom in 1730. He 
settled as a teacher in Philadelphia, and was honored with the friendship of Dr. 
Franklin. When the continental Congress convened in that city, in 1774, he had 
just married a young woman of fortune. He was chosen the secretary of that body, 
and held the office fifteen consecutive years. He died at Lower Merion, Mont- 
gomery country, Pennsylvania, on the sixteenth of August, 1824, at the age of 
ninety-four years. 


The unanimous election of Washington to the chief 
magistracy of a new empire by a people who had hun- 
gered for an opportunity of elevating the man of their 
hearts to the highest gift in their power to bestow, called 
forth from the chief acknowledgments of profound grati- 
tude. When he departed for the seat of the federal 
government, he turned a last fond lingering look 
upon his retired home, where he had passed so many 
peaceful and happy days ; upon his extensive circle of 
friends, to whom he was attached by many and most 
endearing associations; upon his improvements, which 
he had so much delighted to rear, and which had grown 
up to useftQ and ornamental maturity under his fostering 
hand ; he bade adieu to them all, and hastened to obey 
the call of his country 




WAsnixftToxr Fovd or ma Ohabi— Hi was hot ▲ mBl Bsoom ahd Fnnutui — 
SmrATioir aitd CHAULonm of m KcmnL^BBLsonov op bis Doos— Ha B roaxa n 
Fbikkds— Hn Cotnnni vinnr moAan> in tbm Ohabb^Pbbbxmt or Hovmw fbom La* 
rATam— Tbsib Sataos KATirBS— Wabbin«tox ok Hobsxbaok— Hn Fatobitx Hobss 
roB VBB Okasb— His Dabuio—Tiib Famous Blaok Fox— Its supposbd IimnxAL Bb- 


Tn Tbbisov Dxhiibb at Movvt Ybbbob— Axtlbbs of thb Washxhstok 8ta». 

The time which Colonel Washington could spare fix)m 
his building and agricultural improvements between the 
years 1759 and 1774, was considerably devoted to the 
pleasures of the chase. We have neither knowledge nor 
tradition of his having ever been a shooter or a fisher- 
man : fox-hunting being of a bold and animating charac- 
ter, suited well with the temperament of the ** lusty 
prime" of his age, and peculiarly well accorded with his 
fondness and predisposition for equestrian exercises. 

His kennel was situated about a hundred yards south 
of the family vault in which at present repose his vener- 
ated remains * The building was a rude structure, but 
afforded comfortable quarters for the hounds; with a 

* This was first pablished in The Ameriean Turf Register and Sporting Maganm, 
on the twentj-ninth of September, 1829. At that time the remains of Waahmgtoa 
were in the old vanlt, npon the summit of the rirer bank, a few rods from the lawv 
and aboat half way between the mansion and the tomb wherein thef now repoet 
These remains were re-entombed in the aatnmn of 1887. 


large enclosure paled in^ having in the midst a spring of 
running water. The pack was very numerous and select, 
the colonel visiting and inspecting his kennel morning 
and evening, after the same manner as he did his stables.'*' 
It was his pride (and a proof of his skill in hunting) to 
have his pack so critically drafted, as to speed and bottom, 
that in running, if one leading dog should lose the scent, 
another was at hand immediately to recover it, and thus 
when in full cry, to use a racing, phrase, you might cover 
the pack with a blanket 

During the season. Mount Yemon had many sporting 
guests from the neighborhood, from Maryland, and else- 
where. Their visits were not of days, but weeks ; and 
they were entertained in the good old style of Virginia's 
ancient hospitality. Washington, always superbly mount- 
ed, in true sporting costume, of blue coat, scarlet waist- 
coat, buckskin breeches, top boots, velvet cap, and whip 
with long thong, took the field at daybreak, with his 
huntsman. Will Lee, his friends and neighbors ; and none 
rode more gallantly in the chase, nor with voice more 
cheerily awakened echo in the woodland, than lie who 
was afterwards destined, by voice and example, to cheer 
his countrymen in their glorious struggle for indepen- 
dence and empire. Such was the hunting establishment 
at Mount Vernon prior to the Revolution. 

We come now to events of our own times. After the 

* Wadhingtofi kept a register of his horses and his hoonds, in which might be 
found the names, ages, and marks of each; and with these, his companions of the 
ahase, he was aa punctnal in hia attentiona as to any other bnsiness of his life. 
Among the namea of his horses were those of Chinkling, Valiant, Ajax, Magnolia, 
Blneskin, et cetera. Magnolia was a fall-blooded Arabian, and was osed for the 
saddle npon the road. Among the names of his honnds were Ynlcan, Ringwood, 
Sanger, Traelore, Mnsic, SweetUps, IV>rrester, Bockwood, et cetera. 



peace of 1783, the hunting establishment, which had 
gone down during the war, was renewed by the arrival 
of a pack of French hounds, sent out by the Marquis de 
Lafayette. These efdem de cJuisse were of great size — 

" Bred oat of the Spartan kind, so flewed, so sanded, 
With ears that swept awaj the rooming dew, dewlan'd 
Like the Salonian bulls, matched in mouth like bells" — 

the bells of Moscow, and great Tom of Lincoln, we should 
say, and, from their strength, were fitted, not only to pull 
down the stately stag, but in combat to encounter the 
wolf or boar, or even to grapple with the lordly lion. 
These hounds, from their fierce dispositions, were gen- 
erally kept confined, and wo to the stranger who might 
be passing their kennel after night-fall, should the gates 
be unclosed. His fate would be melancholy, unless he 
could climb some friendly tree, or the voice or the whip 
of the huntsman came " speedily to the rescue.** The 
huntsman always presided at their meals, and it was only 
by the liberal application of the whip-thong that any- 
thing like order could be preserved among these savages 
of the chase. 

The habit was to himt three times a week, weather 
permitting ; breakfast was served, on these mornings, at 
candle-light, the general always breaking his fast with 
an Indian-corn cake and a bowl of milk ; and, ere the 
cock had " done salutation to the mom," the whole caval- 
cade would often have left the house, and the fox be fre- 
quently unkennelled before simrise. Those who have 
seen WasMngton en horseback will admit that he was one 
of the most accomplished of cavaliers in the true sense 
and perfection of the character. He rode, as he did 
everything else, with ease, elegance, and with power. 


The vicious propensities of horses were of no moment to 
this skilful and daring rider ! He always said that he 
required but one good quality in a horse, to go ahng, and 
ridiculed the idea of its being even possible that he 
should be imhorsed, provided the animal kept on his legs. 
Indeed the perfect and sinewy frame of the admirable 
man gave him such a surpassing grip with his knees, 
that a horse might as soon disencumber itself of the sad- 
dle as of such a rider. 

The general usually rode in the chase a horse called 
BheskiUj of a dark iron-gray color, approaching to blue 
This was a fine but fiery animal, and of great endurance 
in a long run. Will, the huntsman, better known in Rev- 
olutionary lore as Billy, rode a horse called ChinkUng^ a 
surprising leaper, and made very much like its rider, low, 
but sturdy, and of great bone and muscle. Will had but 
one order, which was to keep with the hounds; and, 
mounted on CkmkKng, a French horn at his back, throw- 
ing himself almost at length on the animal, with his spur 
in flank, this fearless horseman would rush, at full speed, 
through brake or tangled wood, in a style at which 
modem huntsmen would stand aghast There were 
roads cut through the woods in various directions, by 
which aged and timid hunters and ladies could enjoy the 
exhilM^ating cry, without risk of life or limb ; but Wash- 
ington rode gaily up to his dogs, through all thq^diflBcul- 
ties and dangers of the ground on which he himted, nor 
spared his generous steed, as the distended nostrils of 
Bbieskin often would show. He was always in at the 
death, and yielded to no man the honor of the brush. 

The foxes hunted fifty years ago were gray foxes, with 
one exception ; this was a famous black fox, which, dif- 


fering from his brethren of " orders gray,** would flourish 
his brush, set his pursuers at defiance, and go from ten 
to twenty miles an end, distancing both dogs and 
men ; and what was truly remarkable, would return to 
bis place of starting on the same night, so as always to 
be found there the ensuing morning. Afler seven or 
eight severe runs, without success, Billy recommended 
that the black reynard should be let alone, giving it as 
his opinion, that he was very near akin to another sable 
character, inhabiting a lower region, and as remarkable 
for his wiles. The advice was adopted from necessity, 
and ever thereafter, in throwing off the hoimds, care was 
taken to avoid the haunt of the unconquerable black 

The chase ended, the party would return to the man- 
sion-house, where, at the well-spread board, and with 
cheerful glass, the feats of the leading dog, the most gal-* 
lant horse, or the boldest rider, together with the prowess 
of the famed black fox, were all discussed, while Wash- 
ington, never permitting even his pleasures to infringe 
upon the order and regularity of his habits, would, after 
a few glasses of Madeira, retire to his bed supperless ut 
nine o'clock. He always took a little tea and toast be- 
tween six and seven in the evening. 

Of the French hounds, there was one named Vuleanj 
and we bear him the better in reminiscence, from having 
often bestrid his ample back in the days of our juvenility. 
It happened that upon a large company sitting down to 

^ The red fox if sappoied to hare been imported from England, to the eastern. 
ihore of Maryland, by a Mr. Smith, and to have emigrated across the ice to Vir* 
ginia, in the hard winter of 1779-80, when the Chesapeake was froien orer.-^iVbte 
bg the Author. 


(linner at Mount Vemon one day, the lady of the mansion 
(my grandmother) discovered that the ham, the pride of 
every Virginia housewife's table, was missing from its 
accustomed post of honor. Upon questioning Frank, the 
butler, this portly, and at the same time the most polite 
and accomplished 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 Vtikaiiy 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 pld spoiler desperately, yet Vukan had 
finally triumphed, and bore off* the prize, ay, " cleanly, 
tinder 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 
Vukan, or indeed to dogs in general, while the chief, 
having heard the story, conununicated it to his guests, 
and, with them, laughed heartily at the exploit of the 

Washington's last hunt with his hounds, was in 1785. 
His private affairs and public business required too much 
of his time to allow him to indulge in field sports. His 
fondness for agricultural improvements, and the number 
of visiters that crowded Mount Vemon, induced him to 
break up his kennels, to give away his hounds, and to 
bid a final adieu to the pleasures of the chase. He then 
formed a deer-park below the mansion-house, extending 
to the river, and enclosing by a high paling about a hun* 
dred acres of land. The park was at first stocked with 
oidy the native deer, to which was afterwards added the 


English fallow deer, from the park of Governor Ogle, of 
Maryland * 

The stock of deer mcreased very rapidly, yet, strange 
to say, although herdmg together, there never was per- 
ceptible the slightest admixture of the two races. 

On the decay of the park paling, and the dispersion 
of the deer over the estate, as many as fifteen or twenty 
were often to be seen in a herd. 

The general was extremely tenacious of his game, and 
would suifier none to be killed, till, being convinced that 
the poachers were abroad, that the larder of an extensive 
hotel in a neighboring town was abundantly supplied 
with plump haimches from the Mount Vernon stock, and 
indeed that every one seemed to be enjoying his venison 
but himself, he at length consented that ^ a stag should 

One morning I was summoned to receive his orders for 
hunting. They were given as follows: ** Recollect, sir, 
that you are to fire with ball, to use no haundSy and on no 
accotmt to kill any but an old buck." Charmed with a 
permission so long coveted, and at last obtained, we pre* 
pared for the field. Determined to make a sure shot, we 
discarded the rifle in favor of an old British musket, of the 
fashion and time of George 11. — a heavy, black, ill-favored 
looking piece, but capable of carrying two balls, each of 
an ounce weight, and famed for hitting hard behind as well 
as before. Thus equipped, and with a goodly array of 
drivers, and dogs of various sorts, we repaired to the 
haunt of a celebrated old buck, considered as the patriarch 
of the herd. 

* Samuel Ogle was goYernor of Maryland at three different times, namely, in 
1732, 1737, and 1747. 


^Eousing him up fix)m his lair," the woods echoed 
"with the shouts of the huntsmen and the cries of the 
dogs, while the noble buck, crashing through the under- 
growth, seemed to bid defiance to his pursuers. The loud 
report of the musket was now added to the uproar in the 
wood, and, it being evident from hunter's signs that the 
game was hit, it only remained to mount and pursue. 

The ^ stricken deer" always seeks the water as a refuge 
from the dogs : in this instance, a rneke of hunters, horses, 
dogs, and deer rushed into the waters of the Potomac at 
the same time, the huntsmen laying lustily about them to 
prevent the dogs from breaking up the wounded stag, 
that^ after a gallant struggle, yielded up his life, and was 
carried in triumph to the mansion-house, there to await 
the master's inspection. 

Punctual as the hand of the clock, at a quarter to three 
the general arrived from his morning ride. Upon his 
dismounting, we announced that a fine buck had been 
shot "Ah, well !" he replied, " let 's see," and strode along 
to the Locust grove, to which we led the way — ay, and 
manly was that stride, although he was then in the sixty- 
eighth year of his age. He examined the deer, that had 
been triced up to a tree, and observing the fi:osted front of 
the antlered monarch of the herd, he became convinced 
that his orders had been obeyed to the very letter; he gave 
a nod of approbation, and retired to his room to dress, as 
waj3 his custom, before the second bell for dinner. 

The carcass of the Washington Stag, after being 
trimmed according to hunter's fashion — that is, the 
neck, hocks, and offal parts removed — weighed one 
hundred and forty-«ix pounds. 

The next day, several guests having assembled, the 


haunch was served up in the &m3y dining-room at Mount 

Vernon ; and of the venison it may of a truth be said 

that — 

"^ Finer or fatter 
Was ne'er carved at a board, or smoked on a platter." 

We have killed many a brave deer since the days of 
1799, but none have left an impression on the memory 
or the heart like that of the Washington Stag, that was 
killed by Washington's special order, that was served at 
his board, and on which he fed in the last^ the very last 
year of his glorious life,* 

* The antlen of this famoas back mftj still be seen at Arlington House, ifhore 
thej grace the great hall, and are labelled, in the handwriting of the sportsmaa who 
killed the owner, "The Washington Stag." 




InATrevmATioii of WASiini«TOK— Hn Pla,cx orBniDsxcs nr Ksv Yobs— His Fault ^ 
Tna OusBTS at m Pxs8ii>nfT*B Hoxtbi— Hn Lstxbs— Miw. Wabhivotok's Dkawih*- 
Booms— Ah Aooidsrt— Washxhotoit an Bablt Bnsm— His Stabus ix Nsw Yobk ahi> 
Philadxlpbxa— Tbs Thbatei nr Nsw Yosx— Sbtiebb Illioess or ram Pbxsipbkt— His 
Bbootxbt— His Eastxbn Tovb— Wasoxiiotoh's Pbitatb Bbobxtabxbs--A]vxodotb ov 
HiTiiTixBZTS— Tm Pbbbidbxt obahgbs his Bbsidbkob— Dbpabtubb fbom New Yobk — 


— Bbtolutioxabt Ybtxbaicb— Thx Pbbbu>xmt^ BBOBPTXoir xx Phxladblphia— HbYisitb' 
Ifomrr Ybbxox. 

On the 30th of April, 1789, the Constitutional Govern- 
ment of the United States began, by the inauguration of 
George Washington as President of the United States, in 
the city of New York* 

* The president, as we bare observed id a note on pafj^ 383, left bis home for 
New York on the sixteenth, and was ererywhere received on his journey with the 
greatest demonstrations of affection. At Trenton, where he entered New Jersey, his 
reception was pecnliar and gratifying. It was arranged entirely by the ladies, in 
which, as has been already observed, Mrs. Stockton, the widow of one of the signers 
of the Declaration of Independence, participated. Upon Trenton bridge they caused 
to be erected an areh, which they adorned with Uurel leaves and flowers from the 
forestt and their hothouses, and the first spring contributions from their gardens* 
Upon the crown of the arch, in large letters, formed of leaves and flowers, were the 
words '* December 26th, 1776;" and on the sweep beneath was the sentence, also 
formed of flowers, ** The Defender of the Mothers will be the Protector of the 
Dangbters." Beneath this nreh the president elect was obliged to pass on entering 
Trenton. There he was met by a troop of females. On one side a row of little 
girls dressed in white, and each bearing a basket of flowers, were arranged ; on the 
other side stood a row of yonng ladies similarly arrayed, and behind them were the 
maitied ladies. The moment Washington and his suite approached the arch, the 
little girls began to strew flowers in the road, and the whole company of the fair sang 
the following ode, writtcr for the occasion by Governor Howell : — 


In the then limited extent and improvement of the 
city, there was some difGicultj in selecting a mansion for 
the residence of the chief magistrate, and a household 
suitable to his rank and station. Osgood's house, a man- 
sion of very moderate extent, was at length fixed upon, 
situated in Cherry street* There the president became 
domiciled. His domestic family consisted of Mrs. Wash- 
ington, the two adopted children,f Mr. Lear, J as principal 
secretary, Colonel Humphrey s,§ with Messrs. Lewis and 
Nelson,|| secretaries, and Major William Jackson 'aid-de- 

" Welcome, mighty chief, once more 
Welcome to this gratefal shore. 
Now no mercenarj foe 
Aims again the fatal blow- 
Aims at Thee the fatal blow. 

" Virgins fair and matrons grave, 
Those thy conquering arm did save, 
Build for Thee triumphal bowers. 
Strew, ye fair, his way with flowers-— 
Strew your Hero's way with flowers I" 
Washington arrived in New York on the twenty-third of April, and took the oath 
of office, administered to him on the balcony of the old Federal Hall, in Wall street, 
by Robert K. Livingston, then chancellor of the state. 

* This was No. 10 Cheny street, a few doors from Franklin sqoare. When, 
afterward, the houses upon Franklin square, constituting a point at the junction of 
Pearl and Cherry streets, were removed, the former southern side of the numsioa 
fW>nted on the square, and so remained until its demolition, in 1856. Views of this 
house, as it appeared just before its destruction, to make way for finer buildings, 
may be seen in Valentine's Manual of the Qmman CcmneU of New York, 1857. 

t Eleanor Parke and Geoi^ Washington Parke Custis. Mr. Cnstis (the author 
of these Recollections) was then eight years of age. 

X Tobias Lear, who was a member of Washington's family at the time of that 
great man's death. 
4 Colonel David Humphreys, a sketch of whom is given elsewhere. 
I The former was a nephew of Washington, and the latter was a son of Oovemor 
Nelson, of Virginia. 

• IT Major Jackson was a great favorite in Washington's fkroily. He and Mr. Letr 
always walked out with the president; and he accompanied Washington in hia 
eastern and southern tours, made during his presidency. His wife, a daughter of 


Persons visitiBg the house in Cherry street at this time 
of day, will wonder how a building so small could contain 
the many and mighty spirits that thronged its halls in 
olden days."^ Congress, cabinet, all public functionaries 
in the commencement of the government, were selected 
from the very elite of the nation. Pure patriotism, com- 
manding talent, eminent services, were the proud and 
indispensable requisites for official station in the first days 
of the republic. The first Congress was a most enlight- 
ened and dignified body. In the senate were several of 
the members of the Congress of 1776, and signers of the 
Declaration of Independence — Richard Henry Lee, who 
moved the Declaration, John Adams, who seconded it, 
with Sherman, Morris, Carroll, etc.f 

The levees of the first president were attended by 
these illustrious men, and by many others of the patriots, 
statesmen, and soldiers, who could say of the Eevolution, 
^ magna pars fid ;^ while numbers of foreigners and stran- 
gers of distinction crowded to the seat of the general 
government, aU anxious to witness the grand experiment 
that was to determine how much rational liberty man- 
kind is capable of enjoying, without that liberty degen- 
erating into licentiousness. 

Mrs. Washington's drawing-rooms, on i'riday nights, 

Thomas Willing:, of Philadelphia, aarvired him a great many yean, and died recent- 
Ij, at the a}2:e of ninety-three years. 

• This was first published in the National InUiligenetr, on the twenty-third erf 
Febmary, 1847. 

t Boger Sherman, of Connecticut, Bobert Morris of PennsyWania, and Charles 
Carroll, of Maryland were all signers of the Declaration of Independence, and were 
members of Congress during Washington's first administration. Carroll was the 
last snrviror of the glorioos band of fifty-six who signed that great manifesto. He • 
died in 1832, in the ninety-sixth year of his age. 


were attended by the grace and beauty of New York.* 
On one of these occasions an incident occurred which 
might have been attended by serious consequences. 
Owing to the lowness of the ceiling in the drawing-room, 
the ostrich feathers in the head-dress of Miss Mclvefta, a 
belle of New York, took fire from the chandelier, to th^ 
no small alarm of the company.^ Major Jackson, aid-de- 
camp to the president, with great presence of mind, and 
equal gallantry, flew to the rescue of the lady, and, by 
clapping the burning plumes between his hands, extii^ 
guished tiie flame^ and the drawing-room went on flfi 

Washington preserved the habit, afi well in public as 
in private life, of rising at four o'clock, and retiring td 
bed at nine. On Saturdays he rested somewhat from his 
labors, by either riding into the country, attended by a 
groom, or with his family in his coach drawn by sLJt 

Fond of horses, the stables of the president were 
always in the finest order, and his equipage excellent^ 
both in taste and quality. Indeed, so long ago as the 
days of the vice-regal court of Lord Botetourt at Wil- 
liamsburg, in Virginia, we find that there existed a 
rivalry between the equipages of Colonel Byrd, a mag- 

* Washinsrton's levees were held on Taeaday, and Mn. Washington's drawing- 
rooms on Friday erenings. In his diary, in the antnmn of 1789 and the winter of 
1790, Washington often makes a simple record, thus, on Fridays— "The visitnrs 
this evening to AArs. Washington were respectable, both of gentlemen and ladiea." 
" The visiters to Mrs. Washington this afternoon were not nnmerons, bat respect- 
able." — " In the evening, a great number of ladies and many gentlemen visited Mrs. 

. t 'Riifl was Miss Maiy M'lvers, who was married at about that time, to the lata 
Edward Livingston, author of the Louisiana code, and American minister al tii« 
IVench court. 


nate of the old regime^ and Colonel Washington, the 
grays against the bays. Bishop, the celebrated body- 
servant of Braddoek, was the master of Washington's 
stables. And there were what was termed vfm&n horses 
in those old days. At cock-crow the stable-boys were at 
work ; at smirise Bishop stalked into the stables, a mus- 
lin handkerchief in his hand, which he applied to the 
coats of the animals, and, if the slightest stain was per- 
ceptible upon the muslin, up went the luckless wights 
of the stable-boys, and punishment was administered in- 
stanter ; for to the veteran Bishop, bred amid the iron 
discipline of European armies, mercy for anything like 
a breach of duty was altogether out of the question. 

The president's stables in Philadelphia were imder the 
direction of German John, and the grooming of the 
white chargers will rather surprise the modems. The 
Xiight before the horses were expected to be ridden they 
were covered entirely over with a paste, of which whiting 
was the principal component part; then the animals 
were swathed in body-cloths, and left to sleep upon clean 
straw. In the morning the composition had become 
hard, was well rubbed in, and curried and brushed, which 
process gave to the coats a beautiftil, glossy, and satin- 
like appearance. The hoofs were then blacked and 
polished, the mouths washed, teeth picked and cleaned ; 
and, the leopard-skin housings being properly adjusted, 
the white chargers were led out for service. Such was 
the grooming of ancient times.f 


* Colonel Bjrd, of Westorer, son of Colooel William Byid, some of whose let 
ten are printed in the Memoir of Mr. Castis, in another part of this volame. 

t Washington's stables in Philadelphia, were npon a narrow lane, now called 
Miner street^ below Sixth. There he had ten fine bajs and two white chargers. 
Bamael Breck, Esq., now [Jaly, 1859,] eight^r-eight j9itM of age, informed me % 


It was while residing in Cherry street that the presi- 
dent was attacked by a severe iUness, that required 
a surgical operation. He was attended by the elder 
and younger Drs. Bard. The elder being somewhat 
doubtful of his nerves, gave the knife to his son, bidding 
him "cut away — deeper, deeper still; don't be afraid; 
you see how well he bears it" Great anxiety was felt 
in New York at this time, as the president's case was 
considered extremely dangerous. Happily, the operation 
proved successful, and the patient's recovery removed all 
cause of alarm. During the illness a chain was stretched 
across the street, and the sidewalks were laid with straw.* 
Soon after his recovery, the president set out on his in* 
tended tour through the New England states.f 

few weeks since, that when a young man, he often visited those stables, with hit 
friends from other places, to show them Washington's horses. These constituted 
one of the most attractive "lions" of Philadelphia. He had frequently seen Wash- 
ington and his family riding in his beautiful cream-colored English coach, with six 
of these shining bay horses before it. 

. * His disease was a malignant carbuncle, which, at one time, seemed to be incura- 
ble, as mortification was continually threatened. He was attended night and day 
by Doctor Samuel Bard, one of the most enlightened and skilful physicians and 
sni^ons of that day. The painful tumor was upon his thigh, and was brought on 
by the excitements and labors which he had undergone since his inauguration. On 
the third of July he wrote to his friend, Jame^ M 'Henry, of Baltimore, informing 
him that the tumor was likely to prove beneficial to his general health, and that 
then he was able to exercise in his coach. To Mr. M'Henry's suggestion that Dr. 
Craik should be sent for, Washington replied, that it would gratify him much to 
have his old friend with him, but, since he could not enjoy that benefit, he thought 
himself "fortunate in having fiUlen into such good hands," as Dr. Bard's. Doctor 
M' Vickar, in his life of Bard, alluding to this illness of the president, relates that, 
on one occasion, being left alone with him, the sufibrer, looking the physician stead- 
ily in the face, desired his candid opinion as to the probable termination of his 
disease, adding, with perfect composure — " Do not flatter me with vain hopes ; 1 
am not afraid to die, and therefore can bear the worst." Dr. Bard expressed a 
hope, but acknowledged his apprehensions. WasMngton replied, with the same 
ooolnes^, " Whether to-night or twenty years hence, makes no difference ; I know 
that I am in the hands of a good Providence." 
t This tonr was commenced on Thursday, th6 fifteenth of October, 1789, and oo- 


The president's mansion was so limited in accommo- 
dation that three of the secretaries were compelled to 
occupy one room — Humphreys, Lewis, and Nelson. 
Humphreys, aid-de-camp to the commander-in-chief at 
Yorktown, was a most estimable man, and at the same 
time a poet About this period he was composing his 
*^ Widow of Malabar."* Lewis and Nelson, both young 
men, were content, after the labors of the day, to enjoy 
a good night's repose. But this was often denied them ; 
for Humphreys, when in the "vein, would rise from his 
bed at any hour, and, with stentorian voice, recite his 
verses. The young men, roused from their slumbers, 
«nd rubbing their eyes, beheld a great burly figure, " en 
chemise^^ striding across the floor, reciting with great em- 
phasis particular passages from his poem, and calling on 
his room-mates for their approbation. Having in this 
way for a considerable time ^ murdered the sleep" of his 
associates, Humphreys at length, wearied by his exer- 
tions, would sink upon his pillow in a kind of dreamy 
languor. So sadly were the young secretaries annoyed 
by the frequent outbursts of the poet's imagination, that 
it was remarked of them by their friends that, from 1789, 
to the end of their lives, neither Robert Lewis nor 
Thomas Nelson were ever known to evince the slightest 
taste for poetry. 

copied nearlj a month. Major Jackson, Mr. Lear, and six senranta composed his 
retiniie. Chief JasticeJaj, and Generals Hamilton and Knox, accompanied them 
some distance oat of the citj. He returned on the thirteenth of November. In his 
diary of that date he says — "Between two and three o'clock anived at my house 
at New York, where I fonnd Mrs. Washington and the rest of the family all well— 
and it being Mrs. Washington's night to reoeire visits, a pretty large company of 
ladies and gentlemen were present." 

♦ The Widow of Malabar, or the Tyranny of Ckuttm, is a tragedy, translated from 
the French of M. Le Mierre. It was brongfat oat in Philadelphia, in May, 1790, by 
the old American company, in which Hallam. Wignell, Harper, Biddlo, Martin, 


The mansion in Cherry street proving so very incon- 
venient^ induced the French ambassador to give up his 
establishment — McComb's new house in Broadway — 
for the accommodation of the president* It was fix)m 
this house in 1790 that Washington took his final de- 
parture from New Tork.f It was always his habit to 
endeavor^ as much as possible, to avoid the manifesta- 
tions of affection and gratitude that met him every 
where. He strove in vain ; he was closely watched, and 
the people would have their way. He wished to have 
slipped off unobserved from New York, and thus steal a 
march upon his old companions-in-arms. But there were 
too many of the dear glorious old veterans of the Revo- 
lution at that time of day in and near New York to 
render such an escape even possible. 

The baggage had all been packed up ; the horse?, car- 
riages, and servants ordered to be over the ferry to 
Paulus's' Hook, by daybreak, and nothing was wanting 

Henry, Mrs. HeniT', and Miss Take, were the performers. The prologue was 
written hy John Tramball, the author of M'fingaU, and was spoken by Mr. Hal- 
lam. The epilogue was written by Mr. Hamphreys, and was spoken by Mn. 

* Washington, in his diary, under date of February first, 1790, says: "Agreed 
on Saturday last to take Mr. M'Combs's house, lately occupied by the mmister of 
France, for one year from and after the first day of May nei^t. . . This day sent wKf 
secretary to examine the rooms to see how my furniture could be adapted to the 
respective apartments." On Wednesday, the third, he records — " Visited the apart- 
ments in the house of Mr. M'Combs ; made a disposition of the rooms ; fixed on 
some furniture of the minister's (which was to be sold, and was well adapted to paiw 
ticttlar public rooms), and directed additional stables to be built" On the twenty* 
second he records — " Set seriously about remoying my fiimiture to my new house. 
Two of the gentlemen of the family had their beds taken there, and will sleep 
there to-night." This house was on Broadway, west side, a little below Titnitj 
church. It was subsequently occupied as a hotel, and was called the Maumm- 
Hcum, from the fact that it had been the presidential mansion. 

t The seat of government was removed to Philadelphia that year, and Congieet 
assembled in that city, on the first Monday of December following. 


for departure but the dawn. The lights were yet burn- 
ing, when the president came into the room where his 
family were assembled, evidently much pleased in the 
belief that all was right, when, immediately under the 
windows, the band of the artillery struck up Washing- 
ton's March. "There !" he exclaimed, "it's all over; we 
are found out Well, well, they must have their own 
way." New York soon after appeared as if taken by 
storm J troops and persons of all descriptions hurrying 
down Broadway toward the place of embarcation, all 
anxious to take a last look on him whom so many could 
never expect to see again. 

The embarcation was delayed until all the complimen- 
tary arrangements were completed. The president, after 
taking leave of many dear and cherished friends, and 
many an old companion-in-arms, stepped into the barge 
that was to convey him fronj New York for ever. The 
coxswain gave the word " let fall ;" the spray from the 
oar^ sparkled in the morning sunbeams; the bowman 
shoved off from the pier, and, as the barge swung round 
to the tide, Washington, rose, uncovered, in the stem, to 
bid adieu to the masses assembled on the shore; he 
waved his hat, and, in a voice tremulous from emotion, 
pronoimced farewell. It may be supposed that Major 
Bauman,* who commanded the artillery on this interest- 
ing occasion, who was first captain of Lamb's regiment, 
and a favorite ofiScer of the War of the Revolution, would, 
when about to pay his last respects to his beloved com- 
mander, load his pieces with something more than mere 

* Major SebastUn Baaman was a meritorious artillery officer during the war. He 
was at West Point at the time of Arnold's treason ; was at the siege of Yorktown, 
and was postmaster at New York thirteen consecitive years, commencing in 1790, 
when Washington appointed him. 


blank cartridges. But ah ! the thunders of the cannon 
were completely hushed when the mighty shout of the 
people arose that responded to the farewell of Washing- 
ton. Pure from the heart it came ; right up to Heaven 
it went, to call down a blessing upon the Father of his 

The barge had scarcely gained the middle of the Hud- 
son when trumpets were heard at Paulus's Hook,* where 
the governor]- and the chivalry of Jersey were in waiting 
to welcome the chief to those well-remembered shores. 
Escorts of cavalry relieved each other throughout the 
whole route, up to the Pennsylvania line ; every village, 
and even hamlet, turned out its population to gre^et with 
cordial welcomd the man upon whom all eyes were fixed, 
and in whom all hearts rejoiced. 

What must have been the recollections that crowded 
on the mind of Washington during this triumphant pro- 
gress ? Newark, Brunswick, Princeton, Trenton ! What 
a contrast between the glorious burst of sunshine' that 
now illumined and made glad everything around these 
memorable spots, with the gloomy and desolate remem- 
brances of '76 ! Then his country's champion, with the 
wreck of a shattered host^ was flying before a victorious 
and well-appointed foe, while all around him was shroud- 
ed in the darkness of despair; now, ir his glorious prog- 
ress over the self-same route, his firm footstep presses 
upon the soil of an infant empire, reposing in the joys 
of peace, independence, and happiness. 

Among the many who swelled his triumph, the most 
endeared to the heart of the chief were the old associates 

* Now Jenej City, opposite New Toik. 
t QoTornor Richard Howell, of New Jersey. 


of his toils, his fortunes, and his fame. Many of the 
Revolutionary veterans were living in 1790, and, by 
their presence, gave a dignified tone and character to all 
public assemblages ; and when you saw a peculiarly fine- 
looking soldier in those old days, and would ask, " to 
what corps of the American army did you belong?' 
drawing himself up to his full height, with a martial air, 
and back of the hand thrown up to his forehead, the vet- 
eran would reply, ^ Life-Guard, your honor ."* 

And proud and happy were these veterans in again 
beholding their own good Lady Washington. Greatly was 
she beloved in the army. Her many intercessions with 
the chief for the pardon of offenders, and her kind- 
ness to the sick and wounded, caused her annual arrival 
in camp to be liailed as an event that would serve to dis- 
sipate the gloom of the winter-quarters. 

Arrived at the line, the Jersey escort was relieved by 
the cavalry of Pennsylvania; and when near to Philadel- 
phia, the president was met by Governor Mifflinf and a 
brilliant cortege of ofiScers, and escorted by a squadron 

* See chapter vii. 

t Thomas Mifflin was bora in Philadelphia, of Qaaker parents, in the year 1774. 
He was trained in all the strictness of the sect. He prepared for mercantile life, and 
at qaite an early age made a Yoyage to Europe. In 1772, he was elected a repre- 
sentative in the colonial assembly of his province, and in 1774, being recognised as a 
warm republican, he was chosen a representatiye in the continental Congress. The 
following year he entered the military service, accompanied Washington to Cam- 
bridge, as his aid, and in the spring of 1776, was commissioned a brigadier in the 
continental army. He was promoted to major-general in February, 1777, and con- 
tinued in service until near the close of the war. In the autumn of 1 783, he was 
chosen president of Congress, of which he was a member, and receiyed from Wash- 
ington his commission, when he resigned it. In 1785 he was a member of the Penn- 
sylvania legislature, and in 1787 was a member of the federal convention. He was 
elected governor of Pennsylvania in 1790, and held that office nine years. He re- 
tired from it in December 1799, and expired at Lancaster the following month, at 
the age of fifty-six yean. 


of horse to the city. Conspicuous among the govemort 
suite, as well for his martial bearing as for the manly 
beauty of his person, was General Walter Stewart, a son 
of Erin, and a gallant and distinguished officer of the 
Pennsylvania line. To Stewart, as to Gadwalader, 
Washington was most warmly attached j indeed, those 
officers were among the very choicest of the contribu- 
tions of Pennsylvania to the army and cause of Independ- 
ence. Mifflin, small in stature, was active, alert, ^ every 
inch a soldier." He was a patriot of great influence in 
Pennsylvania in the ^ times that tried men*s souls," and 
nobly did he exert that influence in railing troops, with 
which to reinforce tiie wreck of the grand army at the 
close of the campaign of '76. 

Arrived within the city, the crowd became intense. 
The president left his carriage and mounted the white 
charger; and, with the governor on his right, proceeded 
to the City Tavern in South Second street,* where quar- 
ters were prepared for him, the light-infantry, after some 
time, having opened a passage for the carriages. At the 
City Tavern the president was received by the authori- 
ties of Philadelphia, who welcomed the chief magistrate 
to their city as to his home for the remainder of his 
presidential term. A group of old and long-tried friends 
were also in waiting. Foremost among these, and firl^t 
to grasp the hand of Washington, was one who was al- 

* The City Tairem was then, and had been since its erection in 1 770, the leading 
pttblic-honeo in Philadelphia. It was in Soath Second, near Walnat street. It 
was the gathering-place for the members of the continental Congress ; and firom it 
one of the most remarkable processions eyer known, was seen on the fifth of Sep- 
tember, 1774. John Adams, in his diary, says : "At ten, the delegates all met at 
the City Tavern, and walked to the Carpenter's Hall." Within an hoar afterward, 
the first Congress was organized by the appointment of Peyton Randolph as presi- 
dent, and Charles Thomson as secretanr. 


ways nearest to his hearty a patriot and public benefactor^ 
Bobert Morris. 

After remaining a short time in Philadelphia, the pres- 
ident speeded on his journey to that home where he ever 
found rest from his mighty labors^ and enjoyed the sweets 
of rural and domestic happiness amid hiB farms and at 
his fireside of Mount Vernon. 

Onward, still onward, flows the tide of time. The few 
who yet survive that remember the father of his country, 
•re &st fading away. A little while, and their gray heads 
will all have dropped into the grave. May the reminis- 
cences of one whom Washington adopted in infancy, 
cherished in youth, and who grew up to manhood under 
hid parental care, continue to find favor with the Ameri- 
can people ! 



Washington's home and household.* 

Ou>BB~Pi7BUO Datb wmut PBBsmsira— Wabiizn«toh'b Atxbuoh to Show axd Pomp — 


Pbootob— CoLOMBL BooBBS— Obhbbal Chablbb Boott— Ah Ibish Boldixb at THB Pbm* 
lOBNTiAL Makseon— Thb Wbath ov WABHXKOTOir— His Bbxsb ov Jubtios— Fxbbt In* 
tbbtibw vith St. Claxb aftbb his DBnAT^WASHnrOTOH'B Btbwabd— Hn Extbata* 
OANOB Bbpbotbd— Thb Chibt Ck>OK ov thb Pbbbideiitzal MAimoir— His Chabaocbb 
AXD Habits— Thb Coaohmak— The Coaoh in whxoh thb pBHsmsinr maob his Tovm 


THB Coaoh-Hobsbs— Almost a Oatastbophb— Wasrznotoh^ Puhotualitt— Sobhbs oa 
thb KXnoHAL Ahhitbbsabehb— Bbplbotioits. 

Wherever Washington established a home — ^whether 
temporary or fixed, whether amid the log huts of Morris- 
town or the Valley Forge, the presidential mansions in 
New York or Philadelphia, or his own beloved Mount 
Vernon— everywhere order, method, pimctuality, econ- 
omy reigned. His household, whether civil or military, 
was always upon a liberal scale, and was conducted with 
due regard to economy and usefubiesa 

The public days of the first president of the United 
States, were two in each week. On Tuesday fi:om three 
to four o'clock, a levee was held for foreign ministers, 
strangers, and others, who could there be presented to 

* The earlier portion of this chapter was written in July, 1827, and pabliahed 
in the AUxandria Gazette, The latter portion, commencing with a notice of Fraoncei, 
the steward, was written and published in a Baltimore paper, in April, 1849. 


the chief magistrate, without the fonnality of letters of 
introduction. It was, indeed more an arrangement of 
mutual convenience to the parties, than an affair of state ; 
still it was objected to by some, at that time of day, as 
savoring rather of monarchal etiquette, than of the 
simpler customs which should distinguish a republic. — 
Who thinks so now ? In truth, the first president was 
so occupied with the multiplicity of public concerns, at- 
tendant on the outset of a new government, that it be- 
came necessary to limit the time of visiters of mere cere- 
mony, as much as possible ; and the levee enabled all 
such personages to pay their respects within the moder- 
ate compass of an hour. The world is always governed 
in a considerable degree by form and usage. There 
never lived a man more averse to show and pomp than 
Washington. Plain in his habits, there was none to whom 
the details of official parade and ceremony could be less 
desirable ; but correct in all his varied stations of life, 
the days of the first presidency will ever appear as 
^mong the most dignified and imposing in our country's 

* In a letter to Doctor Stuart, Washington gives an account of the origin of hii 
levees. " Before the custom was established," he says, " which now accommodates 
foreign characters, strangers, and others, who, from motives of cnriositj, respect for 
'the chief magistrate, or anj other cause, are induced to call upon me, I was unabl# 
to attend to an j business whatever; for gentlemen, consulting their own convenience 
rather than mine, were calling after the time I rose from breakfast, and often before, 
until I sat down to dinner. This, as I resolved not to neglect mj public duties, 
reduced me to the choice of one of these alternatives : either to refuse visito alto 
pether, or to appropriate a time for the reception of them. The first would, I knew, 
he disgusting to many ; the latter, I expected, would undergo animadversions from 
those who would find fault with or without cause. To please eveiybody was im- 
possible. I, therefore, adopted that line of conduct which combined public advan- 
tage with private convenience, and which, in my judgment, was unexceptionable in 
itself. . . .These visits are optional ; they are made without invitation ; between the 
Hours of three and four every Tuesday, I am prepared to receive them. Gentlemen, 


On Thursday the president gave his congressional and 
diplomatic dinners ; and on Friday nighty Mrs. Washing* 
ton received company at what was then^ and is still, 
called the drawing-room * 

often in great nnmben, come and go, chat with each other, and act'as they pleaae. 
A porter shows them into the room, and thej retire from it when thej choose, with- 
out ceremoDj. At their first entrance they salate me, and I them, and as many as 
I can I talk to." 

* See note on page 396. Mr. Wansej, an English traveller, who published an 
account of his Excursion in ihe United States, in 1795, says, that the" democrats 
" objected to these drawing-rooms of Mrs. Washington, as tending to give her a 
super-eminency, and as introductory to the paraphernalia of courts." After quoting 
this. Dr. Griswold, in his Republican Court, remarks : " With what feelings the ex- 
cellent woman regarded these democrats is shown by an anecdote of the same period. , 
She was a severe disciplinarian, and Nelly Cnstis was not often permitted by her to 
be idle, or to follow her own caprices. The young girl was compelled to practise at 
the harpsichord four or five hours every day, and one morning, when she should 
have been playing, her grandmother entered the room, remarking that she had not 
heard the music, and also that she had observed some person going out, whose name 
she would very much like to know. Nelly was silent, and suddenly her attention 
was arrested by a blemish on the wall, which had been newly painted a delicate 
cream color. 'Ah I it was no fBderalist,' she exclaimed, looking at the spot jnst 
above a settee ; " none but a filthy democrat would mark a place with his good-for- 
nothing head in that manner I " 

Samuel York Atlee, Esq. of Washington city, called the attention of Mr. Cnstis 
to this statement, when the venerable author of these RecoUectiom, in a letter to that 
gentleman, on the 29th of December, 1854, remarked :— 

" As to the story of Nelly Custis, my sister, practising veiy long and very un- 
willingly at the harpsichord, that part of the tafe of Wanseif is true. The poor girl 
would play and cry, and cry and play, for long hours, under the immediate eye of 
her grandmother, a rigid disciplinarian in all tilings. 

" As to the absurd details that chronicle a saying of Mrs. Washington, touching 
democrats^ no one, my dear sir, who knew that venerable lady, or who had ever 
heard of her, will believe a word of it. As the esteemed Lady Washington of the 
army of Independence, or the Lady president of later days, Mrs. Washington was 
remarkable for her affable and dignified manners, and her courteous and kindly de- 
meanor to all who approached her. Again, it is notorious that the politicians and 
statesmen of both parties were equally well and kindly received at the presidenial 
mansion, where were welcomed Mr. Oallatin, Mr. Giles, and others of the chSeft of 
the democratic party, as well as Mr. Ames, Mr. Sedgwick, and others of the feder- 

"I can, with great tmth, aver that, in tiie whole period of the flftt presidoncj^ I 


The president attended Mrs. Washington's evening 
parties, and paid his compliments to the circle of ladies, 
with that ease and elegance of manners for which he 
was remarkable. Among the most polished and well- 
bred gentlemen of his time, he was always particularly 
polite to ladies, even in the rugged scenes of war ; and, 
in advanced age, many were the youthful swains who 
sighed for those gracious smiles with which the fair al- 
ways received the attentions of this old beau of sixty- 

An interesting class of persons were to be found at 
the side of the chief, on both his public and private days, 
who gave a feeling and character to every scene, and 
threw a charm over very many of the associations of 
more than thirty years ago. We mean the patriots and 
heroes of the Revolution. Among the finest recollections 
of those gone-by days, were of the anniversary of inde- 
pendence, when the gray-haired brethren of the Cin- 
cinnati assembled around their illustrious president-gene- 
ral, many of them seamed with scars, and all bearing the 
badge of the most honored associaiian upon earths These 

neyer heard Mrs. Washington engage in any political oontroyersy, or, indeed, toucA 
0n M« whjtd ofpciUics at aU, 

** Another remark, and I hare done. 

" The sitting parlor, into which all visiters were shown, was papered, not " painted ;'* 
bnt even had it been painted d la Chriswold, things were better ordered in the house 
of die first president than that a gentleman-yisiter, on leaning against the wainscot, 
shoald leave Mb mark behind him," 

* The society of the Cincinnati, composed of officers of the continental armj, 
was organized in 1783. It was conceived by General Henry Knox, and when he 
oommnnicated his ideas on the subject to Washington, he heartily approved of it. 
A committee, consisting of Generals Knox, Hand, and Huntington, and Captain 
Shaw, was appointed to pat the propositions of several who were interested in th« 
matter into a proper form. This committee reported at a meeting held at the quar- 
ters of the Baron Steuben, in Fishkill, Duchess county, nearly opposite Newburgh 


venerated forms are now rarely to be seen, and soon will 
be seen no more ; but like Ossian's shadowy heroes, they 
will appear through the mists of time, and their heroic 
lives and actions will inspire the bards of liberty, while 
liberty exists to bless mankind. 

Notwithstanding his great occupation in public affiurs, 
the first president by no means neglected his private 
concerns. He was in the habit of receiving regular and 
lengthy reports from the agents of his estates in Virginia, 
and directed by letter the management of those exten- 
sive establishments, with both consummate skill and suo- 
cefss. He also inspected the weekly accoimts and dis- 
bursements of his household in Philadelphia. Indeed, 
nothing seemed to escape the discerning mind of this 
wonderful man, " who had a time for all things, and did 
everything in its proper time," and in order. 

(tho head- quartan of the army wero at the latter place), and the society wa« daly 

At it was composed of officers who had serred their conntiy, and were about to 
rosame their several domestic employments, they called themselves the CiNciirirATi, 
in honor of that illnstrioas Roman, Lucitu Quinhu Cineinruitus, whose noble example 
they were aboat to follow. The chief oljects of the society were to promote cordial 
friendship and indissoluble union among^ themselves ; to commemorate by frequent 
re-unions the {c^at struggle they had just passed through ; to use their best endeavors 
for the promotion of human liberty; to cherish good feeling between the respective 
states ; and to extend benevolent aid to those of the society whose circumstances 
might require it They formed a general society, and elected Washington the 
president, and Knox the secretary. The former held his office until his death, and 
was succeeded by Greneral Alexander Hi^pdiltitii. For greater convenience, state 
societies were organized, which were auxilliary tt> the parent society. To perpetuate 
the association, it was provided in the constitution, that the eldest male descendant 
tf ll^fnginal member should be entitled to memberehip on the debease of such 
roembeiy "in failure thereof, the collateral branches, who may be judged worthy of 
bmmin^ its supporters and members.'' They also adopted an Order, to be worn 
jwhowcr the society should meet For a tall account of this society, with dcline- 
ItionMof its Ordtr and certificate of membership, see Lossiag's Fldd-Book of tk§ 
"^^mMuni, i. 694. 

washenoton's home and household. 411 

General Wdflhington was a practical economist : while 
he wished that his style of living should be fully in char- 
acter vrith his exalted station, he was utterly averse to 
waate or extravagance of any sort He frequently repri- 
manded his first steward, Fraimces (the same at whose 
hotel, in New York, the general-in-chief took leave of his 
brother-oflScers), for expenditures which appeared to be 
both unnecessary and extravagant'*' 

The first president took considerable pains, and used 
frequent stratagems, in endeavoring to avoid the num- 
berless manifestations of attachment and respect which 
awaited him wherever he went On his journeys, he 
charged the courier who would precede to engage ac- 
commodations at the inns, by no means to mention the 
coming of the president to other than the landlord. 
These precautions but rarely took efiect ; and often when 
the chief would suppose that he had stolen a march upon 
his old*companion&-in-arms and fellow-citizens, a horse- 
man would be discovered dashing off at full speed, 

* This steward was Samnel Fraances (commonlj called Black Sam, becaase of 
his daik complexion), who kept a public hoase on the comer of Pearl and Broad 
streeto, New York. When Washington and his armj occupied the citj, in the 
sammer of 1776, the chief resided at Richmond hill, a little oat of town, after- 
ward the seat of Aaron Ban*. Frannces's daughter was Washington's housekeeper, 
and she sared his life on one occasion, by exposing the intentions of Hickey, one of 
the liife-Goard (already mentioned), who was about to murder the general, by put* 
ting poison in a dish of peas prepared for his table. In 1785, when Washington 
wished a good cook at Mount Vernon, he applied to Fraunoes to recommend one to 
him. At the time he was appointed steward, the following advertisement ap* 
peared: — 

*' Whereas, all serrants and others appointed to procure prorisions or supplies 
Ibr the household of the Pbxsidbnt of thb Uvitbd States, will be famished 
with moneys for these purposes : Notice is thertfire given, that no accounts, for the 
payment of which the public might be considered responsible, are to be opened 
with any of them. 

'* May 4, 1789. Bamusl Fkaunobb, Suward to the Hoiuehold." 


and soon would be heard the trumpet of the volunteer- 
cavalry ; and the village cannon, roused from its bed of 
neglect, where it had lain since warlike time, would sum- 
mon all within reach of its echoes, to haste and bid wel- 
come to the man who was ^ first in the hearts of his 
countrjrmen." Every village and little hamlet poured forth 
their population to greet the arrival of him who all de- 
lighted to honor. A kind of jubilee attended every* 
where the progress of the patriot chief; for even tibe 
school children, with the curiosity incident to that age 
of innocence, would labor hard at the daily lesson, and 
leav^ the birch to hang idly on the wall, when to see 
General Washington was the expected holyday and reward ; 
and many of these children, now the parents of children, 
while recalling the golden hours of infancy, will dwdll 
with delight on the time when they were presented to 
the paternal chief, and recount how they heard the kind- 
ly sounds of his voice, felt the kindlier touch of his hand, 
or climbed his knee, to ^ share the good man's smile.'' 
Pure, happy, and honored recollections! they will de- 
scend like traditionary lore from generation to genera- 
tion, venerable to all fiiture time. 

In the firequent trial of generalship between the chief 
and his ancient comrade-in-arms — the one seeking to 
avoid the testimonies of respect and attachment, which 
the other was equally studious to ofier — the late Colonel 
Proctor,"^ a gallant and distinguished officer of artillery, 
was several times out-generalled — the president having 
reached the seat of government privately and unobserved. ^ 
This roused the good old colonel, who dedared, ^He 

* Colonel Thomafl Proctor was in the battlei of Bmndywine, GemiMitowB, Md 
Monmontfay and waa with SoUiTan in hia famona campaign against the Indiaoa 

Washington's home and household. 413 "^ 

shall not serve me so again ; I'll warrant that my matches 
will be found lighted next time/' 

At the ferry of the Susquehannah^ lived a veteran 
worthy of the Bevolutionary day, where the presi- 
dent always took quarters on his journeys to and from 
his seat in Virginia. As the boat touched the shore, 
punctual to the moment and true to his post, stood Col- 
onel Rogers, prepared to hand Mrs. Washington to his 
house. It was his claim, his privilege ; like the claims 
at a coronation, it had been put in and allowed, and, 
verily, the veteran woidd not have yielded it to an em- 
■ peror.* 

The late General Charles Scott had a most inveterate 
habit of swearing ; whether in private or public society, 
on his &rm, or the fi^ld of battle, every other word was 
an oath. On the night preceding the battle of Prince- 
ton, Scott received an order from the commander-in-chief 
in person to defend a bridge to the last extremity. " To 
the last man, your excellency," replied Scott; and, for- 
getting the presence of his chief, accompanied the words 
with tremendous oaths. The general, as may be well 
supposed, had but little time, on that eventful evening, 
to notice or chide this want of decorum in his brave and 
well-tried soldier. After the war, a friend of the gallant 
general, anxious to reform his evil habits, asked him 
whether it was possible that the man so much beloved, 
the admired Washington, ever swore? Scott reflected 
for a moment, and then exclaimed, " Yes, once. It was 
at Monmouth, and on a day that would have made any 

* At tho Head of Blk, wbs a Tetenn named Tommy Giles (who had 'serred 
Washingtoa at an exproM rider), who always elaimed, and receiTed, the same 


man swear. Yes, sir, he swore on that day, till the 
leaves shook on the trees, charming, delightful Never 
have I enjoyed such swearing before, or since. Sir, on 
that ever-memorable day he swore like an angel from 
Heaven."* The reformer abandoned the general in de- 

Dmring the first presidency, the door of the mansion 
gathered but little rust on its hinges, while its latch was 
often lifted by the ^ broken soldier/* Scarce a day passed 
that some veteran of the heroic time did not present 
himself at headquarters. The most tattered of these types 
of the days of privation and trial were " kindly bid to 
stay," were offered refreshment, and a glass of something 
to their old general's health, and then dismissed with 
lighter hearts, and heavier pouches. So passed the 
many, but not so with one of Erin's sons. It was about 
the hour of the Tuesday levee, when German John, the 
porter, opened to a hearty rap, expecting to admit at 
least a dignitary of the land, or foreign ambassador, when 
who should march into the hall but an old fellow, whose 
weather-beaten countenance, and well-worn apparel, 
showed him to be " no carpet knight" His introduction 
was short, but to the purpose. He had *^ come to head- 
quarters to see his honor's excellence, God bless him." 

* Charles Soott was a native of Camberland countj, in Virg;inia. He raised the 
first company of volunteers in that state, sonth of the James river, that actually en- 
tered into the continental service. 80 mnch was be appreciated, that, in 1777, tlie 
shire-town of Powhatan county was named in honor of him. Congress appointed 
him a brigadier in the continental army on the first of April, 1777. He served with 
distinction during the war, and at its termination he went to Kentucky. He settled 
in Woodford county, in that state, in 1785. He was with St Clair at his defeat in 
1791 ; and in 1794 he commanded a portion of Wayne's army at the battle of the 
Fallen Timber. He was governor of Kentucky from 1808 to 181 S. He died on tfa« 
twenty-second of October, 1820, aged seventy-four years. 


He was an old soldier. In vain the porter assured him 
that it would be impossible to see the president at that 
time; a great company was momently expected — the 
hall was not a fitting place — would he go to the stew- 
ard's apartment and get something to drink? To all 
which Pat replied, that he was in no hurry ; that he would 
wait his honor's leisure ; and, taking a chair, composed 
and made himself comfortable. And now passed minis- 
ters of state and foreign ministers, senators, judges ; the 
great and the gay. Meanwhile, poor Pat stoutly main- 
tained his post, gazing on the crowd, till the levee having 
ended, and the president about to retire to his library, 
he was informed that an obstinate Irishman had taken 
possession of the hall, and would be satisfied with noth- 
ing short of an interview with the president himself 
The chief good-naturedly turned into the hall. So soon 
as the veteran saw his old commander, he roared out : 
^ Long life to your honor's excellence," at the same time 
hiu'ling his hat to the floor, and erecting himself with 
military precision. " Your honor will not remember me, 
though many is the day that I have marched under your 
orders, and many's the hard knocks I've had, too. I be- 
longed to Wayne's brigade — Mad Anihon^y the British 
called him, and, by the power, he was always mad 
enough for them. I was wounded in the battle of Ger- 
mantown. Hurrah for America ! and it does my heart 
good to see your honor ; and how is the dear lady and 
all the little ones ?" Here the usually grave tempera- 
ment of Washington gave way, as, with a smile, he re- 
plied, he was well, as was Mrs. Washington, but they 
were imfortunate in having no children ; then pressing 
a token into the soldier's hand, he ascended the staircase 


to his library. The Irishman followed with his eyes ihe 
retiring general^ then looked again and again upon the 
token, which he had received from his honoris awn hand, 
pouched it^ recovered his hat> which he placed with mil- 
itary exactness a little on one side, then took up his line 
of march, and as he passed the porter, called out, " There 
now, you Hessian fellow, you see that his honor's excel- 
lence has w)t forgotten an ould soldier.^ 

These anecdotes, though simple in themselves, possess 
no common character. They are Tales of the Days of 
WasMnffton, and tales of the heart We proceed to some- 
thing more grave, 

The president was dining, when an officer arrived fix)m 
the western army with despatches, his orders requiring 
that he should deliver them only to the commander-in- 
chief The president retired, but soon reappeared, bear- 
ing in his hand an open letter. No change was per* 
ceptible in his countenance, as addressing the company 
he observed that the army of St, Clair had been surprised 
by the Indians, and was cut to pieces.* The company 

* For soyeral yean after ihe peace of 1783, British agents on the north we ste rn 
frontier of the United States, continued to tamper with the Indians, and excite them 
to hostilities against the people of the new republic. The Indians showed growiog 
discontent for some time, and finally, in the spring of 1790, these dereloped into 
open hostilities. All attempts at pacific arrangements were frhitiess, and a strong 
force, nnder General Harmer, was sent into tiie Indian conntry, north of the present 
city of Cincinnati, to desolate the Indian Tillages and crops, in order to impress them 
with terror. This accomplished, he penetrated deeper, and in two battles (October 
17 and 22, 1790), near the present Tillage of Fort Wayne, in Indiana, he was de- 
feated, with coniiiderable loss. The following year. General Scott led some Ken* 
tacky Tolnnteers against the Indians on the Wabash ; and another iharched thither 
in July following, nnder General Wilkinson. General St. Clair was then gOTemor 
of tiie Northwestern territory, and in September, 1791, he marched against the 
Indians, at the head of two thousand men. While in camp, near the northern lino 
of tiie present Barke country, in Ohio, on tiie fourth of NoTcmber, he was surprised 
and defeated. 

WASHmaiON's home and household. An , 

soon after retired. The president repaired to his private 
parlor, attended by Mr. Lear^ his principal secretary, and 
a scene ensued of which our pen can give but a feeble 

The chief paced the room in hurried strides. In his 
agony, he struck his clenched hands with fearful force 
against his forehead, and in a paroxysm of anguish ex- 
claimed : ^ That brave army, so oflScered — Butler, Fergu- 
son, Kirkwood — such oflBlcers are not to be replaced in a 
day — that brave army cut to pieces. God !" Then 
turning to the secretary, who stood amazed at a spectacle 
so unique, as Washington in all his terrors, he continued : 
* It was here, sir, in this very room, that I conversed 
with St. Clair, on the very eve of his departure for the 
West, I remarked, I shall not interfere, general, with 
the orders of General Knox, and the war department ; 
they are sufficiently comprehensive and judicious ; but, 
as an old soldier, as one whose early life was particularly 
engaged in Indian warfare, I feel myself competent to 
counsel ; General St Clair, in three words, beware of 
surprise ; trust not the Indian ; leave not your arms for 
a moment ; and when you halt for the night, be sure to 
fortify your camp — again and again, general, beware of 
surprise. And yet that brave army surprised, and cut 
to pieces, with Butler, and an host of others slain^ 
God !" Here the struggle ended, as with mighty efforts 
the hero chained down the rebellious giant of passion, 
and Washington became ^ himself again." In a subdued 
tone of voice, he proceeded : " But he shall have justice ; 
yes, long, faithful, and meritorious services have their 
claims. I repeat — he shall have justice." 

Thus concluded a scene as remarkable as rare. It 



served to display this great man as nature had made 
him^ with passions fierce and impetuous^ which, like the 
tornado of the tropics, would burst for a while in awful 
grandeur, and then show, in higher relief a serene and 
brilliant sky.* 

* The venerable Richard Rash, who died at his beantifal seat of Sydenham, near 
Philadelphia, while these pages were in preparation, has given in a thin Tolame, en- 
titled Wiukington m Domestic Life, the following account of this matter, which cor- 
responds with that of Mr. Cnstis, written thirty years before. Mr. Costis donbtless 
also received his information from the lips of Mr. Lear :^ 

** An anecdote I derived from Colonel Lear," says Mr. Rash, " shortly before 
his death in 1816, may here be related, showing the height to which Washington's 
passion would rise, yet be controlled. It belongs to his domestic life, with which I 
am dealing, having occnrred ander his own roof, while it marics pablic feeling the 
most intense, and points to the moral of his life. I give it in Colonel Lear's words, 
as near as I ciui, having made a note of them at the time. 

" Toward the close of a winter's day in 1791, an officer in nniform was seen to 
dismount in front of the president's house, in Philadelphia, and giving the bridle to 
his servant, knocked at the door of the mansion. Learning from the porter that the 
president was at dinner, he said he was on pablic basiness and had despatches for 
the president. A servant was sent into the dining-room to give Uie information to 
Mr. Lear, who left the table and went into the hall, where the officer repeated what 
he had said. Mr. Lear replied that, as the president's secretary, he would take 
chai^ of the despatches and deliver them at the propef time. The officer made 
answer, that he had jast arrived fh>m the western army, and his orders were to de- 
liver them with all promptitude, and to the president in person ; but that he would 
wait his directions. Mr. Lear returned, and in a whisper imparted to the president 
what had passed. Qcneral Washington rose from the table, and went to the officer. 
He was back in a short time, made a word of apology for his absence, but no alla- 
sion to the cause of it He had company that day. Everything went on as usual. 
Dinner over, the gentlemen passed to the dmwing>room of Mrs. Washington, which 
was open in the evening. The general spoke courteouslj to every lady in the room, 
M was his custom. His hours were early, and by ten o'clock all the company had 
gone. Mrs. Washington and Mi. Lear remained. Soon Mre. Washington left the 

" The general now walked backward and forward for some minutes without speak- 
ing. Then he sat down on a sofa by the fire, telling Mr. Lear to sit down. To 
this moment there had been no change in his manner since his interruption at the 
table. Mr. Lear now perceived emotion. This rising in him, he broke out sudden- 
ly, " It 's all over— St Clair's defeated— routed ; the officers nearly all killed, the 
men by wholesale ; the rout complete— too shocking to think of— and a aniprise i& 

washinotok's homs and household. 419 

The first interview of the president with St Clair, after 
the fatal fourth of November, was nobly impressive. 
The unfortunate general, worn down by age, disease, 
and the hardships of a firontier campaign, assailed by the 
press, and with the current of popular opinion setting 
hard against him, repaired to his chief, as to a shelter 
from the fttry of so many elements. Washington ex- 
tended his hand to one who appeared in no new charac- 
ter; for, during the whole of a long life, misfortune 
seemed * to have marked him for her own.'* Poor old 

*' He attered all this with great yehemence. Then he paused, got np from the 
sofa and walked aboat the roodi sevend times, agitated, but saying nothing. Near 
the door he stopped short and stood still » few seconds, when his wrath became ter- 

" ' Yes,* " he bnrst forth, " ' hbrb, on this yery spot, I took leare of him ; I 
wished him snccess and honor; yon have yoar instmctions, I said, from the secre- 
tarj of war ; I had a strict hye to them, and will add bat one word— beware of a 
sarprise. I repeat it, beware of a snrprise— yon know how the Indians fight ns. 
He went off with that as my last solemn warning thrown into his ears. And yet, to 
snffer that army to be cat to pieces, hacked by a sarprise— the rery thing I gnarded 
him against 1 O God, God, he 's worse than a murderer! How can he answer 
it to his country ? — the blood of the slain is apon him — ^the cnrse of widows and 
orphans — the cnrse of Heaven !' 

" This torrent came oat in tone appalling. His vei^ frame shook. It was awfal, 
said Mr. Lear. More than once he threw his hands np as he haried imprecations 
npon 8t. Clair. Mr. Lear remained speechless ; awed into breathless silence. 

" The roased chief sat down on the sofa once more. He seemed conscious of his 
passion, and uncomfortable. He was silent. His wrath began to subside ; he at 
length said, in an altered voice, ' This must not go beyond this room.' Another 
pause followed— a longer one— when he said, in a tone quite low, ' General 8t. 
Clair shall have justice. I looked hastily through the despatches, saw the whole 
disaster, but not all the particulars; I will hear him without prejudice ; he shall 
have full justice.' 

" He was now, said Mr. Lear, perfectiy calm. Half an hour had gone by. The 
storm was over; and no sign of it was afterwards seen in his conduct, or heard in 
his conversation. The result is known. The whole case was investigated by Con- 
gress. St Clair was exculpated and regained the confidence Washington had in 
him when appointing him to that command. He had put himself into the thickest 
of the fight and escaped unhurt, though so ill as to be carried on a litter, and unable 
•o mount his horse without help." 


St Clair hobbled up to his chief, seized the offered hand 
in both of his, and gave vent to his feelings in an audible 
manner * He was subsequently tried by a commission 
of government^ and proved to have been unforiunate. 

We have mentioned Sam. Fraunces, the president's 
steward. He was a rare whig in the Revolutionary day, 
and attached no little importance to his person and char- 
acter, from the circumstance that the memorable parting 
of the commander-in-chief with his old and long endeared 
companions-in-arms had taken place at his tavern in 
New York.f 

The steward was a man of talent and considerable 
taste in the line of his profession, but was at the same 
time ambitious, fond of display, and regardless of expense. 
This produced continued difficulties between the pres* 
ident and certainly one of the most devotedly attached 
to him of all his household. 

The expenses of the presidential mansion were settled 
weekly ; and, upon the bills being presented, the presi- 

* Mr. Cnsdt informed me that he happened to be present at the beginning of that 
interview. He was then between the tenth and eleventh year of his age, and it made 
an impression on his mind. 

t When the British had evacuated New York, in November, 1783, and the Amer- 
ican army was disbanded, Washington prepared to proceed to Annapolis to resign 
his commission. On Thorsday, the fourth of December, the principal oflScers in 
the army yet remaining in the service, assembled at Fraunces', to take a final lecve 
of their beloved chief. The scene is described as one of great tenderness. Wash- 
ington entered the room where they were all waiting, and taking a glass of wine in 
his hand, he said, " With a heart full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. 
I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your 
former ones have been glorious and honorable." Having drank, he continued, '* I 
oan not come to each of you to take my leave, but shall be obliged to yon if each 
will come and take me by the hand." Knox, who stood nearest to him, turned and 
gfmsped his hand, and, while the tears flowed down the cheeks of each, the com- 
mander-in-chief kissed him. This he did to each of his officers, while tears and s« Vs 
stifled utterance. 

washingtok's hobie and household. 421 

dent would rate his steward soundly upon his expensive- 
ness, saying that> while he wished to live conformably 
to his high station, liberally, nay handsomely, he abhoiv 
red waste and extravagance, and insisted that his house- 
hold should be conducted with due regard to economy 
and usefulness. 

Fraunces would promise amendment, and the next 
week the same scene would be re-enacted in all its parts, 
the steward retiring in tears, and exclaiming, " Well, he 
may discharge me ; he may kill me if he will ; but while 
he is president of the United States, and I have the 
honor to be his steward, his establishment shall be sup- 
plied with the very best of everything that the whole 
country can aflford." 

Washington was remarkably fond of fish. It was the 
habit for New England ladies frequently to prepare the 
codfish in a very nice manner, and send it enveloped in 
cloths, so as to arrive quite warm for the president's 
Saturday dinner, he always eating codfish on that day in 
compliment to his New England recollections. 

It happened that a single shad was caught in the Dela- 
ware in February, and brought to the Philadelphia mar* 
ket for sale. Fraunces poimced upon it with the speed 
of an osprey, regardless of price, but charmed that he 
had secured a delicacy that, above aU others, he knew 
would be agreeable to the plate of his chief 

When the fish waa served, Washington suspected a 
departure from his orders touching the provision to be 
made for his table, and said to Fraunces, who stood at 
his post at the sideboard, ^ What fish is this T — ^^ A shad, 
a very fine shad,'* was the reply ; " I knew your excel- 
lency was particularly fond of this kind offish, and was 


80 fortunate as to procure this one in market — a solitary 
one, and the fijrst of the season." — ^^The price, sir; the 
price !" continued Washington, in a stem commanding 
tone ; " the price, sir T — ^ Three — three — ^three dollars," 
stammered out the conscience-stricken steward. ^Take 
it away," thundered the chief; ^take it away, sir; it 
shall never be said that my table sets such an example 
of luxury and extravagance." Poor Fraunces tremblingly 
obeyed, and the first shad of the season was removed 
untouched, to be speedily discussed by the gourmands 
of the servants' halL 

The chief cook would have been termed in modem 
parlance, a celebrated artide. He was named Hercules^ 
and familiarly termed Uncle Harkless. Trained in the 
mysteries of his part from early youth, and in the palmy 
days of Virginia^ when her thousand chimneys smoked 
to indicate the generous hospitality that reigned through* 
out the whole length and breadth of her wide domain, 
Unde Harkless was, at the period of the first presidency, 
as highly accomplished a proficient in the culinary art as 
could be found in the United States. He was a dark* 
brown man, little, if any, above the usual size, yet pos* 
sessed of such great muscular power as to entitle him to 
be compared with his namesake of fiibulous history. 

The chief cook gloried in the cleanliness and nicety of 
his kitchen. Under his iron discipline, wo to his under* 
lings if speck or spot could be discovered on the tables 
or dressers, or if the utensils did not shine like polished 
silver With the luckless wights who had offended in 
these particulars there was no arrest of punishment^ for 
judgment and execution went hand in hand. 

The steward, and indeed the whole household, treated 

Washington's houe and household. 423 

the chief cook with much respect, as well for his valua- 
ble services as for his general good character and pleas- 
ing manners. 

It was while preparing the Thursday or Congress din- 
ner that Uncle Harkless. shone in all his splendor. Dur- 
ing his labors upon this banquet he required some hali^ 
dozen aprons^ and napkins out of number. It was sur- 
prising the order and discipline that was observed in so 
bustling a scene. His underlings flew in all directions' 
to execute his orders, while he, the great master-spirit^ 
seemed to possess the power of ubiquity, and to be every- 
where at the same moment 

When the steward in snow-white apron, silk shorts and 
stockings, and hair in full powder, placed the first dish 
on the table, the clock being on the stroke of four^ ^ the 
labors of Hercules*', ceased. 

While the masters of the republic were engaged in dis- 
cussing the savory viands of the Congress dinner, the 
diief cook retired to make his toilet for an evening 
promenade. His perquisites from the slops of the kitchen 
were from one to two hundred dollars a year. Though 
homely in person, he lavished the most of these large 
avails upon dress. In making his toilet his linen was of 
unexceptionable whiteness and quality, then black silk' 
shorts, ditto waistcoat, ditto stockings, shoes highly pol- 
ished, with large buckles covering a considerable part of 
the foot, blue cloth coat with velvet collar and bright 
metal buttons, a long watch-chain dangling from his fob, 
a cocked-hat^ and gold-headed cane completed the grand 
costume of the celebrated dandy (for there were dandies 
in those days) of the president's kitchen. 

Thus arrayed, the chief cook invariably passed out at 


the front door, the porter making a low bow, which was 
promptly returned. Joining his brother-loungers of the 
pave, he proceeded up Market street, attracting consider- 
able attention, that street being, in the old times, the 
resort where fashionables ^ did most congregate." Many 
were not a little surprised on beholding so extraordinary 
a personage, while others who knew him would make a 
formal and respectfiil bow, that they might receive in 
return the salute of one of the most polished gentlemen 
and the veriest dandy of nearly sixty years ago. 

The coachman, John Fagan, by birth a Hessian, was 
tall and burly in person, and an accomplished coachman 
in every respect He understood the mechanism of a 
carriage, and could take to pieces and put together again 
all the parts, should he meet with any accident on his 
road. He drove for the president throughout his whole 
tour of the then southern states, from Mount Vernon to 
Savannah, and by Augusta and the interior of South and 
North Carolina^ in the white chariot built by Clarke, of 
Philadelphia, without the slightest accident or misfoitime 
happening in so long a journey.* 

On the president's return Clarke was in attendance to 
learn the success of what he deemed his master-piece of 
coach-making. No sooner had the horses stopped at the 
door of the presidential mansion than the anxious coach- 
maker was under the body of the white chariot^ examin- 
ing everything with a careful and critical eye, till Fagan 
shouted from the box, ^ All rights Mr. Clarke ; all rights 

* Washington visited the southern states in the spring of 1791. He set ont fixmi 
Movnt Vernon early in April, and was ahsent three months, daring which tiine he 
performed a jonmey of ahoat nineteen hundred miles, with the same span of hones. 
He followed the seaboard as nearly as possible to Savannah, visited Aognstty 
and retamed by way of the interior of the Caroltnaa and Vn^nia. 

washingtok's home and household. 425 

sir ; not a bolt or screw staxted in a long journey and 
over the devil's own roads." The delighted mechanic 
now found his hand grasped in that of the president^ who 
complimented him upon his workmanship, assuring him 
that it been sufficiently tested in a great variety of very 
bad roads. Clarke, the happiest of men, repaired to his 
shop, in Sixth street, where he informed his people of the 
success of the white chariot, the accoimt of which he had 
received from the president's own lips, when the day 
ended in a jollification at the coachmaker's. 

John Kruse succeeded Fagan. He was a steady, es* 
timable man, and having been bred in the Austrian 
cavalry, was perfectly conversant with horses. He was 
an excessive smoker, his meerschaum never being out of 
his mouth, except at meals or on the coach-box. 

The stables consisted of ten coach and saddle horses, 
and the two white chargers, a coachman and two grooma 
Of the chargers the one usually rode by the chief was 
named Prescott. He was a fine parade horse, purely white, 
and sixteen hands high. He was indifferent to the fire 
of artillery, the waving of banners, and the clang of ma]> 
tial instruments, but had a very bad habit of dancing 
about on the approach of a carriage, a habit very annoy- 
ing to his rider, who although a master in horsemanship, 
preferred to ride as quietly as possible, especially when, 
during his Salnirday's ride, he would meet with carriages 
containing ladies, it being customary with them to order 
their coachman to stop and let down their glasses, that 
the president might approach to pay his compliments. 

The other charger was named Jachmy from the circum- 
stance of his having run away with Major Jackson, aid-de- 
camp to the president, when coming into Princeton, en 


rtnde from New York to Philadelphia^ in 1790, to the sad 
cLbjcomfitiire of the major, and the no little amusement 
of the chief and the brilliant eortige of gallant cavaliers 
with which he was attended. Jackson was a superb an- 
imal, purely white, with flowing main and tail He was 
of a fierce and fiery temperament^ and, when mounted, 
moved with mouth dpen, champing the bit, his nostrils 
distended, and his Arab eye flashing fire. Washington, 
disliking a fretful horse, rarely rode this fine but impet- 
uous animal, while Eruse, whose duty it was to accom- 
pany the president when on horseback, had had diverse 
combats with the fiery charger, in several of which, it 
was said the old Austrian dragoon came oflT rather second 
best When putting on the housings and caparison for the 
chief to ride JacJcsonj Ejruse would say, ^ Ah, ha, my fine 
fellow, you'll have your match to^ay, and I know you'll 
take care to behave yourself" In fact^ the noble horse 
had felt the power of Washington's stalwart arm, a power 
that could throw a horse upon his haunches in a single 
moment, and the sagacious animal quailed before a force 
not easily resisted nor soon forgotten. 

Among the coach-horses were a pair of beautiful blood 
bays, bred at Mount Yemon firom the celebrated stallion 
Magnolia. These thorough-breds were the pets of the 
stables, and always drew the coach when Mr& Washing- 
ton paid her visits in Philadelphia. One day, but for the 
courage and presence of mind of a servant, a serious 
catastrophe would have occurred. Mrs. Washington and 
her grand-daughter* were just seated in the coach, and 
James Hurley (a native of Ireland) was putting up the 
step, when, the day being warm, and the flies trouble- 

* Eleanor Parke Castit. 


some, one of the horses rubbed oJQT his bridle. The coach- 
man, of course, sat powerless on his box. The affiighted 
animal at first stared wildly about him, and was in the 
act of springing forward, when Hurley, perceiving the 
inmiinent danger, with a presence of mind equalled by 
his courage, grappled the animal around the neck, and 
amid his furious and maddening plunges clung to him, 
and so encumbered him with the weight of a heavy man 
that the passengers in the street were enabled to come to 
the rescue, when the bridle was replaced, and the car- 
riage drove off 

The president was much gratified when inspecting his 
stables at Philadelphia. They were large and roomy, 
and everything in and about them in the most perfect 
order; the grooming of the horses superb, such as the 
modems can have no idea o£* 

Washington, as we have elsewhere observed, was the 
most punctual of men. To this admirable quality, and 
the one equally admirable of rising at four o'clock and 
retiring to rest at nine at all seasons, this great man 
owed his being able to accomplish mighty labors during 
a long and illustrious hfe. He was punctual in every- 
thing, and made every one punctual about him. 

During his memorable journey through the southern 
portion of the union, he had, before setting o£^ arranged 
all the stages for the whole route ; the ferries, the inns, 
the hour of arriving at and departing from each, were all 
duly calculated, and punctually did the white chariot 
arrive at all its appointments, except when prevented by 
high waters or excessively bad roads.f 

* Bae note on page S97. 

1 Thinking that the public terrice mi|^ require oomnmnicatlone to be made to 


His punctuality on that long journey astonished every 
one. The trumpet call of the cavalry had scarcely cea^aed 
its echoes when a vidette would be seen coming in at 
full speed, and the cry resound far and wide, " He 's conir 
ing!" Scarcely would the artillery-men unlimber the 
cannon, when the order would be given, " Light your 
matches, the white chariot is in full view !" 

Revolutionary veterans, hurried from all directiozis 
once more to greet their beloved chief They called it 
marching to headquarters ; and as the dear glorious old 
fellows would overtake their neighbors and firiends, thejr 
would say, " Push on, my boys, if you wish to see him ; 
for we, who ought to know, can assure you that he is 
never behind time, but always punctual to the momentw** 

It was thus that Washington perfonned his memorable 
tour of the United States — everywhere received with 
heartfelt homage that the love, veneration, and gratitude 
of a whole people could bestow ; and there is no doubt 
yet living a gray head who can tell of the time when he 
gallantly rode to some village or inn on the long-remem- 
bered route to hail the arrival of the white chariot^ and 
join in the joyous welcome to the Father of his Country. 

And equally punctual in his engagements was this re* 
markable man nearer home. To the review, the theatre, 
or the ball-room he repaired precisely at the appointed 

him during his absence, Washington wrote a letter to die head of each department, 
in which he designated the places that he should be at on certain days. " I shall 
be/' he said, " on the eij^hth of April at Eredericksbarg ; the eleventh, at Richmond ; 
the fourteenth, at Petersburgh ; the sixteenth, at Halifax ; the eighteenth, at Tar- 
borough; the twentieth, at Newtown; the .twenty-l&arth, at Wilmington; the 
twenty-ninth, at Georgetown, South Carolina ; on the second of May, at Chariestov^ 
halting there five days ; on the eleventh, at Savannah, halting there two days. Thenoe 
leaving the line of march, I shall proceed to Augusta; and, according to the tnibr- 
matioii which I maj receive thorOp my retam by an upper road will be ngulatad." 


time. The m&nager of the theatre, waiting on the pres- 
ident to request him to command a play, was asked, ^ At 
what time, Mr. Wignell, does your curtain rise T The 
manager replied, ^ Seven o'clock is the hour, but of coimse 
the curtain will not iTse till your excellency's arrival" 
The president observed, * I will be punctual, sir, to the 
time ; nobody waits a single moment for me." And, sm*e 
enough, precisely at seven, the noble form of Washing- 
ton was seen to enter the stage box, amid the acclama- 
tions of the audience and the music of the President's 

In the domestic arrangement of the presidential man- 
fiion, the private dinner was served at three o'clock, the 
public one at four. The drawing-room commenced at. 
seven, and ended at a little past ten. The levee began 
at three and ended at four. On the public occasions the 
company came within a very short time of each other, and 
departed in the same manner. " The president is punc- 
tual," said everybody, and everybody became punctual 

On- the great national days of the fourth of July and 
twenty-second of February, the salute from the then 
head of Market street (Eighth street) announced the open- 
ing of the levee. Then was seen the venerable corps of 
the Cincinnati marching to pay their respects to their 
president-general, who received fthem at headquarters, 
and in the uniform of the commander-in-chief This 
veteran band of the Bevolution had learned punctuality 
from their general in the ^ times that tried men's souls ;" 
for no sooner had the thunder-peals of Colonel Proctor's 
twelve-pounders caused the windows to rattle in Market 
street than this venerable body of the Cincinnati were 
in full march for the headquarters. And as soon as the 

430 BficoixEcnoNS of washingtok. 

first gun would be heard, a venerable citizen was seen to 
leave his ofiEice, and moving at a more than usual p&ce^ 
ascend the steps of the presidential rdansion. He gave 
in no name — ^he required no ceremony of introduction — 
but^ making his way to the family parlor, opened the 
general gratulation by the first welcome of Robert MorrisL 
A fine volunteer corps, called the light-infmtry, fix>iii 
the famed light-infantry of the Kevolutionary army, com- 
manded by Lafayette, mounted a guard of honor at 
headquarters during the levee on the national days. 
When it was about to close, the soldiers, headed by their 
sergeants, marched with trailed arms and noiseless step 
through the hall to a spot where huge bowls of punch, 
had been prepared for their refreshment, when, after 
quaffing a deep carouse, with three hearty cheers to the 
health of the president, they countermarched to the 
street, the bands struck up the favorite air, ^ forward '' 
was the word, and the levee was ended * 

* In the year 1790, according to the followinjj^ sketch, taken from an old nam- 
ber of the London New MoiMy MagoMme, an appredadng Bnglish gentleman Tisited 
the president. The sketch has been attributed to the pen of Hazlitt : " I remember 
my father telling me he was introdnced to Washington, in 1790, bj an American 
friend. A servant, well-looking and well-dressed, received the visitants at the door, 
and by him they were delivered over to an offioer of the United Stales' service, who 
ushered them into the drawing-room, in which Mrs. Washington and several ladiea 
were seated. There was nothing remarkable in the person of the lady of the pres- 
ident; she was matronly and kind, with pedSsct good-breeding; she al onoe entered 
into easy conversation, asked how long he had been in America, how be liked Ae 
oonntry, and snch other familiar, but general questions. In a few minutes the gen* 
oral was in the room ; it was not necessary to announce his name, Ibr his pecal&r 
appearance, his firm forehead, Roman nose, and a projection of the lower jaw, Ms 
height and figure, could not be mistaken by any one who had seen a fbll-length pie* 
ture of him, and yet no picture accurately resembled him in the minute traits of his 
person. His features, however, were so marked by prominent characteristics, which 
appear in all likenesses of him that a stranger could not be mistaken in the man ; ha 
was remarkably dignified In his manners, and had an air of benignity over his featons 
iriiich his visitant did not expect, being rather prepared Ibr sternness of oof<*«eiiaiiea. 

washinqton'b home and household. 431 

^ Old tiines are changed^ old manners gone.** True, 
we have become a mighty empire in extent, wealth, and 

" After an introdnction by Mrs. Washtngton, withont more form than common 
good manners preecribes, ' he requested me/ said my father, * to be seated ; and, 
taking a chair himself, entered at once into conrersatton. His manner was fiiU of 
affability. He asked how I liked the country, the city of New York r talked of th« 
infant institutions of America, and the advantages she offered, by her intercourse, 
for benefitting other nations. He was grare in manner, but perfectly easy. His 
dress was of purple satin. There was a commanding air in his appearance which 
excited respect, and forbade too great a freedom towards him, independently of that 
•pecies of awe which is always felt in the moral influence of a great character. In 
every movement, too, there was a polite gracefulness equal to any met with in the 
most polished individuals in Europe, and his smile was extraordinarily attractive. 
It was observed to me that there was an expression in Washington's fare that no 
painter had succeeded in taking. It struck me no man could be better formed for 
contmand. A stature of six feet, a robust, but well-proportioned frame, calculated 
to sustain fatigue, without that heaviness which generally attends great muscular 
strength, and abates active exertion, displayed bodily power of no mean standard. 
A light eye and full— the very eye of genius and reflection, rather than of blind pas- 
sionate impulse. His nose appeared thick, and though it befitted his other features, 
was too coarsely and strongly formed to be the handsomest of its class. His mouth 
was like no other that I ever saw ; the lips firm, and the under-jaw seeming to grasp 
the upper with force, as if its muscles were in full action when he sat still. Neither 
with the general nor with Mrs. Washington was there the slightest restraint of cere- 
mony. There was less of it than I, ever recollect to have met with, where perfect 
good-breeding and manners were at the same time observed. To many remarks 
Washington assented with a smile or inclination of the head, as if he were by nature 
sparing in his conversation, and I am inclined to think this was the case. An allu- 
sion was made to a serious fit of illness he had recently suffered ; but he took no 
notice of it I could not help remarking, that America must have looked with 
anxiety to the termination of his indisposition. He made no reply to my compli- 
ment bat by an inclination of the head. His bow at my taking leave I shall never 
forget. It was the last movement which I saw that illustrious character make, as 
my eyes took their leave of him for ever, and it hangs a perfect picture upon my 
recollection. The house of Washington was in the Broadway, and the street ft-ont 
was handsome. The drawing-room in which I sat was lofty and spacious ; but the 
furniture was not beyond that found in 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, interspersed with islands, and the Jersey shore on the opposite side. A grand- 
ton and daughter resided constantly in the house with the general, and a nephew of 
the general's, married to a niece of Mrs. Washington, resided at Mount Yemon, the 
general's famlly««eat in Virginia ; his residence, as president, keeping him at the 


population ; but where, Americans, is the spirit of '76, 
the glorious and immortal spirit that dignified and ad- 
orned the early days of the republic and the age of 
Washington ? Shall it decline and die among us ? Swear 
on the altar of your liberty that it shall live for ever ! 

Mat of gOTernment' The lereei held by Wuhington, as president, were generallj 
crowded, and held on Tvesday, between three and four o'clo<^. The preeideot 
stood, and received the bow of the |>er8on presented, who retired to make way for 
another. At the drawing-room, Mrs. Washington reeeired the ladies, who conrtesied, 
and passed aside without exchanging a word. Tea and coffee, with relreshmeiito 
of all kinds, were laid in one part of the rooms, and before the indindnals'of the 
company retired, each lady was a second time led up to the lady-pretldent, made 
her second silent obeisance, and departed. Nothing coald be more simple, yet it 
was enongh." 




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SiiroLAiB — Mabbiaqb at Mount Ybbnon in 1799 — Billy — Wabhinoton's Labt Vibitb to 
Albxandbia— Ha Dinbb thbbb— His Last Bbtibw— Etbninos at Mount Ybbnon — 


On the fourth of March, 1797, Washington, as a pri^ 
vate citizen, attended the dignified ceremonials of the 
inauguration of his successor, John Adams f and during 

* On that occasion, there was a dense crowd in the house of representatives to wit- 
ness the ceremony of the inangaration of a new president. The Congress, daring 
the residence of the federal government in Philadelphia, held their eessions in the 
conrthoase, on the comer of Sixth and Chestnut streets ; and the hall of the repre- 
sentatives is thus described by aootemporary writer : *' The house of representatives, 
in session, occupied the ground floor. There was a platform elevated three steps, 
plainly carpeted, and covering nearly (he whole of the area, with a limited prome- 
nade for the members and privileged persons ; and four narrow desks between the 
Sixth-street windows, for the stenographers, Lloyd, Gales, Callender, and Duane. 
The speaker's chair, without canopy, was of plain leather and brass nails, fiu»ng the 
east, at or near the centre of the western wall." 

At the appointed hour, Washington entered the hall amidst the most enthusiastic 
cheers, and was soon followed by Mr. Adams, the president elect, who was about to 
take the oath of office. When they were seated, perfect silence prerailod, Wash- 
ington then arose, and with great dignity introduced Mr. Adams to the audience, 
and proceeded to read, in a firm clear voice, a brief valedictory ; not the great " Fare- 
well Address," for that was published six months before. 


A6i mxxjuxTumB of waibhiiioioh. 

the preparations for his departure fix>m the seat of goT- 
emment^ the ex-president enjoyed an interchange of 

Mn. 8ii«m R. EdMrd, • daoghter of Colooal Bead, now (l859)liTing in Phil- 
adtlyhiA, u the »$f9 of eigfaty-three yenn, was pment on this interesting occssionj 
nnd in a letter to a liinsraan, giren below, has described tbe scene. It maj be in- 
teresting to know that the memory of Mr. Rembrandt Peale, who, two years before, 
bad painted Washington's portrait^ from life, and who was also present in the gal- 
lety on that occasion, folly agrees with that of Mrs. Eduud. 

Mn. Echard remarlu : " When General Washington delircred his ' Farewell 
Address/ in the room at the sontbeast comer of Cheetnnt and Sixth streets, I sat 
immediately in front of him. It was in the room Congress occupied. The table of 
the speaker was between the two windows on Sixth street. The daughter of Dr. C, 
[Cralk] of Alexandria, the physician and intimate friend of Washington, Mrs. H., 
[Harrison] whose husband was the auditor, was a reiy dear friend of mine. Her 
brother Washington was one of the secretnries of General Washington. Tonng 
Dandridge, a nephew of Mrs. Washington, was the other. I was included In Mrs. 
H.'a party, to witness the august, the solemn scene. Mr. H. dedined going with 
Mn. R., as she had determined to go early, so as to secure the front bench. It wis 
fortunate for Miss C, [Custis] (afterwards Mn. L.) [Lewis] that she could not trust 
henolf to be so near her honored grandfather. My dear father stood very near bar. 
She was terribly agitated. There was a narrow passage from the door of entrance 
to the room, which was on the east, diriding the rows of benches. General Wash- 
ington stopped at the end to let Mr. Adams pass to the chair. Tbe latter always 
wore a full suit of bright drab, with lash or loose cuffs to his coat. He always wore 
wrist ruffles. He had not changed his fashions. He was a short man, with u good 
head. With his family he attended our church twice a day. General Washington's 
dress was a tall suit of black. His military bat had the black cockade. There 
stood the ' Father of his Conntry/ acknowledged by nations •—the ifanst in war, in* 
in peace, and flnt in the hearts of his countrymen. No manhals with gold<olorad 
ioarft attended him —there was no cheering —no noise ; the most profound silence 
greeted him, as if the great assembly desUed to hear him breathe, and catch hie 
breath in homage of their hearts. Mr. Adams covered his face with both his hands; 
the sleeves of his coat, and his hands, wen oovered with tears. Bveiy now aai 
then there was a suppressed sob. I can not describe Washington's appeamnee aa I 
felt it— perfectly composed and self-possessed, till the doee of his addresa : Thti^ 
when strong nerrona soke broke k>osa, when tean oovered the hem, ihtn the grant 
man was shaken. I never took my eyes from his feoe. Laige drops eaaM from hie 
eyes. He looked to the yonthfel children who were parting with their fether, their 
friend, as if his heart was with them, and would be to the end." 

In this connection, aome reminiaeences of Washington, and the Gongress at Phil- 
adelphia, by the late Baverand Ashbel Greene, are specially interesting : "After a 
great deal of talking^ and writing, and oonnroversy, about the peima nent eeat of 
Congress, under the preeeni conatitntion," says Mr. Greene* "H was ( 


that PhiladelpbU should be honored witfi its pKtenee for ten j^n, and thai after- 
wards its permanent location should be in the Citj of Waahing^n where it now it. • 
In the meantime, the federal city was in building, and the legislature of Pennsyl- 
▼ania Toted a snm of monej to bntld a honae for the president, perhaps with some 
hope that this might help to keep the seat of the general goremment in the capital-^ 
for Philadelphia was then considered as the capital of the state. What was latelj 
the nniversitj of Pennsylvania, was the structure erected for this purpose. But as 
soon as General Washington saw its dimensions, and a good while before it was fin- 
ished, he let it be known that he would not occupy — that he should certainly not 
go to the expense of purchasing suitable fhmiture for such a dwelling ; for it is to 
be understood, in those days of stem republicanism, nobody thought of Congress 
JunuMhing the president's house ; or, if perchance such a thought did enter into soma 
aristocradc head, it was too unpopular to be uttered. 

" President Washington, therelbre, rented a house of Mr. Bobert Morris, in Mar- 
ket street, between Fifth and Sixth streets, on the south side, and furnished it hand- 
somely, but not gorgeou^y. There he lived, with Mrs. Washington ; Mr. Lear, his 
private secretary, find his wife, and Mrs. Washington's grandchildren, making a 
part of the bmily. Young Custis had a private tutor, employed by the president^ 
who was engaged to attend on his pupil one hour in the winter roomings, before 
breakfast; and who, then, commonly breakfasted with the president and his fiuntly^ 
The president ate Indian cakes for breakfast, after the Yiiginia ^hioa, although 
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 
Thursday, and his dining hour was always four o'clock in the afternoon. His mlt 
was to allow five minutes for the variation of clocks and watches, and then go to tht 
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 yon. I 
have a cook who never asks whether the company has come, but whether the hour 
has come.' The company usually assembled in the drawing-room, about fifteen or 
twenty minutes before dinner, and the president spoke to eveiy guest personally on 
entering the room. 

" He was always dressed in a suit of black, his hair powdered, and tied In a blade 
queue behind, with a very elegant dress-sword, which he wore with inimitable grace. 
Mrs. Washington 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 private secretary sat at the foot of the uble, and was ex- 
pected to be quietly attentive to all the gueste. The president himself sat half-way 
from the head to the foot of the table, and on that side he would place Mrs. Wash* 
ington, though disunt from him, on his right hand. He always, unless a clergy- 
man was present at his own uble, asked a blessing, in a standing posture. If a 
cleigyman were present, he was requested both to ask a blessing and to letam thanks 
after dinner. The centre of the table contained five or six laige salver or plated 
waiters, those of the ends, circular, or rather oval on one side, so as to maka tht 

436 KEOoixscnoKS of WASBmoroN. 

farewell yisits Trith those in Philadelphia^ whom he had 
known so long and loved so welL^ 

On Washington's resignation of the presidency^ one of 
the first employments of his retirement as a private citi- 
zen was to arrange certain letters and papers for posthu- 
mous publication. With this view he wrote to General 
Spotswood, in Virginia, to select a young man of respect- 
able family, good moral habits, and superior clerkly skill, 
to copy into a large book certain letters and papers that 
would be prepared for such purpose. 

Kow, these letters and papers were by no means of an 
official character ; neither did they come within the range 
of recollections of the Revolution or of the constitutional 

amngement correspond with the oral shApe of the table. The waiters between the end- 
pieoes were in the form of parallelogramsi the ends about one-third part of the Ienfi;th 
of the sides ; and the whole of these waiters were filled with alabaster fignrea, taken 
from the ancient mytholoi^y, bat none of them snch as to offend, in the smallest de- 
giee, against delicacy. On the ontside of the oval, formed by the wiliters, were 
placed the various dishes, always without covers ; and ontside 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 offered something, either in the first or second course, whidi was 
very rich, his usual reply was — " That is too good for me.*' He had a silver pint 
enp 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 winea 
were alway the best that could be obtained. Nothing could exceed the order with 
which his ubte 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 the day preceding the inauguration, Washington gave a kind of fkrewell 
dinner, to which the foreign ministers and their wives, Mr. and Mrs. Adams, Mr. 
Jeflferson, and Mr. Morris, were invited. Bishop White, who was present, says, that 
when the cloth was removed, Washington filled his glass and said . " Ladies and gen- 
tlemen, this is the last time I shall drink your health as a public man ; I do it with 
sincerity, wishing yon all possible happiness." Tht^se words affected the oompao]^ 
▼ery much, and the wifia of Mr. Linn, the British minister, wept so that the tean 
•Creamad down her oheaki . 


government; they were more especially jwwafe, and could 
"with proprietor be termed Pcissages^ Pergonal and Exphmor 
iarffy in the Life and Con^espmdence of George WasMngtcfL 

General Spotswood selected a young man named 
Albin Rawlins, of a respectable family in the county of 
Caroline, and well qualified for the duties he was to per- 
form. He soon after arrived at Mount Vernon, and en- 
tered upon his employment 

The letters were delivered to Bawlins by the chief in 
person, were carefully returned to him when copied, and 
others delivered out for copying. As the duties of the 
derk lasted for a considerable time, very many of the 
most interesting and valuable letters that Washington 
ever wrote or received were copied into the RawUni 
Book. While we repeat that these letters were not of an 
official character, we must observe that they were writ- 
ten to and received from some the most illustrious pub- 
lic men who flourished in. the age of Washington, and 
shed more light upon the true character of the men and 
things of that distinguished period than any letters or 
papers that ever were written and published. 

Washington postponed the arrangement for publica- 
tion of his private memoirs to the last; all such matters 
lay dormant diuing the long and meritorious career of 
his public services. It was only when retired amid the 
shades of Mount Yemon that he thought of self, and de- 
termined in his latter days that nothing should be left 
undone to give to his country and the world a fair and 
just estimate of his life and actions.*^ 

' * Applications were made^to Washington, toon after the war, fbr materiali for a 
biograph J of himself, but he dtsconraged ereiy attempt to write an acooont of hit 
life, except as it came incidentally into the general history of the time in which he 
lived. He well knew that such a biography wonld be written at some time, and wat 


A portion of the letters of the Rawlins' Book were of 
a delicate character, seeing that they involved the repu 
tation of the writers as consistent patriots and men of 
honor. These Utters are no where to be found. But, although 
the veil of mjstery has been drawn over the bst letters 
of the BawUns^ Book that time or circumstance can never 
remove, our readers may rest assured that there is not a 
line, nay, a word, in the lost letters that Washington 
wrote, that, were he living, he would wish to revoke or 
blot out, but would readily, fearlessly submit to the peru- 
sal and decision of his countrymen and the world. 

During the agitation of the public mind that grew out 
of the subject of the lost letters more than fifty years 
ago,"^ it was contended that the rumors were groundless; 
that there were no i^uch letters. Faithful to our purpose 
at the dose of our labors, as the commencement of our 
humble work more than a quarter of a century ago, to 
give in these RecoUectums only of what we saw, and only 
of what we derived from the undoubted authority of 
others, we do not hesitate to declare, and from an au- 
thority that can not be questioned, that there were such 
letters as those described as the Lost Letters of the Raiuh 
Uns' Book. 

The ancient family vault having fallen into a state of 
decay, the chief surveyed and marked out a spot for a 
family burial-place during the last days at Mount Yer- 

anxious to have his papers so arranged, as to be easy for reference. PeroeiTlng 
also, the great yalue of well-arranged public papers, Washington made a contract 
by authority of Congress, in May, 1781, to have all of his official papers recorded ic 
Tolnmes. He appointed Colonel Bichard Varrick to superintend tint labor, and 
he, with three or four assistants, were engaged in the business two yean and a balC 
. * This chapter was fin t publkhed in tiM IhtiMmL InitU^fmetr oa the tweMy- 
•eoond of February, 18M. 


Bou.*^ The xiew fiituation is peculiarly unfavorable and 
ill chosen, being a most unpleamni location for either 
the living or the dead. ^The exeoutors^ conceiving them- 
selves bound by the provisions of the will to erect a 
burial vault on the ^ot marked out> proceeded to do so 
to the best advantage ; but all their endeavors, together 
with the labors of skilful mechanics, have resulted in the 
tomb of Washington being universally condemned aa 
unfit for and unworthy of the purpose for which it was 
intended, while it serves as a matter of reproach to the 
crowds of pilgrims who resort thither to pay homage to 
the fame and memory of the Father of his Country.f 

It is certain that Washington never gave even a hint 
of his views or wishes in regard to the disposition of his 
remains, except what is contained in his wilL He no 
doubt believed that his ashes would be claimed as national 
property, and be entombed with national honors ; hence 
his silence on a subject that has agitated the American 
public for more than half a century. On the decease of 

• The following It a daiue in WMhington's will : ** The family yanU at Moant 
Vernon requiring repairt, and being improperij titnated beiides, I desire that a new 
one of brick, and npon a larger Bcale, may be built at the foot of what is commonly 
ealled the Vineyard Enclosure, on the ground which is marked out ; in which my 
Mmaias, with tiiose of my deceased relations (now hi the old ranlt), and such othen 
of my family as may choose to be entombed there, may he deposited. And it is my 
express desire, that my corpse may be interred in a priyate manner, without parade 
or funeral oration." 

t The new yaoH is about thrse hundred yards southwest from the mansion, at the 
foot of a slope, and the head of a ravine that extends to the shore of the Potomae. 
The front of the tomb has an ante^amber, built of red brick, about twelve fret in 
height, with a large iron gateway. This was ereeted for the accommodation of two 
marUe coffins (one for Washington and the other Ibr his wife), which stand within 
the enclosure, in full view of the visiter. Over the gateway, upon a marble slafa^ 
ara the words : " Wituim TBia BiiOLOfluut msaT trb kexaiits of Obitbbai. 
Gbobob WAiHXiroTOir." Over the vault door, inside, are Ae words. "I am 
Tm BMumtaoTioir amv nn Lira ; hb that bbubtbth nr us, thoboh hb 



the chiefs the high authorities of the nation begged his 
remains for public interment at the seat of the national 
government They were granted by the venerable relict^ 
conditioned that her own remains should be interred by 
the side of her husband in the national tomb. This 
memorable compact^ so solemn in itself) is still in full 
force and binding on the nation; incusmuch as no subse- 
quent authority could alter or annul it 

On the faith of this compact, Colonel Monroe, when 
president of the United States, ordered two crypts or 
vaults to be formed in the basement story of the centre 
of the capitol for the reception of the remains of the 
chief and his consort, agreeably to the arrangement of 
1799, which vaults are imtenanted to this day. 

Surely it can not be denied that Mrs. Washington had 
the right, the only right^ to the disposal of the remains 
of the chief, and by virtue of this right she granted them 
to the prayer of the nation as expressed by its highest 

On her deathbed the venerable lady called the author 
of these JRecolkctions^her grandson and executor, to her side, 
and said, ^ Remember, Washington, to have my remains 
placed in a leaden coffin, that they may be removed with 
those of the general at the command of the government'** 

* On the thirteenth of February, 1832, Mr. Thomas, of Louisiana, from the joint 
committee of the two houses, appointed to report on the subject of the Centennial 
anniversary of the birthday of Gborob Washikotow, reported the following reso* 
Intion : — 

" lUaolved, by the Senate and Bouae o/Repretentativeeo/lhe United Statu of America, 
in Congress ateembledf That ihe President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of 
BepresentatiTes be hereby authorised to make application to John A. Washington, 
of Mount Vernon, for the body of Oeorob WASHiwoTOir to be remocred and depos- 
ited in the Capitol, at Washington City, in conformity with the resolutions of Con* 
grass of the twenty-thurd December, 1799; and that, if they obtain the requlsiti 
consent to the removal thereof, that they be further authorised to cause St to bi 


And yet we hear of the right of a state ! No one state 
can appropriate to itself that which belongs to^the whole. 

removed and deposited in the Capitol, on the twenty-second day of February, 1832." 
The following is a copy of the resolutions referred to : — 

" Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of Amer* 
tea in Congress assembled. That a marble monument be erected by the United States, 
in the Capitol, at the City of Washington, and that the family of General Washing- 
ton be requested to permit his body to be deposited under it ; and that the mono- 
inent be so designed as to commemorate the great events of his military and political 

" And be it further resolved, That the President of the United States be requested 
to direct a copy of these resolutions to be transmitted to Mrs. Washington, assuring 
her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character ; of 
their condolence on the late afflicting dispensation of Providence ; and entreating 
her assent to the interment of the remains of General George Washington in th« 
manner expressed in the first resolution." 

In compliance with these resolutions. President Adams wrote a letter to Mrs. 
Washington on the subject, and received the following reply : — 

"Mount Ybbkon, December 81, 1799. 

" Sir : While I feel, with keenest angnish, the late dispensation of Divine Provi- 
dence, I can not be insensible to the moomfiil tributes of respect and veneration 
which are paid to the memory of my dear deceased husband ; and, as his best ser- 
Tices and most anxious wishes were always devoted to the welfare and happiness 
of his country, to know that they were truly appreciated and gratefully remembered 
affords no inconsiderable consolation. 

" 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 by 
Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit to me; and, in doing this, 
I need not, I can not, say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of 
jniblic duty. 

" With grateful acknowledgments, and unfeigned thanks for the personal respect 
and evidences of condolence expressed by Congress and yourself, I remain, veiy 
respectfully, sir, your most obedient humble servant, 

'* Mabtha Washington.'* 

President Adams transmitted her letter to Congress, accompanied by the follow* 
ing message :— 

'* Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentleman of the House of Representatives : 
" In compliance with the request in one of the resolutions of Congress of the 
93d of December last, I transmitted a copy of those resolutions, by my secretary, 
Mr Shaw, to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will 
ever bear to her person and character ; of their condolence in the late afflicting dis* 
pensation of Providence ; and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains 
of General Geoi^ Washington in the manner expressed in the first resolution. Aa 

442 SECoixBcnoiiB of washinotok. 

Of the glorious Old Thirteen, litfle Delaware has as much 
right to the remains of the heloved Washington as eithei 

the seotiments of that Tirtaoas hidj» not lest belcTed by this nation than she is at 
present greatly afflicted, can nerer be so well expressed es in her own words, I 
transmit to Congress her original letter. 

" It would be an attempt of too much delicacy to make any comments upon it ; 
bat there can be no donbt that the nation at large, as well as all the branches of the 
goTemment, will be highly gratified by any arrangement which may diminish the 
sacrifices she makes of her individual feelings. Johh Adams. 

" United States, January 6. 1800." 

The resolutions appended to the report submitted by Mr. Thomas, on the thir- 
teenth of February, 1832, elicited a warm debate. Some of the membera from 
Yirginia opposed the measure. Mr. McCoy declared that such removal would be 
a Tiolation of the sepulchre of the dead ; and Mr. Coke desired the remoTal of the 
precious remains to Richmond, the capital of Washington's naUve state. In reply 
to these, Edward Everett, of Massachusetts, remarked :— 

" But it is said, we are going to violate the repose of the dead ; to break into the 
sepulchre, and rifle it of its precious deposits. Sir, do we do any such thing ? Shall 
we not go to that venerated tomb with every possible warrant, both of authority and 
delicacy ? Was not the consent of the consort of the Father of his Country obtained, 
at a moment when her feelings were bleeding under the recent loss of the illustrions 
partner of her lifis 1 Fortified with her consent, deliberately given, and at that 
moment, who shall question the right or the propriety of the procedure ? Violate 
the repose of the grave 1 Sir, we are dischaiging toward that sacred depository a 
most imperative duty. If there is one darker spot in the history of this Union thatt 
another, it is that we have left so long nnredeemed the solemn pledge, which was 
given by the people of America, through their representatives here, in the firrt 
moments of bereavement. Violate the repose of the dead ! Sir, we are gohig to pay 
A tribute of respect to the ashes of the Father of his Country, such as the history of 
the world can not match with a parallel. If this resolution is adopted, and on the 
SSd of February*the remains of our beloved hero and patriot shall be removed from 
Mount Vernon to this capitol, it will be a transaction of a character of extraordinary 
solemnity, grandeur, and interest. Such a procession as will be formed to receive 
these sacred remains — the multitudes of old and young— the constituted authorities 
of the nation, the citizens of this district, and of the neighboring region, who shall 
assemble to witness the awfnl spectacle of the remains of the Father of his Cbnntry, 
on their way to their resting-place beneath the foundations of this eapitol— 4dl this» 
sir, will constitute a transaction unexampled in the history of die world for its eifcets 
•n the minds and hearts of those who may take part in it or witness It. The gentle- 
nan (Mr. Coke) was willing to open the sacred portals of that gmvs, and remove in 
deposits, not indeed to this capitol, but to Richmond. Now, sir, I cheerfully admil; 
that of the titles of Vitginia to the respect and consideration of her sister states. It 
is among the first that she is the parent of our Washington. But let her not forge^ 
that, though Washington was by bhrth a native of the colony of Viiginia. he Uv^ 



of her larger sisters ; for, though small in size, she was 
great in value in ^ the times that tried men's souls," and, 
in proportion to her resources, furnished as much courage, 
privation, and blood to the combats of liberty, as those 

and died a cdtiaen of the United States of America ; anited more by his labors, 
ooansels, and sacrifices, than those of any other indlTidoal. The sacred remains 
are, as the gentleman well said, a treasure bejond all price, bat it is a treasure of 
which erery part of this blood-eemeoted Union has a right to claim its share. 

** The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. McCoy) asked, if we begin in this way, 
where shall we end 1 Sir, I wish it might even become more difficalt to answer 
tiiat qnestion. I wish it may even be hard to say, where shall we end with these 
testimonials of respect paid to a worth like that of Washington. Be it, su*, that wt 
know not where we shall end. I know where we ought to begin, and that is, with 
the man who was 'first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his conntiy- 
men.' Sir, I will begin with him. If, hereafter, another shall arise, who will live 
like Washington, when he dies, let him be laid by his side." 

The resolution was adopted, and measures were immediately taken to carry it 
into effbct on the SSd of the same month, the one hundredth anniversary of the birth 
of Washington, when it was shown, by records, that it was the distinct understand- 
ing between Mrs. Washington and President Adams, that her remains should accom- 
pany those of her husband, wherever the latter might lie. This feservatk>n caused 
the necessity of procuring the consent of other parties, and on the sixteenth of 
February, on motion of Mr. Clay, the senate proceeded to the consideration of the 
following joint resolution from the house :— 

^'SemUved, by tU Senate and Bmu of RepretenUaiweB, That the President of the 
Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives be hereby anthorized to make 
application to John A. Washington, of Mount Vernon, and to George W. P. Custis, 
grandson of Mrs. Washington, for the remains of Majiyka Washimotok, to be 
teoioved and deposited in the Capitol at Washington City, at the same time with 
those of her late consort, Gboxob Washihoton, and if leave be obtained, to take 
measures accordingly." 

This effort to have the remains of the illustrious citiien deposited beneath the 
Ca|Htol failed, and they are yet within the area marked out for them by that great 
man while living, and where, among his kindred, according to the words of his Will, 
no doubt it was bis desire that they should for ever repose. Now that Mount Vemon, 
through the efibrts of patriotic women, has become the property of the nation, eveiy 
AsMrican should rejoice that the remains of Washington have not been disturbed 
Bigfat g)ad are we that they are left alone, 

** To sleep for ever, 

Pill the trump that awakens tiie oountlees dead. 
By the verdant bank of that rushing river. 
Where first they pillowed his mighty head.* 


that were far larger than she. From Long Island to 
Eutaw, from the first to the last of the War for Indepen- 
dence, her banner was ever in the field, and ever floated 
mid ^ the bi'avest of the brave.*' 

It IS high time the subject of the remains, and the re- 
mains themselves, were at rest. Presmning that govern- 
ment should purchase Mount Yemon, and determine that 
the ashes of the chief should there find lasting repose, we 
would respectfully suggest that a sepulchre be erected ou 
the site of the ancient family vault, a magnificent location^ 
having an extensive view of the surrounding country and 
of the noble Potomac that washes its base ; the massive 
structure to be formed of white American marble, in 
blocks each of a ton weight, a dome of copper, surmounted 
by an eagle in bronze, a bronze door, and for inscription 
two words only that will speak volumes to all time — 
Pater Patrice. The key of the receptacle to be always 
in custody of the president of the United States for the 
time being. This done, and if done " 't were well it were 
done quickly," the Tomb of Washington would ceaae to 
be a reproach among nationa The pilgrim from distant 
lands, as he journeys through a mighty empire, with his 
heart filled with veneration of the fame and memory of 
America's illustrious son, when he arrives at the national 
Sepulchre, that casts its broad shadow over the Potomac's 
wave, will become awed by the solemn grandeur of the 
spot. The American of generations yet to come will 
behold, with filial reverence, the time-honored receptacle 
that contains the ashes of the Father of his Country; 
the enduring marble mellowed by age, and the inscrip* 
tion freshly preserved in never-dying bronze. Proud of 
such a monument erected by the piety of his ancestorsi 







I ' 






the future American may exclaim^ in the words of the 
immortal bard — 

" Soch honors Ilion to her hero paid, 
And peaceful sleeps her mighty Hector's shade.'' 

Another object claimed the attention of the chief dur- 
ing the last days at Mount Vernon — the complete sur- 
vey and remodelling of his farms, with a view to their 
improvement These surveys he made in person, the 
calculations and estimates drawn out by his own hand ; 
and, indeed, it was a rare spectacle to behold this vener- 
able man, who had obtained the very topmost height of 
human greatness, carrying his own compass, the emblem 
of the employments of his early days.* 

* AllasioD has already been made, in a note on page 156, to a fecsimile of a rec- 
ord of one of Washington's snnrejs, given in this volnme. It was made in April, 
1799, the last year of his life; and the land surveyed is that which he gave, by his 
Will, to the author of these RecoUections, situated "on Fonr-mile-Run, in the vicinity 
of Alexandria, containing one thousand two hundred acres, more or less." We 
have on sereral occasions observed how methodical and careful Washington was ia 
all his business operations. His habit of committing every bargain, even the most 
trivial, to writing, is well exemplified by the following cnrioas document, which is 
preserved among his papers. It appears that Philip Barter was in the habit of get- 
ting intoxicated too often, and hence the execution of the following bond : — 

" Articles of agreement made this twelfth day of April, Anno Domini one thou- 
sand seven hundred and eighty-seven, by and between George Washington, Esq., of 
the parish of Truro, in the county of Fairfax, state of Tirginia, on the one part, and 
Philip Barter, gardener, on the other. Witness, that the said Philip Barter, for and 
in consideration of the covenants hereafter mentioned, doth promise and agree to 
serve the said Geotge Washington for the term of one year as a gardener, and that 
he will during the said time, conduct himself soberly, diligently, and honestly; that 
he will faithfully and indostrionsly perform all and every part of his duty as a gar- 
dener, to the best of his knowledge and abilities, and that he will not at any time 
•nffer himself to be disguised with Uqnor except on times hereinafter mentioned. 

"In consideration of these things being well and duly petformed on the part of 
said Philip Barter, the said George Washington doth agree to allow him (the said 
Philip) the same kind and quality of provisions he has heretofore had, and likewise, 
annually, a decent suit of clothes, befitting a man in bis station; to consist of coat, 
▼est, and breeches ; a working-jacket and breeches of homespun, besides ; two white 

446 RECOLLBCTioins or WAsmforoN. 

The venerable master on returning to his home^ fonnd^ 
mdeed, many things to repair^^ with an ample field for 
improvement before him. With a body and mind alike 
somid and^ vigorous in their maturity, did he bend his 
energies to the task, while the appearance of everjiihing 
gave proofs of the taste and energy in the improvements 
that marked the last days at Mount Vernon. 

Washington's rides on his extensive estates, would be 
from eight to twelve or fourteen miles ; he usually moved 
at a moderate pace, passing through his fields and in- 
specting everything ; but when behind time, the most 
punctual of men would display the horsemanship of his 
better days, and a hard gallop bring him Tjp to time, so 
that the sound of his horse's hoo& and the first dinner- 
bell Bhould be heard together at a quarter to three 

Washington's correspondence with Sir John Sinclwr,* 
and other eminent characters in Europe, gave a great 
deal of information touching the improvements in agri- 

ghirU i three check, do ; two linen oTeralls ; as man j pain of shoes as are necessarjr 
for him ; four dollars at Christmas, with which he may he drank four days and four 
nights ; two dollars at Easter to effect the same purpose ; two dollars at Whitsnntide 
to be drunk for two dajs ; a dram in the morning, and a drink of grog at dinner at 

'* For the tme and faithftal performance of all and each part of these things, the 
parties have herennto set their hands this twentj-third day of April* Anno I>oniiiii» 
1787. his 


''Witness: matt. 

" George A. Washington, ** OmoRom Washivotov. 

" Tobias Lear." 
* Sir John Sinclair was aa eminent Scotch baronet, and much interested in the 
progress of the United States. In September, 1796, he wrote to Washington, mak- 
ing special and general inquiries respecting the soil and agriculture of the United 
States, to which Washington replied, in a lengthy and Teijable letter, in December 
following. A copy of tiiat letter mi^ be found in Sparks's Lifs and WriHng»of 


culture and domestic economy m the Old World, lliis 
Taluable information was carefully digested by the farmer 
4)f Mount Vernon, with a view to its adaptation to the 
climate and resources of the United States. Nothing that 
tended to public benefit was too vast to be undertaken 
by this man of mighty labors. The whole of his public 
as well as private career was marked by usefulness. His 
aim was good to his country and mankind, and to effect 
this desirable end, untiring were his energies and onward 
his course as a public benefactor. 

During the maritime war with France,"** the armed 
merchantmen that sailed fiom Alexandria would salute 
on passing Mount Vernon. On the report of the first 
gun, the general would leave his library, and, taking a 
position in the portico that fronts the river, remain there 
uncovered till the firing ceased. 

And yet another salute awakened the echoes around 
ihe diores of Mount Vernon ; another act of homage was 
paid to the retired chief; and this was the homage of the 
heart, for it was paid by an old companion-in-arms, while 
its echoes called up the memories of the past A small 
vessel would be seen to skim along the bosom of the 
Potomac. Nearing the shore, the little craft furled her 
0ails, let go her anchor, and dischai^ed a small piece of 
ordnance ; then a boat put off and pulled to the shore, 
and soon a messenger appeared, bearing a fine rock or 

* Alloflion has already been made to an expected war with Fnnie<^ in the j9n 
1798. There was no actual dedaration of war, yet hostilities between the two 
countries commenced on the ocean. The United States frigate Ckmstellation, cap- 
tared the French frigate L'luwyenie, in Febmaiy, 1799. That frigate had already 
captured the American schooner BOaiieOian, On the first of Febmaiy, 1800, the 
CorutdlaHon had an action with the French frigate La Vengeance, but escaped cap- 
tan, after* losa of one hundred and sixty men in killed and wounded. 


drum fish, with the compliments of Benjamin Grymes, who 
resided some fifty miles down the river, and who was a 
gallant officer of the Life-Guard in the War of the Revo- 

Several of the most distinguished of the French emi- 
grants, some of them bringing letters from French offi- 
cers, who had served in the War for Independence, sought 
in vain to be received by the first president Among 
these were the celebrated Talleyrand, the Due de Lian- 
court, Louis Philippe, then Due d'Orleans, and his twa 
brothers, Montpensier and Bojolais. The first president 
adhered to his rule, that upon mature consideration he 
had laid down for his government during the wars and 
troubles of European nations, viz : Respect and eongidera^ 
ttan for our own ajuirs, with fum^niervenHan in the affairs of 

Louis Philippe and brothers visited the retired chief 
during the last days at Mount Vernon. The amiable Duo 
de Liancourt bore his reverse of fortune with great mag- 
nanimity. He used to say : " In the days of my power 
and affluence, under the ancient regime of France, I kept 
fifty servants^ and yet my coat was never as well brushed 
as it is now, when I brush it myself" 

George Washington Lafayette, and his tutor and friend 
M. Frestel, became members of the Moimt Vernon family 
during the last days. These estimable Frenchmen, driven 
by persecution from their native country, found refuge 
in America. 

While reasons of state prevented Washington, as pres- 
ident, from receiving emigres^ so soon as he became the 
private citizen he warmly, joyftilly welcomed to his heart 
and his home the son of his old companion-in-arms« bid- 


ding young Lafayette to consider George Washington as 
a friend and father. The French gentlemen, from their 
superior intelligence, together with their highly-accom- 
plished and amiable manners, endeared themselves to all 
who knew them during their sojourn in the United 
States. They remained members of the family of Mount 
VemoQ until a change in European affairs enabled them 
to embark for their native land."** 

Many articles, both for useful and ornamental pur- 
poses, were forwarded to Mount Vernon from Philadel- 
phia; and that the retired chief was in full employment 
upon his return to his ancient and beloved mansion, may 
be gathered from the following extract of a letter to ihe 
author of these ReeoUecttam, dated April third, 1797 : ^ We 
are all in the midst of litter and dirt^ occasioned by 
joiners, masons, painters, and upholsterers, working in 
the house, all parts of which, as well as the out-buildings, 
are much out of repair." Mount Vernon, it is known, 
resembles a village, from there being some fourteen or 
fifteen buildings detached from each other; and being 
nearly all constructed of wood, it may well be supposed 
that decay had made considerable progress, more especi- 
ally when the master's absence during the War of the 

* YouDg LafAjette and M. Frestel, arrived at Boston, at the close of the sum- 
mer of 1795. General Lafayette was then an exile, and in prison in Germanj, 
baring fled fVom his coantrj daring the storm of the Fkvnch Revolntion. His 
•on came to America for refnge. He assumed the name of Motier, and resided for 
awhile in seelnsion, with his tntor, near New York. When, in March, 1797, Wash- 
ington retired from the presidency, and became a private citiien, he invited yonng 
Lafayette to make Monnt Vernon his home ; and the yonng gentleman accompanied 
the illustrious friend of his father to that pleasant abode on the Potomac. General 
L*fkyette having been restored to liberty and his family, his son, with M. Frestel, 
■ailtsd for France, from New Tork, on the twenty-sixth of October, 1797. A por- 
trait of yonng Lafayette, while a resident at Monnt Vernon, may be found in a 
work entitled, B£mnt Vernon and its At8oeiaH<m$, New York, 1859. 



Revolution and the first presidency amounted to sixteen 

An event occurred on the twenty-second of Fehruary, 
1799, that, while it created an unusual bustle in the an- 
cient halls, shed a bright gleam of Sunshine on the la^t 
days at Mount Vernon.* It was the marriage of Major 
Lewis, a favorite nephew, with the adopted daughter of 
the chief It was the wish of the young bride that the 
general of the armies of the United States should appear 
in the splendidly embroidered uniform (the costume as- 
signed him by the board of general officers) in honor of 
the bridal ; but alas, even the idea of wearing a costume 
bedizzened with gold embroidery, had never entered the 
mind of the chief, he being content with the old Conti- 
nental blue and buff, while the magnificent white plumes 
presented to him by Major-General Pinckney he gave to 
the bride, preferring the old Continental cocked hat, with 
the plain black-ribbon cockade, a type of the brave old 
days of 76, 

Washington's great employment, and a constant stream 
of company, gave him but little time to go abroad ; still, 
he occasionally visited his old and long-remembered 
friends in Alexandria. He attended a martial exhibition, 
representing an invasion by the French, which ended in 
an old-fashioned sham battle and the capture of the in- 
vaders. It was handsomely got up, Alexandria at that 
time possessing a numerous and well-appointed military , 
and the whole went off with great eclat 

Among many interesting relics of the past, to be found 
in the last days at Mount Vernon, was old Billy, the famed 
body-servant of the commander-in-chief during the whole 

* S^ pag« 44. 


of the War of the Kevolution. Of a stout athletic form, 
he had from an accident become a cripple, and, having 
lost the power of motion, took up the occupation of a 
shoemaker for sake of employment Billy carefully recon- 
noitred the visiters as they arrived, and when a noiilitary 
title was announced, the old body-servant would send his 
compliments to the soldier, requesting an interview at his 
quarters. It was never denied, and Billy, after receiving 
a warm grasp of the hand, would say, "Ah, colonel, glad 
to see you ; we of the army don't see one another often 
in these peaceftd times. Glad to see your honor looking 
so well ; remember you at headquarters. The new-time 
people don't know what we old soldiers did and suffered 
for the country in the old war. Was it not cold enough 
at Valley Forge? Yes, was it; and I am sure you re- 
member it was hot enough at Monmouth. Ah, colonel, 
I am a poor cripple ; can't ride now, so I make shoes and 
think of the old times ; the gineral oft^en stops his horse 
here, to inquire if I want anything. I want for nothing, 
thank God, but the use of my limbs." 

These interviews were frequent, as many veteran of- 
ficers called to pay their respects to the retired chief, and 
all of them bestowed a token of remembrance upon the 
old body-servant of the Revolution.* 

It was in November of the last days that the general 
visited Alexandria upon business, and dined with a few 
friends at the City hotel. Gadsby, the most accomplished 
of hosts, requested the general's orders for dinner, pre- 

* See note on page 157. One of Washington's sexrants, named Gary, set free bj 
his master's will, died in the Federal citj, a few years ago, at the age of one hundred 
and fourteen yearn. He used to appear at military parades, with an old military ooat, 
corked hat, and huge cockade, presented to him by Washington. He was followed 
to the grave by a large conconrse of colored people. 


mising that there wa£ good store of canvass-back ducks 
in the larder. ^ Very good, sir," replied the chie^ ^ give 
us some of them, with a chafing-dish, some hommony, and 
a bottle of good Madeira, and we shall not complain.'' 

No sooner was it known in town that the general would 
stay to dinner, than the cry was for the parade of a new 
company, called the Independent Blues, commanded by 
Captain Peircy, an officer of the Revolution. The mer- 
chant closed his books, the mechanic laid by his tools, the 
dram and fife went merrily round, and in the least pos- 
sible time the Blues had fallen into their ranks, and were 
in full march for the headquarters. 

Meantime the general had dined, and given his only 
toast of ^AU our Friends^ and finished his last glass of 
wine, when an officer of the Blues was introduced, who 
requested, in the name of Captain Peircy, that the com- 
mander-in-chief would do the Blues the honor to witness 
a parade of the corps. The general consented, and re- 
paired to the door of the hotel looking toward the public 
square, accompanied by Colonel Fitzgerald, Dr. Craik, Mr. 
Keith, Mr. Herbert, and several other gentlemen. The 
troops went through many evolutions with great spirit^ 
and concluded by firing several volleys. When the parade 
was ended, the general ordered the author of these JReeot- 
lections to go to Captain Peircy, and express to him the 
gratification which he, the general, experienced in the 
very correct and soldierly evolutions, marchings, and fir- 
ings of the Independent Blues. Such commendation, from 
such a source, it may well be supposed, was received with 
no small delight by the yoimg soldiers, who marched off 
in fine spirits, and were soon afterward dismissed. Thus 


ing the last miStary order issued in person by the Father 
of his Coundy. 

Washington ceased to be a sportsman after ITS?, when 
he gave up the hunting establishment True, he bred the 
blood horse, and a favorite colt of his, named MoffnoSa, 
was entered and ran for a purse ; but this was more to 
encourage the breeding of fine horses than from any 
attachment to the sports of the turf All the time that 
he could spare for active exercise in his latter days was 
devoted to riding about his farm, and inspecting his im- 
provements. In this he was ably assisted by several of 
his stewards and managers, who were Europeans, and who 
had brought from their own countries habits of industry 
and a knowledge of improved agriculture and rural af> 
fairs ; so that^ had the Farmer of Mount Yemon been 
spared but a few years longer, his estate would have 
exhibited a series of model farms, examples to neighbor- 
ing improvers and to the country at large. 

Although much retired from the business world, the 
chief was by no means inattentive to the progress of 
public affairs. When the post-bag arrived, he would select 
the letters, and lay them by for perusal in the seclusion 
of his library. The journals he would peruse while taking 
his single cup of tea (his only supper), and would read 
aloud passages of peculiar interest, making remarks upon 
the same. These evenings with his family always ended 
precisely at nine o'clock, when Washington bade every 
one good nighty and retired to rest, to rise again at four, 
and to ;enew the same routine of labor and enjoyment 
that distinguished his last days at Mount Yemon. 

Washington's last days, like those that preceded them 
in the course of a long and a well-spent life, were devoted 


to constant and useful employment After the active 
exercise of the mornings in attention to agriculture and 
rural affairs^ in the evening came the post4)ag, loaded 
with letters, papers, and pamphlets. His correspondence 
both at home and abroad was immense; yet was it 
promptly and fully replied to. No letter was unanswered. 
One of the best-bred men of his time, Washington deemed 
it a grave offence against the rules of good manners and 
propriety to leave letters unanswered. He wrote with 
great facility, and it would be a difficult matter to find 
another, who had written so much, who had written so 
well. His epistolary writings will descend to posterity^ 
as models of good taste, as* well as exhibiting superior 
powers of mind. General Henry Lee once observed to 
the chie^ ^ We are amazed, sir, at the vast amount of 
work that you accomplish." Washington replied, ^ Sir, I 
rise at four o'clock, and a great deal of my work is done 
while others are asleep." 

So punctual a man delighted in always having about 
him a good timekeeper. In Philadelphia, the first presir 
dent regularly walked up to his watchmaker's (Clarke, in 
Second street) to compare his watch with the regulator. 
At Mount Vernon the active yet always punctual farmer 
invariably consulted the dial when returning from his 
morning ride and before entering his house. 

The affidrs of the household took order firom the ma» 
ter^s accurate and methodical arrangement of time. Even 
the fisherman on the river watched for the cook's signal 
when to pull in shore, so as to deliver his scaly products 
in time for dinner. 

The establishment of Mount Yemon employed a perfect 
army of servants ; yet to each one was assigned certaja 


Bpecial duties, and these were required to be strictly per- 
formed. Upon the extensive estate there was rigid dis- 
cipline, without severity. There could be no confusion 
where all was order; and the affairs of this vast concern, 
embracing thousands of acres and hundreds (^dependants, 
were conducted with as much ease, method, and regular- 
ity, as the affairs of an ordinary homestead. 

Mrs. Washington, an accomplished Virginia housewife 
of the olden time, gave her constant attention to all mat- 
ters of her domestic household, and by her skill and supe- 
rior management greatly contributed to the comfortable 
reception and entertainment of the crowds of guests 
always to be found in the hospitable mansion of Moimt 

Upon Washington's first retirement, in 1783, he became 
convinced of the defective nature of the working animals 
employed in the agriculture of the southern states, and 
set about remedying the evil by the introduction of mules 
instead of horses, the mule being found to live longer, be 
less liable to disease, require less food, and in every respect 
to be more serviceable and economical than the horse in 
the agricultural labor of the southern states. Up to 1783, 
scarcely any mules were to be found in the Union ; a few 
had been imported from the West Indies, but they were 
of diminutive size and of little value. So soon as the 
views on this subject of the illustrious fanner of Mount 
Vernon were known abroad, he received a present from 
the king of Spain of a jack and two jennies, selected from 
the royal stud at Madrid. The jack, called the Rotfol G^^ 
was sixteen hands high, of a gray color, heavily made, 
and of a sluggidi disposition. At the same time, the Mar- 
quis de Lafayette sent out a jack and jennies from the 


island of Malta ; this jack, called the KvigU of MaHa^ was 
a superb 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 crossing the breeds, 
and hence obtained a favorite jack, called Compaundj 
which animal united the size and strength of the Gtft with 
the high courage and activity of the Knight. The jacks 
arrived at Mount Vernon, if ^e mistake not^ early in 1788. 
The general bred some very superior mules from his 
coach mares, sending them from Philadelphia for the 
purpose. In a few years the estate of Mount Vernon 
became stocked with mules of a superior order, rising to 
the height of sixteen hands, and of great power and use- 
fulness, one wagon team of four mules selling at the sale 
of the general's effects for eight hundred dollars. 

Mount Vernon, in the olden time, was celebrated for 
the luxuries of the table. The fields, the forest^ and the 
river, each in their respective seasons, furnished the most 
abundant resources for good living. Among the pictur- 
esque objects on the Potomac to be seen from the eastern 
portion of the mansion-house, was the light canoe of Father 
Jack, the fisherman to tl)e establishment Father Jack was 
an African negro, an hundred years of age, and, although 
greatly enfeebled in body by such a vast weight of years, 
his mind possessed uncommon vigor. And he would tell 
of days long past^ of Afric's clime, and of Afric's wars, in 
which he (of course the son of a king) was made captive, 
and of the terrible battle in which his royal sire was slain, 
the village consigned to the flames, and he to the slave- 

Father Jack possessed in an eminent degree the lead- 
ing quality of all his race — somnolency. By looking 


through a spy-glaas, you would see the canoe fastened to 
a stake, with the old fisherman, bent nearly double, enjoy- 
ing a nap, which was only disturbed by the hard jerking 
of the white perch that became entangled by his hook. 

But the slumbers of Father Jack were occasionally 
attended by some inconvenience. The domestic duties 
at Mount Vernon were governed by clock time. Now, 
the cook required that the fish should be forthcoming at 
a certain period, so that they might be served smoking 
on the board precisely at three o'clock. He would repair 
to the river bank, and make the accustomed signals ; but^ 
alas, there would be no response ; the old fisherman was 
seen quietly reposing in his canoe, rocked by the gentle 
undulations of the stream, and dreaming, no doubt, of 
events " long time ago." The unfortunate artiste of the 
culinary department, grown furious by delay, would now 
rush down to the water's edge, and, by dint of loud shout- 
ing, would cause the canoe to turn its prow to the shore. 
Father Jack, indignant at its being even supposed that 
he was asleep upon his post, would rate those present on 
his landing with, " What you all meek such a debil of a 
noise for, hey ; I wa'nt sleep, only noddin'." 

Poor Father Jack ! No more at early dawn will he be 
seen, as with withered arms he paddled his light canoe on 
the broad surface of the Potomac, to return with the finny 
spoils, and boast of famous fish taken ^ on his own hook." 
His canoe has long since rotted on the shore, his paddle 
hangs idly in his cabin, his ^ occupation 's gone," and Fa- 
ther Jack, the old fisherman of Mount Vernon, ^ sleeps the 
sleep that knows no waking." 

A hunter, too, was attached to the household establish- 
ment Tom Davis and his great Newfoundland dog, Gfunner, 


were as important characters in the department for fur- 
nishing game and wild fowl as Father Jack in that of 
fish. So vast were the numbers of the canva^back duck 
on the Potomac in the ancient time, that a single discharge 
of Tom Davis's old British musket would procure as manj 
of those delicious birds as would supply the larder for a 

The year 1799 was in its last month. Washington had 
nearly completed his sixty-eighth year. The century was 
fast drawing to a close, and with it the great man's life. 
Yet the winter of his age had shed its snows so kindly 
upon him as to mellow without impairing his faculties, 
either physical or mental, and to give fair promise of 
additional length of days. 

Nor was Washington unmindful of the sure progress of 
time, and of his liability to be called at any moment to 
^ that bourne from which no traveller returns." He had 
for years kept a Will by him, and, after matxure reflection, 
had so disposed of his large property as to be satisfactory 
to himself and to the many who were so fortunate and 
happy as to share in his testamentary remembrance.'*' 

In the last days at Mount Vernon, desirous of riding 
{deasantly, the general procured from the North two 
horses of the Narraganset breed, celebrated as saddle 
horses. They were well to look ai^ and were pleasantly 
gaited imder the saddle, but were scary, and therefore 
unfitted for the service of one who liked to ride quietly 
on his farm, occasionally dismounting and walking in his 
fields, to inspect his improvements. From one of these 

* Washington't Will was drawn by himself, and is entirely in his own handwrit- 
ing. It bears the date of Joly 9th, 1 799, and at the bottom of each page his name it 


horses the general sustained, a heavy fall — probably the 
only fall he ever had from a horse in his life. It was in 
November, late in the evening. The general, accompanied 
by Major Lewis, Mr. Peake (a gentleman residing in the 
neighborhood), the author of these RecoUectionSy and a 
groom, were returning from Alexandria to Mount Vernon. 
Having halted for a few moments, the general dismounted, 
and upon rising in his stirrup again, the Narraganset, 
alarmed at the glare from a fire near the road-side, sprang 
from under his rider, who came heavily to the ground. 
Our saddles were empty in an instant^ and we rushed to 
give our assistance, fearing he was hurt It was unneces- 
sary. The vigorous old man was upon his feet again, 
brushing the dust from his clothes ; and, after thanking 
us for our prompt assistance, observed that he was not 
hurt^ that he had had a very complete tumble, and that 
it was owing to a cause that no horseman could well avoid 
or control ; that he was only poised in his stirrup, and had 
not yet gained his saddle, when the scary animal sprang 
firom under him. Meantime, all our horses had gone off 
at fiiU speed. It was nighty and over four miles were to 
be won ere we could reach our destination. The chief 
observed, that^ as our horses had disappeared, it only re- 
mained for us to take it on foot, and with manly strides 
led the way. We had proceeded but a short distance on 
our march, as dismounted cavaliers, when our horses hove 
in sight Happily Tor us, some of the servants of Mr. 
Peake, whose plantation waa hard by, in returning home 
firom their labor, encountered our flying steeds, captured 
jliem, and brought them to us. We were speedily re- 
mounted, and soon the lights at Mount Vernon were seen 
glimmering in the distance. 


The sentinel placed on the watch-tower by Fate to 
guard the destinies of Washington, might have cried, 
*^ All 's well r during the last days at Mount Vernon. All 
was welL All things glided gently and prosperously down 
the stream of time, and all was progressive. Two blades 
of grass had been made to ^ grow where but one grew 
before," and a garden ^ bloomed where flowers had once 
grown wild." 

The best charities of life were gathered around the 
Pater Patrice in the last days at Mount Vernon. The love 
and veneration of a whole people for his illustrious services; 
his generous and untiring labors in the cause of public 
utility ; his kindly demeanor to his family circle, his friends, 
and numerous dependants ; his courteous and cordial hos- 
pitality to his guests, many of them strangers from far 
distant lands ; these charities, all of which sprung from the 
heart, were the ornament of his declining years, and gave 
benignant radiance to his setting sun; and that scene, 
the most sublime in nature, where human greatness re- 
poses on the bosom of human happiness, was to be admired 
on the banks of the Potomac in the last days at Mount 

* A German gentleman in 1858, then eighty-fonr yean of age, wrote ai followi 
concerning pictores of the Washington familj, which hnng in his hall : " The/ 
Tividlj call to my mind the day — the prondest day of my life — that I passed vpon 
the heautiful banks of the Potomac, in the family of the best and greatest persona^ 
that the world has eyer produced. It was in May, 1708, now nearly sixty-one years 
ago. I was seated at his right hand at dinner, and I recollect as distinctly his ma- 
estic bearing as if it were yesterday. Though of mortality, his overpowering pres- 
nee inspired an impression that he belonged to immortality. His suteliness, his 
erene face, the perfect simplicity of his manners, his modest demeanor, and the 
words of wisdom which he uttered, led me irresistibly to the belief that he was aa 
emanation ftom the Omnipotent, for the marvellous work that he had just then eoB- 
rammated. It was my good fortune to contemplate him in his retirement — after 
be had left nothing undone that he could perform for the republic of his creatioiip 


It pleased Providence to permit the beloved Washing- 
ton to live to witness the fruition of his mighty labors in 
the cause of his country and mankind, while his success 
in the calm and honored pursuits of agriculture and 
rm*al affair^ was grateful to his hearty and shed the most 
benign and happy influence upon the last days at Mount 

and after he had quitted office for erer I What a privilege I enjoyed in being his 
welcome goest ! Of the 240,000,000 of people in Europe, I imagine I am the only 
person, since the death of Lafayette, who was so favored as to break bread and take 
wine with Washington at his own table." 




BseoLLsonom or Moxmr Ymtiroir— WAsmiraToir Aonro ovr ro tr Wam— HnBsvrtos nr 
nn Fbxkch axtd Ikdxav Wam — Battlb opnnHovoiroAiRi.A— WAgHnr«TovABsn»* 


OP TRB Asirm or ths Unitbd Statis — YiBm Mount Yxkkoh nr 1781 — Bxtirxmsht fboic 
TBX Army — ViBiTRss at Mount VxRirozr — Constitutiohal OoyvBMTioK— Svokbtabt 
Thomson at Mount Yxenon— Washtnoton drawn rmox his BRmxinNT to bicoxs Ciratf 
Maoutbatb op tkb Bbpublio— His Final Bbtixxmbnt to Pbitatb Lipb— ApponnsD 
Coitmandxx-in-Chixp OP tbb Pbovibxonal Akmt— Anbcdotx— Wasbinoton^ Cautiov 
— HisDbatii. 

How many and what glorious recollections crowd upon 
the mind at the mention of Mount Vernon ! It is a name 
that will be hallowed to all time, and the foot of the pil- 
grim journeying from all nations will continue to press 
the turf around the sepulchre where rest the ashes of the 
Father of his Country. The associations in the history 
of this venerated spot, with those in the history of the 
life and actions of its departed master, will ever cause 
Mount Vernon to be ^freshly remembered." These as- 
sociations began with the early life of Washington, and 
ended only with his last days on earth. Mount Vernon 
was the home of his youth, the retreat of his advanced 
age, the spot that he most loved, and to which he so 
often retired to find repose fix)m the cares and anxieties 
of public affairs. He never left it but with regret He 
always returned to it with joy. Could the old haUs of 

* Fint pablUhed in the National Intelligencer, on the fourth of July, 1850. 


the ancient mansion exhibit a tableau vivant of the char- 
acters that have been their inmates in by-gone days, what 
a long and imposing list of patriots^ statesmen, and war* 
riors would appear to our admiring gaze, to adorn the 
scenes and memories of the past! Let ns endeavor to 
sketch a few outlines. 

Our tableau opens in 1763, when Washington crosses 
the threshold of Mount Vernon to enter upon that great 
theatre of life on which he was destined to play so illus- 
trious a part His achievement in penetrating the wil- 
derness, and successful accomplishment of the important 
objects of his mission, amid dangers and difficulties the 
most appalling, introduced him to the favorable notice 
of the colonial authorities, who, in 1754, intrusted the 
young Virginian with the defence of the frontier of his 
native colony,* where, after a gallant conflict with the 
enemy, he resigned his commission and retired to 
Mount Vernon. But he was not permitted long to en- 
joy the pleasures of its peaceful shades; for, his martial 
reputation having attracted the notice of General Brad- 
dock, the provincial soldier, in 1755, was requested by the 
British veteran to accompany the latter in the ill-fated 
expedition to Fort Duquesne. 

Our tableau now gives a perspective view of the mem- 
orable ninth of July, and the field of the Monongahela, 
where a youthful hero gathers his first laurels amid the 
fiiry of the fight^ and where his high and chivalric daring 
caused "the wild untutored savage" to hail the last 
mounted officer on the field of Monongahela, as " the 
chosen of the great spirit^ the warrior who could not die 
in battle."t 

* See note on page 159. t See note on page 158. 

464 BBC0LUC1I05B 07 wASHiseioa. 

At tiie close of the Seven Years' War, the proTincial 
colonel again becomes a private citizen, and returns to 
Mount Vernon to await the call of destiny. 

It is 1759, and our tableau exhibits a gay and joyous 
scene, while the old halls ring again with the reception 
of a bridal party, and Washington enters Mount Vernon 
a prosperous and happy bridegroom. The gaQant and 
distinguished soldier now lays aside the ^pomp and cir- 
cumstance of glorious war," and many years glide hap- 
pily along, amid the delights of domestic felicity, the 
society of famfly and friends, and the employments of 
agriculture and rural affiurs, when our tableau changes to 
1774. The colonial troubles have commenced, and we 
behold the arrival of two distinguished personages at 
Mount Vernon, Patrick Henry and Edmund Pendleton. 
The object of their visit is to accompany Washington to 
the first Congress, where the soldier had been called by 
the voice of his country, to change the duties of the field 
for those of the senate-house.* 

In 1775, while serving as a member of the first Con* 
gress, Washington is appointed to command in chief the 
armies of the colonies, then assembling to do battle for 
the rights and liberties of unborn generationa He obeys 
the call of destiny and his country ; and for six eventful 
years, big with the fate of liberty and an empire, his 
home is in the tented field.f 

Now, 1781, our tableau shows the long-deserted halls 

* Washington was chosen delegate to represent Virginia in ^e FinaT Conti- 
HBMTAL CoNORSSB, which assembled at Philadelphia, jon the fifth of September. 
1774. He was accompanied on his joamej from Mount Vernon to Philadelphia^ 
on that occasion, by Patrick Henry and Edmnnd Pendleton. Richard Henry Lee 
expected to Join them at Mount Vernon, but was detained at home. 

t See note on page 134. 


of Mount Vemon to be animated by the presence of the 
oommander^inrchief of the combined armies of America 
and France, accompanied by the Coimt de Eochambeau 
and a brilliant suite, who halt but for a single day^ en 
r&ute for Yorktown.* 

Again our tableau changes, and introduces us, in 1783, 
to happier scenes. The war has ended ; its storms have 
passed away, and the sunshine of peace sheds its benign 
influences upon an infant nation, a free and independent 
people.f Annapolis has witnessed a sublime spectacle, 
and Washington, having resigned his commission, and 
^ taken leave of the employments of public life," hastens 
to his beloved retirement, and never in this great man's. 
long and glorious career did he experience so pure, so 
enviable a delight, as when merging the victorious gen- 
eral into the illustrious farmer of Mount Vernon. 

Our tableau now teems with characters. In the old 
halls of Mount Vemon are assembled chosen spirits, from 
the wise, the good, and brave of both hemispheres, who 
have journeyed from distant homes, to pay the homage 
of their hearts to the hero of the age in the retirement 
of a private citizen^ Conspicuous amid this honored 
group is the good and .gallant Lafayette, who, supposing- 
in 1784| that he was about to bid adieu to America for 

« Washington arrived at. Mount Vemon on the nradi of September. The next 
cUij Bocbambeaa and ChasteUenx, with their raepectiTe sQites^ arrived. On ther 
elerenth, Washington presided at a dinner-party, nnder his own roof, and on the 
twelfth, all departed for Williamsburg. Washington was accompanied by John 
Parke Cnstis, father of the anchor of these BecoUectiom, as his aid. They arrived at 
Williamsburg on thto evening of the fourteenth. 

\ See note on page 870. 

I Lafayette came to America in the summer of 1784. After remaining a fbw days 
in Kew York, he hastened to Mount Vemon, where he remained almost a fortnight. 
He again visited the illustrious farmer on the Potomac, just before leaving Ajp^**^' * 
in November following. 



the last time^ had hastened to Mount Vernon to pay his 
parting respects to the man who, of all men, he most 
loved and admired. 

The retired chief receives his guests with that kindli* 
ness and hospitality for which Moimt Y emon was always 
distinguished, while his early rising, his industrious and 
methodical habits of life, his horsemanship in the chase, 
his minute attention to all matters, and the improve- 
ment of his domain, elicited the warmest encomium and 
admiration of those who, in the old time of day, had the 
good fortune to visit Washington on his farm. 

From the unalloyed happiness in which four years 
were now passed in the employments of agriculture, in 
social and domestic intercourse, occasionally varied by 
the pleasures of the chase, this period in the life of the 
Paier Pcdrice may truly be said to have been the one in 
which all his ways were ^ ways of pleasantness, and all 
his paths were peace." 

Our tableau changes to 1787> when his country calls 
upon her chosen son to leave the tranquil shades of 
Mount Vernon to take a prominent part in the mo- 
mentous events of the times. The old confederation is 
ended ; a new government is to be formed ; confusion is 
to be succeeded by order. The convention assembles, and 
that immortal constitutional charter, that millions of firee- 
men have since so happily enjoyed, received its first 
signature from the hand of George Washington.'*' 

From this date a young and glorious empire dawned 
upon the world. Conceived in the piuity of republican 
freedom, founded on the basis of equal rights and equal 
laws, the great and renowned of the land formed this 

* See Bote od pege 381. 


masterwork of virtue ; and patriotism might well expect 
that it would endure for centuries, tiU grown hoary by 
time, and from the decline of public virtue it should ex- 
perience the fate of nations, when, from the extent and 
magnificence of its ruins, futurity might read the story 
of its rise, its grandeur, and its fall. 

Our tableau exhibits, in 1789, important and touching 
events in the Uiiory of Mmnt Vernon, A special envoy 
arrives in the person of Mr. Secretary Thomson, a signer 
of the Declaration of Independence, and a genuine type 
of the braive old doffS of 76. Scarcely is he received with 
the warmest welcome, when he declares the object of 
his mission : That he is charged, by the Congress then 
assembled in New York, with the grateful duty of an- 
nouncing to George Washington, a private citizen, his 
election to the presidency of the United States of Amer- 

The recipient of this highest, this proudest dignity 
that can ever be conferred on man, was by no means un- 
prepared for its announcement by the venerable ambas- 
sador. From the period of the ratification of the Con- 
stitution by the states, every mail from eveiy part of the 
Union brought letters to Mount Vernon, all praying the 
retired chief to yield to the united wishes of the people 
to accept the highest dignity in their power to bestow. 
In vain did the happy farmer of Mount Vernon plead 
that advanced age and long services needed repose. 
Many of his old and much-loved companions-in-arms 
gathered around him affectionately, saying, ** We feel as- 
sured that you can not, that you will not> refiise the 
wishes of a whole people ; your honored name is heard 

* See note on page 888. 


from every lip, whOe in every heart there dwelk but one 
flentiment : Washington^ eJdef magidrate of the RepMkr 

The newly-chosen president was deeply aJBfected by 
this generous, this universal testimonial of the love and 
attachment of his countrymen. The people triumphed ! 
The man of the people yielded to the will of the people. 
A day or two sufficed for preparation for departure. A 
sigh to the fond memories of home and happy days of 
retirement^ and the first president of the United States 
bade adieu to Mount Vernon. For eight years silence 
reigned in the ancient halls, when, in 1797, they again 
teem with animation. The long-absent master returns. 
Time has blanched his locks, and traced its furrows on 
his noble brow, but his manly form is still erect; ay, 
with lightsome step and joyous heart he once more en* 
ters the portals of his beloved Mount Vernon. 

Our tableau having exhibited the changing events in 
the history of Mount Vernon for forty-six years, in its 
closing scene portrays the aged chief in his last retire- 
ment His days are nmnbered, his glorious race is nearly 
run, yet, when invasion threatens, he obeys the last call 
of his country, and is again in arms> her general and pro- 

When Washington was appointed to his last command 
in the armies of his coimtry,^ his acceptance was accom- 
panied by an intimation that he should remain in his be- 
loved retirement of Mount Vernon, till imperious circum- 
stances should call him to the field. The commandeivin- 
chief gave the necessary attention to military duties 
through his private secretary, while himself continued 
the occupations of rural afiairs. 


* See note on pege SS7. 


A number of the principal characters in the United 
States were desirous that their sons should make a first 
essay in arms under the immediate auspices of the ven- 
erable chief Among these was the Hon. Charles Carrol)^ 
of Carrollton, for whom Washington ever entertained the 
very warmest political as well as personal attachment 
and esteem. To Mr. Carroll's application, the general 
replied, that as it was his firm resolve, in case the enemy 
efiected a landing, to meet them on the very threshold 
of the empire, he should, in such an event, require about 
his person, officers of tried knowledge and experience in 
war; but with a view to gratify Mr. Carroll, his son 
should be received as an extra aid-de-camp. 

Among the applicants of a more veteran stamp, was 
Oolonel H., of Richmond, one of that band of ardent and 
youthful chivalry, which Virginia sent to the War for In- 
dependence in the very dawn of the Revolution. Col- 
onel H. was lieutenant of Morgan's lamed corps of Rifle- 
men, which performed the memorable march across the 
wintry wilderness of the Kennebec in 1775. During 
that display of almost superhuman privation and toil, 
and in the subsequent assault on Quebec, he displayed 
a hardihood of character, and heroism of heart, that 
won for him the admiration of his comrades, and es- 
teem of their intrepid commander ; and elicited a cog- 
nomen, that a Ney might have been proud to deserve — 
*^ The most daring of aS who dare^ Morgan, himself, 
bred in the hardy school of the firontier and Indian 
warfare, declared of Colonel HL — ^ He exceeds all men. 
During the greatest horrors of our march, when the 
bravest fainted and fell firom exhaustion and despon- 
dency, it was he who cheered us on, for oft have I seen 


him dance upon the mow, while he gnawed his moccatsms far 

Yet even to the application of such a soldier, did the 
ever cautious mind of Washington pause, while he 
weighed in the balance not the past, but the present 
merits of the man. The general wrote to his nephew, 
then in Richmond, to this effect : ^ Colonel H. has applied 
to become a member of my military £a.mily. In the War 
of the Revolution I knew him well ; and of a truth he 
was then all that could be desired in a good and gallant 
officer, and estimable man ; but time^ my dear Bushrod,* 
often changes men as well as things. Now, the object 
of this letter is to inquire whether the habits of Colonel H. 
are unaltered, and whether I shall find him now what I 
knew him to be in other days " The answer to this let- 
ter was most satisfactory. Colonel H. was the same, 
good, gallant^ and estimable. The chief was content^ and 
quickly marked him for promotion. 

What a moral does this little private memoir impress 
upon those who are high in authority, upon whose knowl- 
edge and judgment of men and things, so often depend 
the destinies of nations ! How careful should chiefs be, 
in the choice of their subordinates, to weigh well in the 
balance the present as well as the past merits of appli- 
cants for office, lest^ as in the words of the venerated 
Washington, .^ Time, which changes men as weU as things^ 

* Bashrod Washington, son of the general's brother John Aagastine. His pn>ie«- 
•ion was the law; and in 1798, President Adams appointed him a judge of the sa- 
preme court of the United Slates, an o$ce which he held until his death. He was 
the first president of the American Colonization Society. On the death of General 
Washington he inherited the estate of Mount Yemon, and the general's books and 
papers. He died at Philadelphia on the twentj-sixth of Norember, 18S9, at the age 
of seventy years. His remains are in the family vault »t Mount Yemon, and near 
it is a fine white marble obelisk erected to his memory. 

oinuMB uro-picrruBES. 471 

may have rendered them unworthy of being " marked 
for promotion/* 

After a long and unexampled career of glory in the 
service of his country and mankind, well stricken in 
years and laden with honors, in his own beloved Mount 
Vernon, with the fortitude and resignation befitting the 
Boman fame of his life and actions, the Pater Patriaa 
yielded up his soul to ECm who gave it, calmly declaring, 
** I am not afraid to die.'* 

Our taikau vivani closes with the grandeur and solem- 
nity of the spectacle that bore him to his grave. 



Lak BmiTXTOB or nn DxAtB-Sosmi^'W'AUBre'fov EkrossD to a drotti— Smnoai or 
SiOKirsn— Tin Suookbdxvo Etzniso latb or us Libxast ^ CHASAomuvixo Rdlasz 
TO Mbs. WiAHiKOToir— 8uunaHinB88 — Alakm— PBTiioiAirs watt rOB— Docrox C&aik* 
— Bbtbbitt or thb iLunoH— Galu *ob his Will— Dibbotioiib about hb Bodt— A 


ZMOTOv— Mbs. WASKxiroTOB^ Sbobbt Pbatbbs— Tub Closibo Bobwb. 

TwENTT-EiOHT years have passed since an interesting 
group were assembled in the death room, and witnessed 
the last hours of Washington.'*' So keen and unsparing 
hath been the scythe of time, that of all those who 
watched over the patriarch's couch, on the thirteenth 
and fourteenth of December, 1799, but a single person- 
age survives.f 

On the morning of the thirteenth, the general was en- 
gaged in making some improvements in the front of 
Mount Yemon.;|; As was usual with him, he earned his 

* This was first published in the National Int^igenoer, in Febniaiy, 1837. 

t The persons here alluded to were, Mn. Washington, Christopher, a faToriie 
house-senrant who attended apon the master, Colonel Tobias Lear, Mrs. Forbes, the 
housekeeper, Mr. Albert Rawlins, Drs. Cnuk, Brown, and Dick, and Caroline, 
Molly, and Charlotte, three of the honse-senrants. Mrs. Lewis (Eleanor Parke Cnstis) 
was confined, by childbirth, to an upper chamber, and her husband and the antiior 
of these ReootlectioM, were absent in New Kent. Who the surriFor was, to whosa 
the author alludes, can not now be determined. 

I Colonel Tobias Lear, a talented and educated gentleman, who resided many 
years with Washington, first as secretary, and afterwards as fluperintendent of his 
priyate afiairs, wrote, immediately after the death of the patriot, a drcnmstantial 


own compass, noted his observations, and marked out the 
ground. The day became rainy, with sleet, and the im- 
prover remained so long exposed to the inclemency of 
the weather as to be considerably wetted before his re- 
turn to the house. About one o'clock he was seized with 
chilliness and nausea, but having changed his clothes, he 
sat down to his in-door work — there being no moment 
of his time for which he had not provided an appropriate 

At night on joining his family circle, the general com- 
jplained of a slight indisposition, and after a single cup of 
tea^ repaired to his library, where he remained writing 
until between eleven and twelve o'clock.* Mrs. Wash- 
ington retired about the usual family hour, but becoming 
alarmed at not hearing the accustomed sound of the li- 
brary door as it closed for the night, and gave signal for 
rest in the well-regulated mansion, she rose again, and 
continued sittipg up, in much anxiety and suspense. At 
length the well-known step was heard on the stair, and 
upon the general's entering his chamber, the lady chided 
him for staying up so late, knowing him to be unwell, to 
which Washington made this memorably reply : " I came 
so soon as my business was accomplished. You well 

«ccoaiit of the Boen«8 «t his depwtare. He was present dnrinji^ his illness and sit 
hb deathi and above all others was most competent to give a correct narrative. His 
Moonnt, much more minute than Mr. Onstis's, aif^rees substantially with the more 
^Mmcise narrative in this chapter. It may be found in the lAfi and Writinfft of 
TFasftiN^ton, by Jared Sparks, i. 665. 

• Mr. Lear says, **that in the evening the papen were brought from the post- 
ofBoe, and the fkmily remained In the parlor until nine oVIork, whf>n Mrs. Wash- 
ington went up to Mrs. Lewis's room. After that he and the generHl rend. Wash- 
ington was quite hoarse ; and when he left, as ltf%x supposed, for the night, the 
latter observed to the general, that he had better take something fbr his cold. 
Washington replied, '<No ; you know I never take anything for a cold— let it go 
«B it came." 


know that through a long life, it ha^ been my unvaried 
rule, never to put off till the morrow the duties which 
should be performed to-day/' 

Having first covered the fire with care, the man of 
mighty labors sought repose ; but it came not, as it long 
had been wont to do, to comfort and restore after the 
many and earnest occupations of the well-spent day. 
The night was passed in feverish restlessness and pain. 
" Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep," was destined 
no more to visit his couch ; yet the manly sufferer utter- 
ed no complaint^ would permit no one to be disturbed in 
their rest, on his account, and it was only at daybreak 
he would consent that the overseer might be called in^ 
and bleeding resorted to. A vein was opened, but no 
relief afforded. Couriers were despatched to Dr. Craik,* 

* Doctor James Craik wai born at Abigland, near Damfiies, Scotland, in 1730, 
and at about that time, John Panl, the father of John Paul Jones, was the gardener 
of Dr. Craik's father. Dr. Craik came to America in 1750. He had practised hi» 
profession a short time in the West Indies. He settled in Virginia ; and on tfaa 
seventh of March, 1754, he was commissioned a surgeon in Colonel Fry's regiment, 
which was commanded by Washington on the death of that officer. He served ia 
the provincial army daring a greater portion of the French and Indian war. At 
that time his home was in Winchester, Virginia. He was married in December, 
1760. In 1770 he accompanied Washington to the Ohio, and then it was that the 
acene of the Indian Prophecy occurred, which is cited in chapter zi. of this woik. 
He afterwards settled near Port Tobacco, Charles county, Maryland, where he biiili 
a fine house, but by the persuasion of Washington, he removed to Alexandria. In 
1777, Dr. Craik was appointed assistant director-general in the ho^iital departmeol 
of the continental army. He continued to reside in Alexandria, nntil old age caused 
him to relinquish the practice of his profession, when he retired to Vandnse, a pari 
of the Bavensworth estate, where he died in February, 1814, at the age of eighty-foor 
yean. His wife died a few months afterward, at the age of seventy-Amr. Dr. 
Craik had nine chUdnn— «ix sons and three daughters. His eldest son, William, 
was a representative in Congress ftom 1796 to 1801, when he was appointed jndge ol 
the federal court. He and the author of these BtecUeetimu married sisters, tha 
daughters of William Fitihngh, of Chatham, Virginia. His younger son, Geoige 
Washington, bora in 1774, was President Washington's private secretary. 

Dr. Craik was vigorous and active until the last His gnmdson, Bev. JaoMf 


the family,'^ and Drs. Dick and Brown^f the consulting 
physicians, all of whom came with speed. The proper 
remedies were administered, but without producing their 
healing effects ; while the patient, yielding to the anxious 
looks of all around him, waived his usual objections to 
medicines, and took those which were prescribed without 
hesitation or remark. The medical gentlemen spared 
not their skill, and all the resources of their art were ex- 
hausted in unwearied endeavors to preserve this noblest 
work of nature. 

The night approached — the last night of Washington. 
The weather became severely cold while the group gath- 
ered nearer to the couch of the sufferer, watching with 
intense anxiety for the slightest dawning of hope. He 
spoke but little. To the respectful and affectionate in 
quiries of an old family servant, as she smoothed down 
his pillow, how he felt himself he answered, " I am very 
ilL" To Dr. Craik, his earliest companion-in-arms, longest 
tried and bosom friend, he observed, ^ I am dying, sir — 
but am not afraid to dia" To Mra Washington he said, 
** Go to my desk, and in the private drawer you will find 
two papers — bring them to me." They were brought 

Craik, of LoaisTiUe, Kentucky, from whom I roceived the foregoing Acts, says : " He 
WAS a stont, thick-set man, perfectly erect, no stoop of the shoolders, and no appear- 
ance of debility in his carriage. Not long before his death he ran a race with ma 
(Aen about eight years old), in the front yard of the house, at Vanclnse, before the 
assembled family." A profile of Dr. Craik, in Silhontte, may be found in a woric* 
by the anchor of these notes, entitled Mount Vernon and Us AMtoeuOioni. 

* These were Mrs. Law and Mrs. Peter, and their husbands, the grandchildren of 
Hie. Washington ; also her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Stuart None of them arrired 
before Washington's death. 

t These wera neighboring physicians. Dr. Craik had adrised Washington to 
•end for Dr. Brown, of Port Tobacco, in the erent of severe illnees in his fiunily 
during the absence of Dr. Craik. Dr. BUsha C. Dick was generally the consulting 
nbysteian with Dr. CnOk. 


He continued — "These are my Wills — preserve tiiis one 
and bum the other," whidi was accordingly done. Call- 
ing to Colonel Lear, lie directed — ^ Let my corpse be kept 
for the mmal period of three days.*** 

The custom of keeping the dead for the scriptural 
period of three days, is derived from remote antiquity, 
and arose, not from fear of premature interment, as in 
more modem times, but from motives of veneration 
toward the deceased ; for *the better enabling the reli^ 
tives and friends to assemble from a distance, to perform 
the funeral rites ; for the pious watchings of the corpse; 
-and for many sad, yet endearing, ceremonies with which 
we delight to pay our last duties to the remains of tfaose 
we loved. 

The patient bore his acute sufferings with fortitude 
and perfect resignation to the Divine will, while as the 
night advanced it became evident that he was sinking, 
and be seemed fully aware that " his hour was nigh.'* 
He inquired the time, and was answered a few minutea 
to ten. He spoke no more — the hand of death was 
upon him, and he was conscious that " his hour was come.** 
With surprising self-possession he prepared to die. Com- 
posing his form at length, and folding his arms on his 
bosom, without a sigh, without a groan, the Father of his 
Coimtry died. No pang or struggle told when the no- 
ble spirit took its noiseless ffightjf while so tranquil 

* " At length,** he said, " I am Jott going. Hanre me deeently barM ; «nd do 
not let mj body be put into the Ttnlt in lese than three dajt after I am dead."-«* 
Mr, Lear'M ttatemeni, 

t " Dr. Craik/' says Mr. Lear, "* p«t his hands orer hit eyes, and he cz]Hied 
withoQt a straggle or a sigh. While we wen fixed in silent grief/' he oontinnns, 
'< Mrs. Washington, who was sitting at the foot of the bed, atked, with a firm and 
collected Toioe, ' Is he gone f I coold not speak, bat held np my band as a aigMla 


appeared the manly features in the repose of death, that 
some moments had passed ere those around could believe 
that the patriarch was no more. 

It may be asked, 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 
throughout life, without their consolations in his last mo- 
ments ? We answer, 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 re- 
fuse, to give still farther length of days to him whose 
^ time-honored life** was so dear to mankind, prayer was 
not wanting to the throne of Grace. Close to the couch 
of the sufferer, 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. 
Such were the last hours of Washington.* 

that he was no more. ' 'TU well/ said she, in the same Toiee, * all is now over ; 1 
shall soon follow htm ; I have no more trials to pass thnmg^h.' " 

• Washington died on Saturday night, the fonrteenth of December, 1799, between 

the hours of ten and eleren. On Sunday a coffin was procured from Alexandriiv 

and on the same day seyeral of the family arrived. The coffin was made of ma* 

hogany, lined with lead, and upon it was placed at the head, an ornament inscribed 

SvBOB AD Judioiitm; about the middle of the cottn, Qlokia Dbo ; and on a small 

flSver plate, in the ft»nn of the American shield, were the words : 


BORH rSB. 32, 173S. 


The time for the ftroeral was fixed on Wednesday the eighteenth, at twelve o'clock, 
•ad tba Ber. Mr. Davis was invited to perform the funeral services, according to the 


ritual of the Protestant Episcopal church. The famil/ having heen informed tital 
the military and Freemasons of Alexandria desired to participate in the ceremonies, 
arrangements were made accordingly. People began to collect at Meant Yemon 
at eleven o'clock ; but as a great part of the troops did not get down from Alexan- 
dria in time, the ceremonies were postponed until three. Eleven pieces of artilleiy 
were brought down from Alexandria ; and a schooner belonging to Mr. Robert Ham- 
ilton, of that city, lay off Mount Yemon, and Ared minnte^ns. 

The arrangemento of the procession were made by Colonels Little, Simms, Den- 
eale, and Dr. Dick. It moved at three o'clock. The pall-bearers were Colonels 
Little, 8imms, Payne, Gilpin, Ramsay, and Marsleter. Colonel Blackburn pre- 
ceded the corpse. Colonel Deneale marched with tlie military. The procession 
moved out through the gate at the left wing of the house, and proceeded round in 
^nt of the lawn, and down to the vault on the right wing of the house. The fol- 
lowing was the composition and order of the procession :— * 
The troops, horse and foot. 
The cleiigy, namely, the Rev. Messrs. Davis, Mnir, Moffat, and Addison. 
The general's horse, with his saddle, holsters, and pistols, led by two groomi, 
Cyms, and Wilson, in black. 
The body, borne by the Freemasons and officers. 
Principal mourners, namely, 
Mrs. Stuart and Mrs. Law. 
Misses Nancy and Sally Stuart, 
Miss Fairfax and Miss Dennison. 
Mr. Law and Mr. Peter. 
Mr. Lear and Dr. Craik. 
Lord Fairikx and Ferdinando Fairfax. 
Lodge, No. 23. 
Corporation of Alexandria. 
All other persons, preceded by Mr. Anderson and the overseer. 
When the body arrived at the vault, the Rev. Mr. Davis read the service, and 
pronounced a short address. The Masons then performed their ceremonies, and the 
body was deposited in the vault. Three general discharges of musketry were given 
by the infantry ; and eleven pieces of artillery, which were ranged back of the vault, 
and simultaneously discharged, " paid the last tribute to the entombed oommander-in- 
chief of the armies of the United States." The vault was the old one, ou the brow 
of the hill, now in ruins. The new tomb, directed by Washington, in his Will, to be 
constructed, was not made until many years afterward. 

The Congress, then sitting in PhUadelphia, received information of the death of 
Washington on the eighteenth, and on the following day the announcement was 
formally made on the floor of the house of representatives, by the Honorable John 
Marshall, of Yiiginia (afterward chief-justice of the United States), and the house, 
after some appropriate action, adjourned. On the twenty-third, the Congress adopt- 
ed joint resolutions ^ first, that a marble monument should be erected at the capitol, 
already mentioned in the preceding chapter ; seoone£fjf, that there should be " a fiinerd