Note by transcriber: Though modern historians dismiss Parson Weems' book about
George Washington as mythical, I feel it has value as old literature and, more importantly,
it has moral lessons for children of all times.



A life how useful to his country led!
How loved! while revered! now dead!
Lisp! lisp! his name, ye children, yet unborn!
And with like deeds your own great names adorn!





"The author has treated this great subject with admirable success in a new way. He turns all the actions of Washington to the encouragement of virtue, by a careful application of numerous exemplifications drawn from the conduct of the founder of our republic from his earliest life. No Biographer deserves more applause than he whose chief purpose is to entice the young mind to the affectionate love of virtue, by personifying it in the character most dear to these states."

H. Lee, Major General Army U. S.



George Washington

District of Pennsylvania, to wit

BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the twentieth day of September, in the thirty-third year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1803, M. L. Weems, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as author, in the words following, to wit:

"The Life of George Washington; with curious anecdotes, equally honourable to himself and exemplary to his young countrymen.

A life how useful to his country led!
How loved! while revered! now dead!
Lisp! lisp! his name, ye children, yet unborn!
And with like deeds your own great names adorn!

Sixth edition—greatly improved. By M. L. Weems, formerly rector of Mount-Vernon parish."

In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, "An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned:" and also to the act, entitled "An act supplementary to an act entitled 'An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving and etching historical and other prints."

Clerk of the District of Pennsylvania.

"I am happy to have it in my power to recommend the history of the private life of General Washington, by Mr. Weems, and ardently hope it may have an extensive circulation."

JACOB RUSH, Judge C. P. Penn.

"You have combined with great felicity the useful and the pleasant—historical information, and amusing anecdote. Your style is always perspienous, and occasionally noble— in flights of imagery and richness of expression, rising to the sublime. But the great excellence of your book is the morality of the sentiment. I do not know a better to put into the hands of young persons, to raise the mind to political and moral virtue. It ought to be introduced into schools, and to be in every family."

One of the Judges of the Supreme Court.

"The anecdotes of Washington present the supreme excellence of religion, with the transcendant dignity, charms and usefulness of the respective virtues, in domestic, civil, and military scenes. The moral sensibility and genius of the writer warms the heart and imagination of his readers,’’

Minister of the Swedes Church, Philadelphia.




OH! as along the stream of time thy name
Expanded flies, and gathers all its fame;
May then these lines to future days descend,
And prove thy country's good thine only end!

"AH, gentlemen!"—exclaimed Bonaparte—'twas just as he was about to embark for Egypt . . . some young Americans happening at Toulon, and anxious to see the mighty Corsican, had obtained the honour of an introduction to him. Scarcely were past the customary salutations, when he eagerly asked, "how fares your countryman, the great WASHINGTON?" ''He was very well," replied the youths, brightening at the thought that they were the countrymen of Washington; "he was very well, general, when we left America."—"Ah, gentlemen!" rejoined he, "Washington can never be otherwise than well:—The measure of his fame is full—Posterity shall talk of him with reverence as the founder of a great empire, when my name shall be lost in the vortex of Revolutions!"

WHO then that has a spark of virtuous curiosity, but must wish to know the history of him whose name could thus awaken the sigh even of Bonaparte? But is not his history already known [4] thousand orators spread his fame abroad, bright as his own Potomac, when he reflects the morning sun, and flames like a sea of liquid gold, the wonder and delight of all the neighbouring shores? Yes, they have indeed spread his fame abroad...his fame as Generalissimo of the armies, and first President of the councils of his nation. But this is not half his fame....True, he is there seen in greatness, but it is only the greatness of public character, which is no evidence of true greatness; for a public character is often an artificial one. At the head of an army or nation, where gold and glory are at stake, and where a man feels himself the burning focus of unnumbered eyes; he must be a paltry fellow indeed, who does not play his part pretty handsomely...even the common passions of pride, avarice, or ambition, will put him up to his metal, and call forth his best and bravest doings. But let all this heat and blaze of public situation and incitement be withdrawn; let him be thrust back into the shade of private life, and you shall see how soon, like a forced plant robbed of its hot-bed, he will drop his false foliage and fruit, and stand forth confessed in native stickweed sterility and worthlessness....There was Benedict Arnold—while strutting a BRIGADIER GENERAL on the public stage, he could play you the great man, on a handsome scale....he out-marched Hannibal, and out­fought Burgoyne....he chased the British like curlews, or cooped them up like chickens! and yet in the private walks of life, in Philadelphia, he could swindle rum from the commissary's stores, and, with the aid of loose women, retail it by the gill!!....And there was the great duke of Marlborough too—his public character, a thunderbolt in war! Britain's boast, and terror of the French! But his private character, what? Why a swindler to whom not Arnold's self could hold a candle; a perfect nondescript of baseness; a shaver of farthings from the poor sixpenny pay of his own brave soldiers!!!

[5] IT is not then in the glare of public, but in the shade of private life, that we are to look for the man. Private life is always real life. Behind the curtain, where the eyes of the million are not upon him, and where a man can have no motive but inclination, no excitement but honest nature, there he will always be sure to act himself; consequently, if he act greatly, he must be great indeed. Hence it has been justly said, that, "our private deeds, if noble, are noblest of our lives."

OF these private deeds of Washington very little has been said. In most of the elegant orations pronounced to his praise, you see nothing of Washington below the clouds—nothing of Washington the dutiful son—the affectionate brother—the cheerful schoolboy—the diligent surveyor—the neat draftsman—the laborious farmer—and widow's husband—the orphan's father—the poor man's friend. No! this is not the Washington you see; 'tis only Washington the hero, and the Demigod....Washington the sun beam in council, or the storm in war.

AND in all the ensigns of character, amidst which he is generally drawn, you see none that represent him what he really was, "the Jupiter Conservator," the friend and benefactor of men. Where's his bright ploughshare that he loved—or his wheat-crowned fields, waving in yellow ridges before the wanton breeze—or his hills whitened over with flocks—or his clover-covered pastures spread with innumerous herds—or his neat-clad servants, with songs rolling the heavy harvest before them? Such were the scenes of peace, plenty, and happiness, in which Washington delighted. But his eulogists have denied him these, the only scenes which belong to man the GREAT, and have trick'd him up in the vile drapery of man the little. See! there he stands! with the port of Mars "the destroyer," dark frowning over the fields of war....the lightning of Potter's blade is by his side—the deep-mouthed cannon is before him, disgorging its flesh-mangling balls—his war-horse paws [6] with impatience to bear him, a speedy thunderbolt, against the pale and bleeding ranks of Britain!—These are the drawings usually given of Washington; drawings masterly no doubt, and perhaps justly descriptive of him in some scenes of his life; but scenes they were, which I am sure his soul abhorred, and in which at any rate, you see nothing of his private virtues. These old fashioned commodities are generally thrown into the back ground of the picture, and treated, as the grandees at the London and Paris routs, treat their good old aunts and grandmothers, huddling them together into the back rooms, there to wheeze and cough by themselves, and not depress the fine laudanum-raised spirits of the young sparklers. And yet it was to those old-fashioned virtues that our hero owed every thing. For they in fact were the food of the great actions of him, whom men call Washington. It was they that enabled him, first to triumph over himself, then over the British, and uniformly to set such bright examples of human perfectibility and true greatness, that compared therewith, the history of his capturing Cornwallis and Tarleton, with their buccaneering legions, sounds almost as small as the story of old General Putnam's catching his wolf and her lamb-killing whelps.

SINCE then it is the private virtues that lay the foundation of all human excellence—since it was these that exalted Washington to be "Columbia's first and greatest Son" be it our first care to present these, in all their lustre, before the admiring eyes of our children. To them his private character is every thing; his public, hardly any thing. For how glorious soever it may have been in Washington to have undertaken the emancipation of his country; to have stemmed the long tide of adversity; to have baffled every effort of a wealthy and warlike nation; to have obtained for his countrymen the completest victory, and for himself the most unbounded power; and then to have returned that power, accompanied [7] with all the weight of his own great character and advice to establish a government that should immortalize the blessings of liberty. . .however glorious, I say, all this may have been to himself, or instructive to future generals and presidents, yet does it but little concern our children. For who among us can hope that his son shall ever be called, like Washington, to direct the storm of war, or to ravish the ears of deeply listening Senates? To be constantly placing him then, before our children, in this high character, what is it but like springing in the clouds a golden Phoenix, which no mortal calibre can ever hope to reach? Or like setting pictures of the Mammoth before the mice whom "not all the manna of Heaven" can ever raise to equality? Oh no! give us his private virtues! In these, every youth is interested, because in these every youth may become a Washington—a Washington in piety and patriotism,—in industry and honour—and consequently a Washington, in what alone deserves the name, SELF ESTEEM and UNIVERSAL RESPECT.


Children like tender osiers take the bow;
And as they first are form'd, for ever-grow.

TO this day numbers of good Christians can hardly find faith to believe that Washington was, bona fide, a Virginian! "What! a buckskin!" say they with a smile, "George Washington a buckskin! pshaw! impossible! he was certainly an European: So great a man could never have been born in America.

[8] So great a man could never have been born in America!—Why that's the very prince of reasons why he should have been born here! Nature, we know, is fond of harmonies; and paria paribus, that is, great things to great, is the rule she delights to work by. Where, for example, do we look for the whale "the biggest born of nature?" not, I trow, in a mill-pond, but in the main ocean; "there go the greet ships" and there are the spoutings of whales amidst their boiling foam.

BY the same rule, where shall we look for Washington, the greatest among men, but in America? That greatest Continent, which, rising from beneath the frozen pole, stretches far and wide to the south, running almost "whole the length of this vast terrene," and sustaining on her ample sides the roaring shock of half the watery globe. And equal to its size, is the furniture of this vast continent, where the Almighty has reared his cloud-capt mountains, and spread his sea-like lakes, and poured his mighty rivers, and hurled down his thundering cataracts in a style of the sublime, so far superior to any thing of the kind in the other continents, that we may fairly conclude that great men and great deeds are designed for America.

THIS seems to be the verdict of honest analogy; and accordingly we find America the honoured cradle of Washington, who was born on Pope's creek, in Westmoreland county, Virginia, the 22d of February, 1732. His father, whose name was Augustin Washington, was also a Virginian, but his grandfather (John) was an Englishman, who came over and settled in Virginia in 1657.

HIS father fully persuaded that a marriage of virtuous love comes nearest to angelic life, early stepped up to the altar with glowing cheeks and joy sparkling eyes, while by his side, with soft warm hand, sweetly trembling in his, stood the angel form of the lovely Miss Dandridge.

[9] AFTER several years of great domestic happiness, Mr. Washington was separated, by death, from this excellent woman, who left him and two children to lament her early fate.

FULLY persuaded still, that "it is not good for man to be alone" he renewed, for the second time, the chaste delights of matrimonial love. His consort was Miss Mary Ball, a young lady of fortune, and descended from one of the best families in Virginia.

FROM his intermarriage with this charming girl, it would appear that our Hero's father must have possessed either a very pleasing person, or highly polished manners, or perhaps both; for, from what I can learn, he was at that time at least 40 years old! while she, on the other hand, was universally toasted as the belle of the Northern Neck, and in the full bloom and freshness of love-inspiring sixteen. This I have from one who tells me that he has carried down many a sett dance with her; I mean that amiable and pleasant old gentleman, John Fitzhugh, Esq. of Stafford, who was, all his life, a neighbour and intimate of the Washington family. By his first wife, Mr. Washington had two children, both sons—Lawrence and Augustin. By his second wife, he had five children, four sons and a daughter—George, Samuel, John, Charles, and Elizabeth. Those over delicate ones, who are ready to faint at thought of a second marriage, might do well to remember, that the greatest man that ever lived was the son of this second marriage!

LITTLE George had scarcely attained his fifth year, when his father left Pope's creek, and came up to a plantation which he had in Stafford, opposite to Fredericksburg. The house in which he lived is still to be seen. It lifts its low and modest front of faded red, over the turbid waters of Rappahannock; whither, to this day, numbers of people repair, and, with emotions unutterable, looking at the weather- [10] beaten mansion, exclaim, " Here's the house where the Great Washington was born!"

BUT it is all a mistake; for he was born, as I said, at Pope's creek, in Westmoreland county, near the margin of his own roaring Potomac.

THE first place of education to which George was ever sent, was a little "old field school," kept by one of his father's tenants, named Hobby; an honest, poor old man, who acted in the double character of sexton and schoolmaster. On his skill as a grave-digger, tradition is silent; but for a teacher of youth, his qualifications were certainly of the humbler sort; leaking what is generally called an A. B. C. schoolmaster. Such was the preceptor who first taught Washington the knowledge of letters! Hobby lived to see his young pupil in all his glory, and rejoiced exceedingly. In his cups—for, though a sexton, he would sometimes drink, particularly on the General's birth-days—he used to boast, that "'twas he, who, between his knees, had laid the foundation of George Washington's greatness."

BUT though George was early sent to a schoolmaster, yet he was not on that account neglected by his father. Deeply sensible of the loveliness and worth of which human nature is capable, through the virtues and graces early implanted in the heart, he never for a moment, lost sight of George in those all-important respects.

TO assist his son to overcome that selfish spirit which too often leads children to fret and fight about trifles, was a notable care of Mr. Washington. For this purpose, of all the presents, such as cakes, fruit, &c. he received, he was always desired to give a liberal part to his play-mates. To enable him to do this with more alacrity, his father would remind him of the love which he would hereby gain, and the frequent presents which would in return be made to him; and also would tell of that great and good God, who delights above all things to see children love one [11] another, and will assuredly reward them for acting so amiable a part.

SOME idea of Mr. Washington's plan of education in this respect, may be collected from the following anecdote, related to me twenty years ago by an aged lady, who was a distant relative, and when a girl spent much of her time in the family.

"ON a fine morning" said she, "in the fall of 1737, Mr. Washington, having little George by the hand, came to the door and asked my cousin Washington and myself to walk with him to the orchard, promising he would show us a fine sight. On arriving at the orchard, we were presented with a fine sight indeed. The whole earth, as far as we could see, was strewed with fruit: and yet the trees were bending under the weight of apples, which hung in clusters like grapes, and vainly strove to hide their blushing cheeks behind the green leaves, Now, George, said his father, look here, my son! don't you remember when this good cousin of yours brought you that fine large apple last spring, how hardly I could prevail on you to divide with your brothers and sisters; though I promised you that if you would but do it, God Almighty would give you plenty of apples this fall. Poor George could not say a word; but hanging down his head, looked quite confused, while with his little naked toes he scratched in the soft ground. Now look up, my son, continued his father, look up, George! and see there how richly the blessed God has made good my promise to you. Wherever you turn your eyes, you see the trees loaded with fine fruit; many of them indeed breaking down, while the ground is covered with mellow apples more than you could ever eat, my son, in all your life time"

GEORGE looked in silence on the wide wilderness of fruit; he marked the busy humming bees, and heard the gay notes of birds, then lifting his eyes filled with shining moisture, to his father, he softly said, "Well, Pa, only forgive me this time; see if I ever be so stingy any more."

[12] SOME, when they look up to the oak whose giant arms throw a darkening shade over distant acres, or whose single trunk lays the keel of a man of war, cannot bear to hear of the time when this mighty plant was but an acorn, which a pig could have demolished: but others, who know their value, like to learn the soil and situation which best produces such noble trees. Thus, parents that are wise will listen well pleased, while I relate how moved the steps of the youthful Washington, whose single worth far outweighs all the oaks of Bashan and the red spicy cedars of Lebanon. Yes, they will listen delighted while I tell of their Washington in the days of his youth, when his little feet were swift towards the nests of birds; or when, wearied in the chase of the butterfly, he laid him down on his grassy couch and slept, while ministering spirits, with their roseate wings, fanned his glowing cheeks, and kissed his lips of innocence with that fervent love which makes the Heaven!

NEVER did the wise Ulysses take more pains with his beloved Telemachus, than did Mr. Washington with George, to inspire him with an early love of truth. "Truth, George," (said he) "is the loveliest quality of youth. I would ride fifty miles, my son, to see the little boy whose heart is so honest, and his lips so pure, that we may depend on every word he says. O how lovely does such a child appear in the eyes of every body! His parents doat on him; his relations glory in him; they are constantly praising him to their children, whom they beg to imitate him. They are often sending for him, to visit them; and receive him, when he comes, with as much joy as if he were a little angel, come to set pretty examples to their children.

"BUT, Oh! how different, George, is the case with the boy who is so given to lying, that nobody can believe a word he says! He is looked at with aversion wherever he goes, and parents dread to see him come among their children. Oh, George! my son! rather [13] than sec you come to this pass, dear as you are to my heart, gladly would I assist to nail you up in your little coffin, and follow you to your grave. Hard, indeed, would it be to me to give up my son, whose little feet are always so ready to run about with me, and whose fondly looking eyes and sweet prattle make so large a part of my happiness: but still I would give him up, rather than see him a common liar.

"PA, (said George very seriously) do I ever tell lies?"

"NO, George, I thank God you do not, my son; and I rejoice in the hope you never will. At least, you shall never, from me, have cause to be guilty of so shameful a thing. Many parents, indeed, even compel their children to compel practice, by barbarously beating them for every little fault; hence, on the next offence, the little terrified creature slips out a lie! just to escape the rod. But as to yourself, George, you know I have always told you, and now tell you again, that, whenever by accident you do any thing wrong, which must often be the case, as you are but a poor little boy yet, without experience or knowledge, never tell a falsehood to conceal it; but come bravely up, my son, like a little man, and tell me of it: and instead of beating you, George, I will but the more honour and love you for it, my dear."

THIS, you'll say, was sowing good seed!—Yes, it was: and the crop, thank God! was, as I believe it ever will be, where a man acts the true parent, that is, the Guardian Angel, by his child.

THE following anecdote is a case in point. It is too valuable to be lost, and too true to be doubted; for it was communicated to me by the same excellent lady to whom I am indebted for the last.

"WHEN George," said she, " was about six years old, he was made the wealthy master of a hatchet! of which, like most little boys, he was immoderately [14] fond, and was constantly going about chopping every thing that came in his way. One day, in the garden, where he often amused himself hacking his mother's pea-sticks, he unluckily tried the edge of his hatchet on the body of a beautiful young English cherry-tree, which he barked so terribly, that I don't believe the tree ever got the better of it. The next morning the old gentleman finding out what had befallen his tree, which, by the by, was a great favourite, came into the house, and with much warmth asked for the mischievous author, declaring at the same time, that he would not have taken five guineas for his tree. Nobody could tell him any thing about it. Presently George and his hatchet made their appearance. George, said his father, do you know who killed that beautiful little cherry-tree yonder in the garden? This was a tough question; and George staggered under it for a moment; but quickly recovered himself: and looking at his father, with the sweet face of youth brightened with the inexpressible charm of all-conquering truth, he bravely cried out, "I can't tell a lie, Pa; you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet"—Run to my arms, you dearest boy, cried his father in transports, run to my arms; glad am I, George, that you killed my tree; for you have paid me for it a thousand fold. Such an act of heroism in my son, is more worth than a thousand trees, though blossomed with silver, and their fruits of purest gold.

IT was in this way, by interesting at once both his heart and head, that Mr. Washington conducted George with great ease and pleasure along the happy paths of virtue. But well knowing that his beloved charge, soon to be a man, would be left exposed to numberless temptations, both from himself and from others, his heart throbbed with the tenderest anxiety to make him acquainted with that great being, whom to know and love, is to possess the surest defence against vice, and the best of all motives to virtue and happiness. To startle George in- [15] to a lively sense of his Maker, he fell upon the following very curious but impressive expedient:

ONE day he went into the garden, and prepared a little bed of finely pulverized earth, on which he wrote George's name at full, in large letters—then strewing in plenty of cabbage seed, he covered them up and smoothed all over nicely with the roller. This bed he purposely prepared close along side of a gooseberry walk, which happening at this time to be well hung with ripe fruit, he knew would be honoured with George's visits pretty regularly every day. Not many mornings had passed away before in came George, with eyes wild rolling, and his little cheeks ready to burst with great news.

" O Pa! come here! come here!"

"WHAT'S the matter, my son, what's the matter?"

"O come here, I tell you, Pa, come here! and I'll show you such a sight as you; never saw in all your life time."

THE old gentleman suspecting what George would be at, gave him his hand, which he seized with great eagerness, and tugging him along through the garden, led him up point blank to the bed whereon was inscribed, in large letters, and in all the freshness of newly sprung plants, the full name of


"THERE, Pa!" said George, quite in an ecstasy of astonishment, "did you ever see such a sight in all your life time?"

"WHY it seems like a curious affair- sure enough, George!"

"BUT, Pa, who did make it there, who did make it there?"

"IT grew there by chance, I suppose my son."

"BYchance, Pa! O no! no! it never did grow there by chance, Pa; indeed that it never did!"

"HIGH! why not, my son?"

"WHY, Pa, did you ever see any body's name in plant bed before?"

[16] "WELL, but George, such a thing might happen, though you never saw it before!"

"YES, Pa, but I did never see the little plants grow up so as to make one single letter of my name before. Now, how could they grow up so as to make all the letters of my name! and then standing one after another, to spell my name so exactly!—and all so neat and even too, at top and bottom!! O Pa, you must not say chance did all this. Indeed somebody did it; and I dare say now, Pa, you did do it just to scare me, because I am your little boy."

HIS father smiled, and said, " Well George, you have guessed right—I indeed did it; but not to scare you, my son; but to learn you a great thing which I wish you to understand. I want, my son, to introduce you to your true Father."

"HIGH, Pa, an't you my true father, that has loved me, and been so good to me always?"

"YES, George, I am your father as the world calls it: and I love you very dearly too. But yet with all my love for you, George, I am but a poor good-for-nothing sort of a father in comparison of one you have."

"AYE! I know, well enough whom you mean, Pa. You mean God Almighty, don't you?"

"YES, my son, I mean him indeed. He is your true Father, George."

"BUT, Pa, where is God Almighty? I did never see him yet."

"TRUE, my son; but though you never saw him, yet he is always with you. You did not see me when ten days ago I made this little plant bed, where you see your name in such beautiful green letters; but though you did not see me here, yet you know I was here!!"

"YES, Pa, that I do—I know you was here."

"WELL then, and as my son could not believe that chance had made and put together so exactly the letters of his name, (though only sixteen) then how can he believe that chance could have made and [17] put together all those millions and millions of things that are now so exactly fitted to his good? That my son may look at every thing around him, see! what fine eyes he has got! and a little pug nose to smell the sweet flowers! and pretty ears to hear sweet sounds! and a lovely mouth for his bread and butter! and O, the little ivory teeth to cut it for him! and the clear little tongue to prattle with his father! and precious little hands and fingers to hold his playthings! and beautiful little feet for him to run about upon! and when my little rogue of a son is tired with running about, then the still night comes for him to lie down, and his mother sings, and the little crickets chirp him to sleep! and as soon as he has slept enough, and jumps up fresh and strong as a little buck, there the sweet golden light is ready for him! When he looks down into the water, there he sees the beautiful silver fishes for him! and up in the trees there are the apples, and peaches, and thousands of sweet fruits for him! and all, all around him, wherever my dear boy looks, he sees every thing just to his wants and wishes;—the bubbling springs with cool sweet water for him to drink! and the wood to make him sparkling fires when he is cold! and beautiful horses for him to ride! and strong oxen to work for him! and the good cows to give him milk! and bees to make sweet honey for his sweeter mouth! and the little lambs, with snowy wool, for beautiful clothes for him! Now, these and all the ten thousand thousand other good things more than my son can ever think of, and all so exactly fitted to his use and delight . . . Now how could chance ever have done all this for my little son? Oh George! . . .

HE would have gone on, but George, who had hung upon his father's words with looks and eyes of all-devouring attention, here broke out—

"OH Pa, that's enough! that's enough! It can't be chance, indeed, it can't be chance, that made and gave me all these things."

[18] "WHAT was it then, do you think, my son?"

"INEDDE, Pa, I don't know, unless it was God Almighty!"

"YES, George, he it was, my son, and nobody else."

"WELL, but Pa, (continued George) does God Almighty give me every thing? Don't you give me some things, Pa?"

"I GIVE you something, indeed! Oh! how can I give you any thing, George! I, who have nothing on earth that I can call my own, no, not even the breath I draw!"

"HIGH, Pa! isn't that great big house your house, and this garden, and the horses yonder, and oxen, and sheep, and trees, and every thing, isn't all yours, Pa?"

"OH no! my son! no! Why you make me shrink into nothing, George, when you talk of all these belonging to me, who can't even make a grain of sand! Oh, how could I, my son, have given life to those great oxen and horses, when I can't give life even to a fly?—no! for if the poorest fly were killed, it is not your father, George, nor all the men in the world, that could ever make him alive again!"

AT this, George fell into a profound silence, while his pensive looks showed that his youthful soul was labouring with some idea never felt before. Perhaps it was at that moment, that the good Spirit of God ingrafted on his heart that germ of piety, which filled his after life with so many of the precious fruits of morality.


George's father dies—his education continued by his mother—his behaviour under school-master Williams.

THUS pleasantly, on wings of down, passed away the few short years of little George's and his father's earthly acquaintance. Sweetly ruled by the sceptre of reason, George almost adored his father; and thus sweetly obeyed with all the cheerfulness of love, his father doated on George....And though very different in their years, yet parental and filial love rendered them so mutually dear, that the old gentleman was often heard to regret, that the school took his little companion so much from him—while George, on the other hand, would often quit his playmates to run home and converse with his more beloved father.

BUT George was not long to enjoy the pleasure or the profit of such a companion; for scarcely had he attained his tenth year, before his father was seized with the gout in the stomach, which carried him off in a few days. George was not at home when his father was taken ill. He was on a visit to some of his cousins in Chotank, about twenty miles off; and his Father, unwilling to interrupt his pleasures, for it was but seldom that he visited, would not at first allow him to be sent for. But finding that he was going very fast, he begged that they would send for him in all haste...he often asked if he was come, and said how happy he should be, once more to see his little son, and give him his blessing before he died. But alas! he never enjoyed that last mournful pleasure; for George did not reach home until a few hours before his father's death, and then he was speechless! The moment he alighted, he ran into the chamber where he lay. But oh! what were his [20] feelings when he saw the sad change that had passed upon him! when he beheld those eyes, late so bright and fond, now reft of all their lustre, faintly looking on him from their hollow sockets, and through swelling tears, in mute but melting language, bidding him a last, last farewell! Rushing with sobs and cries, he fell upon his father's neck...he kissed him a thousand and a thousand times, and bathed his clay-cold face with scalding tears.

O HAPPIEST YOUTH! Happiest in that love, which thus, to its enamoured soul strained an aged an expiring sire. O! worthiest to be the founder of a just and equal government, lasting as thy own deathless name! And O! happiest old man! thus luxuriously expiring in the arms of such a child! O! well requited for teaching him that love of his god (the only fountain of every virtuous love) in return for which he gave thee ('twas all he had) himself—his fondest company—his sweetest looks and prattle. He now gives thee his little strong embraces, with artless sighs and tears; faithful to thee still, his feet will follow thee to thy grave: and when thy beloved corse is let down to the stones of the pit, with streaming eyes he will rush to the brink, to take one more look, while his bursting heart will give thee its last trembling cry...O my father! my father!

BUT, though he had lost his best of friends, yet he never lost those divine sentiments which that friend had so carefully inculcated. On the contrary, interwoven with the fibres of his heart, they seemed to "grow with his growth, and to strengthen with his strength." The memory of his father, often bathed with a tear—the memory of his father now sleeping in his grave, was felt to impose a more sacred obligation to do what, 'twas known, would rejoice his departed shade. This was very happily displayed, in every part of his deportment, from the moment of his earliest intercourse with mankind.

[21] Soon after the death of his father, his mother sent him down to Westmoreland, the place of his nativity, where he lived with his half-brother Augustin, and went to school to a Mr. Williams, an excellent teacher in that neighbourhood. He carried with him his virtues, his zeal for unblemished character, his love of truth, and detestation of whatever was false and base. A gilt chariot with richest robes and liveried servants, could not half so substantially have befriended him; for in a very short time, so completely had his virtues secured the love and confidence of the boys, his word was just as current among them as a law. A very aged gentleman, formerly a school-mate of his, has often assured me, (while pleasing recollection brightened his furrowed cheeks,) that nothing was more common, when the boys were in high dispute about a question of fact, than for some little shaver among the mimic heroes, to call out "well boys! George Washington was there; George Washington was there; he knows all about it; and if he don't say it was so, then we will give it up,"—"done" said the adverse party. Then away they would trot to hunt for George. Soon as his verdict was heard, the party favoured would begin to crow, and then all hands would return to play again.

ABOUT five years after the death of his father, he quitted school for ever, leaving the boys in tears for his departure: for he had ever lived among them, in the spirit of a brother. He was never guilty of so brutish a practice as that of fighting them himself, nor would he, when able to prevent it, allow them to fight one another. If he could not disarm their savage passions by his arguments, he would instantly go to the master, and inform him of their barbarous intentions.

"THE boys," said the same good old gentleman, "were often angry with George for this''—But he used to say, "angry or not angry, you shall never, boys, have my consent to a practice so shocking! shocking even in slaves and dogs; then how utterly [22] scandalous in little boys at school, who ought to look on one another as brothers. And what must be the feelings of our tender parents, when, instead of seeing us come home smiling and lovely, as the joys of their hearts! they see us creeping in like young blackguards, with our heads bound up, black eyes, and bloody clothes! And what is all this for? Why, that we may get praise!! But the truth is, a quarrelsome boy was never sincerely praised! Big boys, of the vulgar sort, indeed may praise him; but it is only as they would a silly game cock, that fights for their pastime—and the little boys are sure to praise him, but it is only as they would a bull dog—to keep him from tearing them!!"

SOME of his historians have said, and many believe, that Washington was a Latin scholar! But 'tis an error. He never learned a syllable of Latin. His second and last teacher, Mr. Williams, was indeed a capital hand—but not at Latin; for of that he understood perhaps as little as Balaam's ass—but at readings spelling, English grammar, arithmetic, surveying, bookkeeping and geography, he was indeed famous. And in these useful arts, 'tis said, he often boasted that he had made young George Washington as great a scholar as himself.

BORN to be a soldier, Washington early discovered symptoms of nature's intentions towards him. In his 11th year, while at school under old Mr. Hobby, he used to divide his play-mates into two parties, or armies. One of these, for distinction sake, was called French, the other American. A big boy at the school, named William Bustle, commanded the former, George commanded the latter. And every day, at play-time, with corn-stalks for muskets, and calabashes for drums, the two armies would turn out, and march, and counter-march, and file off or fight their mimic battles, with great fury. This was fine sport for George, whose passion for active exercise was so strong, that at play-time no weather could keep him within doors. His fair cousins, who [23] visited at his mother's, used to complain, that "George was not fond of their company, like other boys; but soon as he had got his task, would run out to play." But such trifling play as marbles and tops he could never abide. They did not afford him exercise enough. His delight was in that of the manliest sort, which, by stringing the limbs and swelling the muscles, promotes the kindliest flow of blood and spirits. At jumping with a long pole, or heaving heavy weights, for his years he hardly had an equal. And as to running, the swift-footed Achilles could scarcely have matched his speed.

EGAD! he ran wonderfully," said my amiable and aged friend, John Fitzhugh, esq. who knew him well. "We had nobody here-abouts, that could come near him. There was young Langhorn Dade, of Westmoreland, a confounded clean made, tight young fellow, and a mighty swift runner too....but then he was no match for George: Langy, indeed, did not like to give it up; and would brag that he had sometime brought George to a tie. But I believe he was mistaken: for I have seen them run together many a time; and George always beat him easy enough."

Col. Lewis Willis, his play-mate and kinsman, has been heard to say, that he has often seen him throw a stone across Rappahannock, at the lower ferry of Fredericksburg. It would be no easy matter to find a man, now-a-days, who could do it.

INDEED, his father before him was a man of extraordinary strength. His gun, which to this day is called Washington's fowling-piece, and now the property of Mr. Harry Fitzhugh, of Chotank, is of such enormous weight, that not one man in a hundred can fire it without a rest. And yet throughout that country it is said, that he made nothing of holding it off at arms-length, and blazing away at the swans on Potomac; of which he has been known to kill rank and file, seven or eight at a shot.

BUT to return to George...It appears that from the start he was a boy of an uncommonly warm and [24] noble heart; insomuch that Lawrence, though but his half-brother, took such a liking to him, even above his own brother Augustin, that he would always have George with him when he could get him; and often pressed him to come and live with him. But, as if led by some secret impulse, George declined the offer, and went up, as we have seen, to work, in the back-woods, as Lord Fairfax's surveyor! However, when Lawrence was taken with the consumption, and advised by his physicians to make a trip to Bermuda, George could not resist any longer, but hastened down to his brother at Mount Vernon, and went with him to Bermuda. It was at Bermuda that George took the small-pox, which marked him rather agreeably than otherwise. Lawrence never recovered, but returned to Virginia, where he died just after his brother George had fought his hard battle against the French and Indians, at Fort Necessity, as the reader will presently learn.

LAWRENCE did not live to see George after that; but he lived to hear of his fame; for as the French and Indians were at that time a great public terror, the people could not help being very loud in their praise of a youth, who with so slender a force had dared to meet them in their own country, and had given them such a check.

AND when Lawrence heard of his favourite young brother, that he had fought so gallantly for his country, and that the whole land was filled with his praise, he wept for joy. And such is the victory of love over nature, that though fast sinking under the fever and cough of a consumption in its extreme stage, he did not seem to mind it, but spent his last moments in fondly talking of his brother George, who, he said, "he had always believed, would one day or other be a great man!"

ON opening his will, it was found that George had lost nothing by his dutiful and affectionate behaviour to his brother Lawrence. For having now no issue, (his only child, a little daughter, lately dying) he left [25] to George all his rich lands in Berkley, together with his great estate on Potomac, called Mount Vernon, in honour of old Admiral Vernon, by whom he had been treated with great politeness, while a volunteer with him at the unfortunate siege of Carthagena, in 1741.


George leaves school—is appointed a private surveyor to Lord Fairfax, of the Northern Neck—wishes to enter on board of a British man of war— providentially prevented by his mother—the first lightnings of his soul to war.

HAPPILY for America, George Washington was not born with "a silver spoon in his mouth." The Rappahanock plantation left him by his father, was only in reversion—and his mother was still in her prime. Seeing then no chance of ever rising in the world but by his own merit, on leaving school he went up to Fairfax to see his brother Lawrence; with whom he found Mr. William Fairfax, one of the governor's council, who was come up on a visit to his sister, whom Lawrence had married. The counsellor presently took a great liking to George, and hearing him express a wish to get employment as a surveyor, introduced him to his relative, Lord Fairfax, the wealthy proprietor of all those lands generally called the Northern Neck, lying between the Potomac and Rappahanock, and extending from Smith's Point, on the Chesapeake, to the foot of the Great Allegheny. At the instance of the counsellor, Lord Fairfax readily engaged George as a survey- [26] or, and sent him up into the back-woods to work. He continued in his lordship's service till his 20th year, closely pursuing the laborious life of a woodsman.

FROM the manner in which Washington used to amuse his leisure hours during this period, one is almost inclined to think, that he had a presentiment of the great labours that lay before him. While in Frederick, which at that time was very large, containing the counties now called Berkley, Jefferson, and Shenandoah, he boarded in the house of the widow Stevenson, generally pronounced Stinson. This lady had seven sons—William and Valentine Crawford, by her first husband; and John, and Hugh, and Dick, and Jim, and Mark Stinson, by her last husband. These seven young men, in Herculean size and strength, were equal, perhaps, to any seven sons of any one mother in Christendom. This was a family exactly to George's mind, because promising him an abundance of that manly exercise in which he delighted. In front of the house lay a fine extended green, with a square of several hundred yards. Here it was every evening, when his daily toils of surveying were ended, that George, like a young Greek training for the Olympic games, used to turn out with his sturdy young companions, "to see" as they termed it, "which was the best man" at running, jumping, and wrestling. And so keen was their passion for these sports, and so great their ambition to out-do one another, that they would often keep them up, especially on moon-shining nights, till bed-time. The Crawfords and Stinsons, though not taller than George, were much heavier men; so that at wrestling and particularly at the close or Indian hug, he seldom gained much matter of triumph. But in all trials of agility, they stood no chance with him!

FROM these Frederick county gymnastics or exercises, there followed an effect which shows the very wide difference between participating in innocent and guilty pleasures. While companions in raking [27] and gambling, heartily despise and hate one another, and, when they meet in the streets, pass each other, with looks cold and shy as sheep-thieving curs—these virtuous young men, by spending their evenings together in innocent and manly exercises, contracted a friendship which lasted for life. When George, twenty-five years after this, was called to lead the American armies, he did not forget his old friends, the Stinsons and Crawfords, but gave commissions to all of them who chose to join his army; which several of them did. William Crawford, the eldest of them, and as brave a man as ever shouldered a musket, was advanced as high as the rank of colonel, when he was burnt to death by the Indians at Sandusky. And equally cordial was the love of these young, men towards George, of whom they always spoke as of a brother. Indeed, Hugh Stinson, the second brother, who had a way of snapping his eyes when he talked of any thing that greatly pleased him, used to brighten up at the name of Washington, and would tell his friends, that "he and his brother John had often laid the conqueror of England on his back" But, at the same time, would agree, that "in running and jumping they were no match for him."

SUCH was the way in which George spent his leisure hours in the service of Lord Fairfax. Little did the old nobleman expect that he was educating a youth, who should one day dismember the British empire, and break his own heart—which truly came to pass. For on hearing that Washington had captured Cornwallis and all his army, he called out to his black waiter, "Come, Joe! carry me to my bed! 'tis high time for me to die!"

Then up rose Joe, all at the word,
And took his master's arm,
And to his bed he softly led,
The lord of Green-way farm.

[28] There oft he call'd on Britain's name,
"And oft he wept full sore."—
Then sigh'd—thy will, O Lord, be done—
"And word spake never more."

IT was in his 15th year, according to the best of my information, that Washington first felt the kindlings of his soul for war. The cause was this—In those days, the people of Virginia looked on Great Britain as the mother country, and to go thither was in common phrase, "to go home." The name of old England was music in their ears: and the bare mention of a blow meditated against her, never failed to rouse a something at the heart, which instantly flamed on the cheek and flashed in the eye. Washington had his full share of these virtuous feelings: on hearing, therefore, that France and Spain were mustering a black cloud over his mother country, his youthful blood took fire, and he instantly tendered what aid his little arm could afford. The rank of midshipman was procured for him on board a British ship of war, then lying in our waters, and his trunk and clothes were actually sent on board. But when he came to take leave of his mother, she wept bitterly, and told him she felt that her heart would break if he left her. George immediately got his trunk ashore! as he could not, for a moment, bear the idea of inflicting a wound on that dear life which had so long and so fondly sustained his own.

WHERE George got his great military talents, is a question which none but the happy believers in a particular Providence can solve: certain it is, his earthly parents had no hand in it. For of his father, tradition says nothing, save that he was a most amiable old gentleman; one who made good crops, and scorned to give his name to the quill-drivers of a counting room. And as to his mother, it is well known that she was none of Bellona's fiery race. For as some of the Virginia officers, just after the splendid actions of Trenton and Princeton, was compliment- [29] ing her on the generalship and rising glory of her son, instead of showing the exultation of a Spartan dame, she replied, with all the sang froid of a good old Friend, "Ah, dear me! This fighting and killing is a sad thing! I wish George would come home and look after his plantation!!"

NOR does it appear that nature had mixed much of gunpowder in the composition of any of his brothers: for when one of them, in the time of Braddock's war, wrote him a letter, signifying something like a wish to enter into the service; George, it is said, gave him this short reply, "Brother, stay at home, and comfort your wife."

BUT though not destined to figure on the quarterdeck of a man of war, yet he ceased not to cultivate that talent which had been given for higher uses. From adjutant Muse, a Westmoreland volunteer, who had gained much credit in the war of Cuba, whence he had lately returned with Lawrence Washington, he learnt to go through the manual exercise with great dexterity; and by the help of good treatises on the art of war, which were put into his hands, by the same gentleman, he soon acquired very clear ideas of the evolutions and movements of troops. And from Mons. Vanbraam, who afterwards accompanied him as interpreter to Venango, he acquired the art of fencing, at which, 'tis said, he was extremely expert. A passion, so uncommon for war, joined to a very manly appearance, and great dignity of character, could scarcely fail to attract on him the attention of the public. In fact the public sentiment was so strong in his favour, that at the green age of nineteen, he was appointed major and adjutant general of the Virginia forces, in the Northern Neck, when training, as was expected, for immediate service.

FOR his services as an adjutant general, he was allowed by the crown 100l. sterling per annum.


French encroachments on the Ohio—Washington volunteers his services to governor Dinwiddie—his hazardous embassy to the French and Indians—miraculous escapes—account of his journal—anecdote of his modesty.

IN the year 1753 the people of Virginia were alarmed by a report that the French, aided by the Indians, were erecting a long line of military posts on the Ohio. This manœuvre, predicting no good to the ANCIENT DOMINION, was properly resented by Robert Dinwiddie, the governor, who wished immediately in the name of his king to forbid the measure. But how to convey a letter to the French commandant on the Ohio, was the question. For the whole country west of the Blue Mountains, was one immeasurable forest, from time immemorial the gloomy haunts of ravening beasts and of murderous savages. No voices had ever broke the awful silence of those dreary woods, save the hiss of rattlesnakes, the shrieks of panthers, the yells of Indians, and howling tempests. From such scenes, though beheld but by the distant eye of fancy, the hearts of youth are apt to shrink with terror, and to crouch more closely to their safer fire-sides. But in the firmer nerves of Washington, they do not appear to have made the least impression of the agueish sort. The moment he heard of the governor's wishes, he waited on him with—a tender of his services.

"Now Christ save my saoul, but ye7re a braw lad!" said the good old Scotsman . . . "and gin ye play your cards well, my boy, ye shall hae nae cause to rue your bargain." The governor took him to his palace that night, which was spent in preparing his letters and instructions. The next day, accompanied by an interpreter and a couple of servants, he set out [31] on his journey, which being in the depth of winter, was as disagreeable and dangerous as Hercules himself could have desired. Drenching rains and drowning floods, and snow-covered mountains opposed his course, but opposed in vain. The generous ambition to serve his country, and to distinguish himself, carried him through all, and even at the most trying times, touched his heart with a joy unknown to the VAIN and TRIFLING. On his way home he was way-laid and shot at by an Indian, who, though not fifteen paces distant, happily missed his aim. The poor wretch was made prisoner; but Washington could not find in his heart to put him to death, though his own safety seemed to require the sacrifice. The next evening, in attempting to cross a river on a raft, he was within an ace of being drowned, and, the night following, of perishing in the ice: but from both these imminent deadly risks, there was a hand unseen that effected his escape.

ABOUT the middle of January he got back to Williamsburgh, and instantly waiting on the governor, presented him the fruits of his labours—the belts of wampum which he had brought from the Indian kings as pledges of their friendship—the French governor's letters—and last of all, his journal of the expedition. This it seems he had drawn up as a tub for the whale, that he might be spared the pain of much talking about himself and his adventures. For, like the king of Morven, "though mighty deeds rolled from his soul of fire, yet his words were never heard." The governor was much pleased with the Indian belts—more with the Frenchman's letter—but most of all with Washington's journal, which he proposed to have printed immediately. Washington begged hard that his excellency would spare him the mortification of seeing his journal sent out into the world in so mean a dress. He urged, that having been written in a wintry wilderness, by a traveller, young, illiterate, and often cold, wet, and weary, it needed a thousand amendments. "Hoot awa, Major? replied his excel- [32] lency, "hoot awa, mon, what tauk ye aboot amendments; I am sure the pamphlet need na blush to be seen by his majesty himsel—and in good troth I mean to send him a copy or twa of it. And besides, our Assembly will rise to-morrow or next day, and I wish each of the members to take a few copies home with them. So we must e'en straight-way print the journal off hand as it is."

The journal, of course, was immediately printed. Every eye perused it, and every tongue was loud in its praise. Indeed it was not easy to err on the side of excess; for whoever with candour reads the journal, will readily pronounce it an unique in the history of juvenile productions. It discovers that vigor, and variety of talents, which take up, as it were, intuitively, the views belonging to any new subject that presents itself. It is the hasty production of a young man, born in the retreats of deepest solitude, in a time of profoundest peace, and brought up to the simple harmless employment of a surveyor, an employment which, more than any other, tends to tranquillize the mind. The verdure and music of the love-breathing spring; the bright fields and harvests of joy-inspiring summer, the faded leaves and mournful silence of autumn, with winter's solemn grandeur, were the scenes in which the youth of Washington was passed. In these he hears the roar of distant war—from these he is sent forth to mark the gathering storm. Instantly he breathes the whole spirit of his new engagement—"Old things are done away, all things are become new"—the chain and theodolite are forgotten—the surveyor is lost in the soldier—his shoulders are young, but they sustain the head of an old engineer—he marks the soil, the limber, the confluence of rivers, the sites for forts; in short, nothing connected with the defence of his country, escapes him. He penetrates the characters of the different people around him—the low sensuality of the Indian, ready, for a dram, to lift the tomahawk; the polished subtleties of the European, who can "smile and smile" and [33] yet design the death of the traveller—these important truths present themselves intuitively to his mind, and shine with such lustre on the pages of his journal, as to command the admiration of every unprejudiced reader.

AMONG the gentlemen in Williamsburg, who had sense and virtue enough to appreciate the worth of Washington, one of the first was a Mr. Waller.—This gentleman, conversing on that subject with Mr. Robertson, speaker of the house of Burgesses, observed, that such services as those rendered by Major Washington, were much too important to be paid off by the light coin of common parlour puffs. "This young man" said he, "has deserved well of his country; and her Representatives in Assembly ought to acknowledge the obligation" —"That's exactly my own opinion," replied Robertson, "and if you will let me know when the major next visits us, I will make a motion to that effect."

THE next day, Washington, not having even dreamt of the honor intended him, entered the house, and going up stairs took his seat in the gallery. The eagle-eyed friendship of Mr. Waller quickly discovered him; and stepping to the chair, whispered it to Mr. Robertson, who instantly arose, and ordering silence, called out, "Gentlemen, it is proposed, that the thanks of this HOUSE be given to Major Washington, who now sits in the gallery, for the very gallant manner in which he executed the important trust lately reposed in him by his excellency governor Dinwiddie." In a moment, the house rose as one man, and turning towards Washington, saluted him with a general bow, and in very flattering terms expressed their high sense of his services.—Had an earthquake shaken the capitol to the centre, it could hardly have so completely confounded the major. He rose to make his acknowledgments, but, alas! his tongue had forgotten his office. Thrice he essayed to speak, but thrice, in spite of every effort, his utterance failed him, save faintly to articulate, [34] "Mr. Speaker! Mr. Speaker!" To relieve him from his embarrassment, Mr. Robertson kindly called out, "Major Washington, Major Washington, sit down: your modesty alone is equal to your merit."


The French and Indian war begins—Washington goes forth to meet the dangers of his country—aims a blow at fort Du Quesne—fails—gallant defence of Fort Necessity—retires from the service in disgust —pressed into it again by General Braddock—defeat and death of Braddock, and dreadful slaughter of his army.

"WELL, WHAT IS TO COME, WILL COME!" said poor Paddy, when going to the gallows. Even so was come, as would seem, the time that was to come for "kings to ko forth, to battle." The truth is, numbers of poor tax-ground, and thence uneducated and half starved wretches in Britain and France, were become diseased with a moral cachexy or surcharge of bad humours, such as gambling, swindling, horse stealing, highway-robbing, &c. which nothing but the saturnine pills and steel points of Mars could effectually carry off. Thus in all corrupted governments war is considered as a necessary evil. It was no doubt necessary then.

SUCH was the remote cause—the proximate history or how the dance began, we now proceed to relate.

WE have just seen that the French, pouring down from the lakes of Canada, thick as autumnal geese, were dashing away on the Ohio, at an alarming rate—multiplying forts—holding talks—and strengthening their alliances with the Indians. And [35] we have seen that Washington, with letters from governor Dinwiddie, had been out among the PARLEZVOUS, conjuring them by every thing venerable in treaties, or valuable in peace, to desist from such unwarrantable measures. But all to no purpose . . . for the French commandant, smiling at Washington as a green horn, and at Dinwiddie as an old fool, continued his operations as vigorously as though he knew not that the country in question made a part of the British empire.

SWIFT as the broad-winged packets could fly across the deep, the news was carried to England.—Its effect there was like that of a stone rudely hurled against a nest of hornets. Instantly, from centre to circumference, all is rage and bustle . . . the hive resounds with the maddening insects; dark tumbling from their cells they spread the hasty wing, and shrill whizzing through the air, they rush to find the foe. Just so in the sea-ruling island, from queens-house to ale-house, from king to cockney, all were fierce for fight. Even the red-nosed porters where they met, bending under their burdens, would stop, full-but in the streets, to talk of ENGLAND's wrongs; and, as they talked, their fiery snouts were seen to grow more fiery still, and more deformed. Then throwing their packs to the ground, and leaping into the attitude of boxers, with sturdy arms across, and rough black jaws stretched out, they bend forward to the fancied fight! The frog-eating foe, in shirtless ruffles and long lank queue, seems to give ground! then rising in their might, with fire striking eyes they press hard upon him, and coming, in hand and foot, with kick and cuff and many a hearty curse, they, shew the GIGGLING CROWD, how, damn 'em! they would thump the French.

THE news was brought to Britain's king just as he had dispatched his pudding; and sat, right royally amusing himself with a slice of Gloucester and a nip of ale. From the lips of the king down fell the luckless cheese, alas! not grac'd to comfort the sto- [36] mach of the Lord's anointed; while, crowned with snowy foam, his nut-brown ale stood untasted beside his plate. Suddenly as he heard the news, the monarch darkened in his place: and answering darkness shrouded all his court.

IN silence he rolled his eyes of fire on the floor, and twirled his terrible thumbs! his pages shrunk from his presence; for who could stand before the king of thundering ships, when wrath, in gleams of lightning, flashed from his "dark red eyes?" Starting at length, as from a trance, he swallowed his ale: then clenching his fist, he gave the table a tremendous knock, and cursed the wooden-shoed nation by his God! Swift as he cursed, the dogs of war bounded from their kennels, keen for the chase: and, snuffing the blood of Frenchmen on every gale, they raised a howl of death which reached these peaceful shores. Orders were immediately issued, by the British government, for the colonies to arm and unite in one confederacy. Virginia took the lead; and raised a regiment, to the second command in which she raised her favourite Washington. Colonel Fry, by right of seniority, commanded but on his death, which happened soon after his appointment, Washington succeeded to the command.—With this little handful, he bravely pushed out into the wilderness, in quest of the enemy; and at a place called the Little Meadows, came up with a party under one Jumonville. This officer was killed, and all his men taken prisoners.

FROM these prisoners, he obtained undoubted intelligence, that the French troops on the Ohio, consisted of upwards of a thousand regulars, and many hundreds of Indians. But notwithstanding this disheartening intelligence, he still pressed on undauntedly against the enemy, and, at a place called the Great Meadows, built a fort, which he called Fort Necessity.

[37] SOON as the lines of the entrenchments were marked off, and the men about to fall to work, Washington seizing the hand of the first that was lifting the spade, cried out "Stop, my brave fellow! my hand must heave the first earth that is thrown up in defence of this country!"

LEAVING a small garrison behind him, he dashed on for Fort Duquesne, (Fort Pitt,) hoping by the reduction of that important post, to strike terror into the enemy, and defeat their plans. But though this was a bold stroke of generalship, yet it appeared that he had not a force sufficient to effect it. For in the midst of this day's march, he was met by a party of friendly Indians, who, running up to him, with looks and gestures greatly agitated, cried out: "Fly! fly! don't look behind you! your enemies are upon you, thick as the pigeons in the woods!"

WASHINGTON called a council of his officers, who advised an immediate return to Fort Necessity, which they hardly recovered, before their centinels fired an alarm; came running in; and stated, that the woods were alive with Frenchmen and Indians!—It should have been observed, that the dreadful news of the day before, had produced so shameful a desertion among his troops, in the course of the night, that, when the enemy attacked, which they did with 1500 men, Washington had but 300 to stand by him. But never did the true Virginia valour shine more gloriously than on this trying occasion—to see 300 young fellows—commanded by a smooth-faced boy—all unaccustomed to the terrors of war—far from home—and from all hope of help—shut up in a dreary wilderness—and surrounded by five times their number of savage foes, yet without sign of fear, preparing for mortal combat! Scarcely since the days of Leonidas and his three hundred deathless Spartans, had the sun beheld its equal. With hideous whoops and yells, the enemy came on like a host of tigers. The woods and round tall tree-tops, filled with Indians, [38] were in one continued blaze and crash of fire-arms. Nor were our young warriors idle; but, animated by their youthful commander, plied their rifles with such spirit, that the little fort resembled a volcano in full blast, roaring and discharging thick sheets of liquid fire and of leaden deaths among their foes. For nine, glorious hours, salamander-like, enveloped in smoke and flames, they sustained the attack of the enemy's whole force, and laid two hundred of them dead on the spot! Discouraged by such desperate resistance, the French general, the Count de Villiers, sent in a flag to Washington, highly extolling his gallantry, and offering him the most honourable terms. It was stipulated, that Washington and his little band of heroes, should march away with all the honours of war, and carry with them their military stores and baggage.

ON their return to the bosom of their country, they were every where received with the praises which they had so well deserved. The Legislature voted the thanks of the Nation to Washington and his officers; with a pistole a-piece to each of his men, about 300.

IN the course of the following winter, notice was given from the mother country, that American officers, acting with the British, should bear no command!! Hence the poorest should, if wearing the proud epaulette of a Briton, might command a Wolfe, if so unlucky as to be an American!!! Incensed at such an outrage on common justice, and the rights of his countrymen, Washington threw up his commission, and retired to his plantation, Mount Vernon, lately left him by his brother Lawrence.—Here, Cincinnatus-like, he betook him to his favourite plough;—but the season called for the sword;—and he was now risen too high to be overlooked in times like those when troubles, and fears began to darken over all the land.

THE report of his gallant but unsuccessful struggle with the "French and Indians, soon reached Eng- [39] land: and the ministry, thinking the colonies alone too weak to drive the enemy, hurried on General Braddock, with two heavy regiments, to their aid. This reinforcement arrived early in the spring of '55. Leaving them at the Capes on their way up to Belle-haven, (now ALEXANDRIA,) Braddock called at Williamsburg, to see Governor Dinwiddie, who attended him to Alexandria.

"WHERE is Colonel Washington?" said General Braddock; "I long to see him."

"HE is retired from the service, Sir" replied the Governor.

"RETIRED! Sir!" continued the General, "Colonel Washington retired! pray, Sir, what's the reason?"

ON hearing the cause, he broke into a passion against the order from the war-office, as a shameful piece of partiality—extolled Colonel Washington as "a young man of sense and spirit, who knew and asserted his rights as became a soldier and a British subject."

HE then wrote to Washington, whom he pressingly invited to join his army, and accept the rank of a volunteer aid-de-camp, in his own family. This invitation was cheerfully accepted by our young countryman, who waited on General Braddock soon as he heard of his arrival at Alexandria. About the same time, three companies of excellent Virginia marksmen, raised by order of the Legislature, arrived at the British camp.

IT was in the month of June 1755, that the army, upwards of 2000 strong, left Alexandria, and with their faces to the west, began their march to the mournful ditty of "over the hills and far away." On the route, Washington was taken sick; and by the time they had reached the Little Meadows, had become so very ill, that Braddock, at the instance of the physicians, insisted most peremptorily that he should lie by until Colonel Dunbar with the rear of the army came up. With great reluctance he yielded to [40] their wishes: but so great were his fears for the army, lest in those wild, woods it should fall into some Indian snare, that the moment his fever left him, he got placed on his horse, and pursued, and overtook them the very evening before they fell into that ambuscade which he had all along dreaded. For the next morning, the 9th of July, when they were safely arrived within seven miles of Fort Duquesne! and so confident of success, that their general swore he would that night sup either in Fort Duquesne or in hell, behold, the Virginia Rangers discovered signs of the Indians!

HERE Washington, with his usual modesty, observed to General Braddock what sort of an enemy he had now to deal with—an enemy who would not, like the Europeans, come forward to a fair contest in the field, but, concealed behind the rocks and trees, carry on a deadly warfare with their rifles. He concluded with these words, "I beg of your excellency the honor to allow me to lead on with the Virginia Riflemen, and fight them in their own way."

HAD it been decreed that this hapless army should have been saved, this was the counsel to have done it. But it would seem, alas! that Heaven had ordained their fall in that distant land; and there with their flesh to fatten the wolves and vultures on the hills of Monongahela. For General Braddock, who had all along treated the American officers with infinite contempt, rejected Washington's counsel, and swelling with most unmanly rage, replied, "High times, by G—d! High times! when a young Buckskin can teach a British General how to fight!" Instantly the pale, fever-worn cheeks of Washington turned fiery red—but smothering his feelings, he rode towards his men, biting his lip with grief and rage, to think how many brave fellows would draw short breath that day through the pride and obstinacy of one epauletted madman. Formed in heavy columns the troops continued to advance. A little beyond the Monongahela, was a narrow defile, through which lay their road, with moss-grown rocks on either [41] side, and aged trees that spread an awful shade. Here, in perfect concealment, the French and Indians lay, waiting impatiently for this devoted army. Too soon, alas! the army came up, and entering the defile, moved along in silence, like sheep to the slaughter, little dreaming how close the bloody fates hovered around them. Thinking their prey now completely in their clutches, all at once, the Indians put up the most hideous yells, as if the woods were, filled with ten thousand panthers. This they did, both as a terror to the British, and a signal to attack; for in the same moment they poured in a general fire, which instantly covered the ground with death in every hideous shape. Some were seen sinking, pale and lifeless at once, giving up the ghost with only a hollow groan—others rolling on the earth, convulsed and shrieking in the last agonies, while life and life's warm blood together gushed in hissing torrents from their breasts. Such sights of their bleeding comrades, had the enemy but been in view, instead of depressing would but have inflamed British blood with fiercer thirst for vengeance. But, alas! to be thus entrapped in a dreary wild! to be thus pent up, and shot from behind rocks and trees, by an invisible enemy, was enough to dismay the stoutest hearts. Their native valour, however, and confidence in themselves, did not at once forsake them; but, animated by their officers, they stood their ground, and for a considerable time fought like heroes. But seeing no impression made by their fire, while that of the enemy, heavy as at first, with fatal flashes continued to cut down their ranks, they at length took a panic, and fell into great confusion. Happily, on the left, where lay the deadliest fire, Washington's rangers were posted; but not exposed like the British. For, on hearing the savage yells aforesaid, in a moment they flew each to his tree, like the Indians; and, like them, each levelled his rifle, and with as deadly aim. This through a kind Providence, saved Braddock's army; for exulting in their confusion, the sa- [42] vages, grimly painted, and yelling like furies, bursted from their coverts, eager to glut their hellish rage with a total massacre of the British. But, faithful to their friends, Washington's rangers stepped forth with joy to meet the assailants. Then rose a scene sufficient to fill the stoutest heart with horror. Burning alike for vengeance, both parties throw aside the slow-murdering rifles, and grasp their swift-fated tomahawks. Dreadfully above their heads gleams the brandished steel, as with full exerted limbs, and faces all inflamed with mortal hate, they level at each other their last decisive blows. Death rages through all their fast-thinning ranks—his bleeding victims are rolled together on every side. Here falls the brave Virginia Blue, under the stroke of his nimbler foe—and there, man on man, the Indians perish beneath the furious tomahawks, deep buried in the shattered brain. But who can tell the joy of Washington, when he saw this handful of his despised countrymen thus gallantly defending their British friends, and by dint of mortal steel driving back their blood-thirsty assailants. Happy check! for by this time, covered with wounds, Braddock had fallen—his aids and officers, to a man, killed or wounded—and his troops, in hopeless, helpless despair, flying backwards and forwards: from the fire of the Indians, like flocks of crowding sheep from the presence of their butchers. Washington, alone, remained unhurt! Horse after horse had been killed under him. Showers of bullets had lifted his locks or pierced his regimentals. But still protected by Heaven; still supported by a strength not his own, he had continued to fly from quarter to quarter, where his presence was most needed, sometimes animating his rangers; sometimes striving, but in vain, to rally the regulars. 'Twas his lot to be close to the brave but imprudent Braddock when he fell, and assisted to place him in a tumbril, or little cart. As he was laid down, pale and near spent, with loss of blood, he faintly said to Washington—

"WELL, Colonel, what's to be done now?"

Insert: Defeat of Braddock

[43] "RETREAT, Sir," replied Washington, "retreat, by all means; for the Regulars won't fight, and the Rangers are nearly all killed!"

"POOR fellows!" replied he, "poor fellows!—— Well, do as you will, Colonel, do as you will."

THE army then commenced its retreat, in a very rapid and disorderly manner, while Washington with his few surviving rangers, covered the rear.

HAPPILY, the Indians did not pursue them far: but after firing a few random shots, returned in a body, to fall upon the plunder; while Washington, with his frightened fugitives continued their retreat, sadly remembering that more than one half of their morning's gay companions were left a prey to the ravening beasts of the desert. There, denied the common charities of the grave, they lay for many a year bleaching the lonely hills with their bones.

ON reaching Fort Cumberland, where they met Colonel Dunbar, with the rear of the army, General Braddock died. He died in the arms of Washington, whose pardon he often begged for having treated him so rudely that fatal morning—heartily wished, he said, he had but followed his advice—frequently called his rangers brave fellows! glorious fellows! Often said, he should be glad to live, if it was only to reward their gallantry! I have more than once been told, but cannot vouch for the truth of it, that his sister, on hearing how obstinately Washington and his Blues had fought for her brother, was so affected that she shed tears: and sent them in from England handsome cockades, according to their number, and a pair of colours elegantly wrought by her own fair hands.

With respect to Washington, I cannot but mention here two very extraordinary speeches that were made about him, after Braddock's defeat, and which as things have turned out, look a good deal like prophecies. A famous Indian warrior, who acted a leading part in that bloody, tragedy, was often heard to swear that "Washington was not born to be killed by [44] a bullet! For" continued he, "I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground!" And indeed whoever considers that a good rifle, levelled by a proper marksman, hardly ever misses its aim, will readily enough conclude with this unlettered savage, that there was some invisible hand, which turned aside his bullets.

THE Rev'd. Mr. Davies, in a sermon occasioned by Braddock's defeat, has these remarkable words—"I beg leave to point the attention of the public to that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has preserved for some great service to this country!!"

BUT though the American writers have pretty unanimously agreed that Washington was, under God, the saving Angel that stood up between Braddock's army and total destruction, yet did it profit him but little with his Sovereign. The British officers indeed admired him: but they had no idea of going any farther. "To tell in Gath, and to publish in the streets of Askalon" that a British army owed its safety to a young Buckskin, required a pitch of virtue and of courage above ordinary minds. Washington was therefore kept in the back ground; and General Braddock being dead, the command devolved upon Colonel Dunbar, whose conduct proved him to be one of those pusillanimous hirelings, who flee when the wolf cometh. To attempt, by some gallant effort, to recover what Braddock had lost,—or to hang upon the enemy and prevent, at least, those numerous scalping parties, which distracted with midnight murders and deluged the defenceless frontiers with blood, were brave and generous ideas, of which he seemed incapable. But, trembling under the general panic, he instantly ordered the tents to be struck, and pushing off under whip and spur of his fears, never halted until he had reached Philadelphia; where he went, as he called it, into winter quarters, (in the begriming of the dog-days!) leaving the whole frontiers of Maryland and Virginia exposed to the merciless tomahawk.

[45] SUCH facts ought to be recorded for the benefit of young men, who, with no military qualifications but big limbs, can yet covet red coats and shoulder-knots.

BEING thus shamefully deserted by Colonel Dunbar, Washington, with his thirty rangers, set out with sorrowful hearts to return home. But before he left Fort Cumberland, he dispatched an express, to inform Governor Dinwiddie, that "General Braddock was slain—his army totally defeated—the remnant on their march to Philadelphia—and the whole frontier given up to the Indians!" The consternation that was spread throughout the country by this news, was inexpressible. Heart-sickening terrors, as of a woman in labour, seized upon all families—and a frightened fancy found food for its fears in every thing around it—the blast whistling round the corners of their cabin, alarmed like the yell of murderous savages—the innocent death-bell—the croaking raven—the midnight howl of dogs—were all sure harbingers of fate. While, for dread of the Indians, the roads were filled with thousands of distracted parents, with their weeping little ones, flying from their homes.

THE GOVERNOR instantly ordered a call of the Legislature, who, by the time Washington reached Williamsburgh, were assembled, and together with numbers of the citizens, went out and met him near the town.

THE interview was tender. For the citizens were almost moved to tears, when they saw that of so many of their brave countrymen who went forth to battle, only this little handful remained! They were exceedingly rejoiced to see, alive and well, their beloved Washington. He had always been dear to them; but now doubly dear, in such times of danger. They mourned the misfortunes of their country, but laid no blame to him. On the contrary, it was universally believed, that, but for him the ruin would have been complete. "Braddock" said they, "lost the victory; but Washington saved the army."


Fatal effects of Braddock's defeat—Washington wishes to carry the war into the Indian country—government refuses—defensive war preferred—the frontiers desolated.

GREAT was the joy at Fort Duquesne on the return of their troops from the slaughter of Braddock's army. The idea of victory, as appeared afterwards, had never once entered their heads—They had gone out just to reconnoitre, and harrass the British in their approach! How unbounded then must have been the joy of the garrison, on seeing their friends come back next morning, not sad and spiritless, as had been expected, but whooping and shouting for a glorious victory; and enriched with the artillery, ammunition, provisions, and baggage-waggons of a British army cut to pieces!!

The French commandant took care to make a proper use of his advantage; for soon as the days of savage feasting and drunkenness were over, he sent out deputations of his chiefs with grand-talks to several of the neighbouring tribes, who had not yet lifted the hatchet.

THE tribes being assembled, and the calumet or pipe of friendship smoked around, the chiefs arose, and in all the pomp of Indian eloquence announced their great victory over Long Knife (the Virginians) and his white brothers, (the British)—then with a proud display of the numerous scalps and rich dresses which they had taken, they concluded with inviting the young men to unbury the tomahawk, and rush with them to drink the blood of their enemies.

THIS was enough—"Grinning horribly, a ghastly smile" at such prospects of blood and plunder, the grim children of the desert, rose up at once to war. No time was lost in preparation. A pouch of parch- [47] ed corn, and a bear-skin, with a rifle, tomahawk, and scalping knife, were their equipage. And in a few weeks after Braddock's defeat, an armament of at least 1400 of those blood-thirsty people were in full march over hills and mountains, to surprise and murder the Frontier Inhabitants.

WASHINGTON had all along foreseen the storm that would one day burst from Fort Duquesne. On his first trip through that country, two years before, he had marked the very spot, and pointed it out as, "the key of the western world." But Britain and America, (like the wild ass and her colts, though mule-stubborn in acting, yet snail-slow to act,) let slip the golden chance; till one Du Quesne, a French officer, with some troops, passing along that way in 1754, and struck, as Washington had been, with the situation, immediately built thereon a fort, which he called after his own name. It answered the fatal purposes which Washington had predicted. By means of the bold water courses on which it stood, it greatly favoured the conveyance both of goods and of intelligence. There the French laid up magazines for their Indian allies, and there they hoisted the dread signals of war.

NOT having been able to prevail on his countrymen to occupy it before the enemy, Washington's whole ambition now was to take it from them. "Send two thousand men"—said he, in numerous importunate letters to the Governor and Legislature, "send two thousand men, and drain the fountain at once—the streams will fail of course."

BUT, spite of this advice, the mad policy of a defensive war, prevailed in the Virginia Government and instead of raising 2000 men, they voted to raise about half that number! and then like hypocrites who make up in lip-service what they lack in good works, they dubbed him Commander in Chief of all the troops raised or to be raised in Virginia, with the privilege of naming his own field officers!

THESE vain honors served but to exalt him to a higher sphere of misery—the misery of taking a [48] wider survey of those misfortunes of his country which he could not remedy,—and to feel a deeper responsibility for those blunders of others, which he could not cure. He saw Fort Duquesne mustering her murderers, which he had no powers to prevent! He had a frontier of 360 miles to defend, and generally less than 700 men to defend it with! If he kept his troops embodied, the whole country would be left open to the savages—If he broke them down into small parties, they might be destroyed one after another, by a superior force—If he threw them into forts, they were sure to be starved: or laughed at by the enemy who could easily pass them in the night and surprise, destroy and murder the inhabitants with impunity. And though thus completely crippled by the stupidity or parsimony of the government, and incapacitated from doing any services for the country, yet great services were expected of him, and great blame bestowed for every failure. If no victories were gained over the enemy, he was blamed for inactivity. If the settlers were murdered, he was accused of neglect—and if he pointed out the errors of government, he was charged as "officious" and "impertinent." While young officers of the worthless sort, mere cork-drawers and songsters at great men's tables, were basely cutting in with a weak old governor's prejudices, to work him out, and to worm themselves into favour and rank.

BUT all these vexations and sorrows were but trifles in comparison of others which he was doomed to feel. Seeing no hopes of a force sufficient to attack Fort Duquesne, he formed a chain of garrisons along the frontier; and then, with a flying corps of the most active and daring young men, continued night and day, to scour the country in quest of the enemy's murdering parties. In this bold and dangerous employment, which lasted almost three years, he was often presented with sights of human destruction, sufficient to excite sympathy in hearts of flintiest stone.

[49] ON cautiously entering the hapless plantation with his men, they halt and listen awhile—but hear no voice of man—see no house, nor sign of habitation—all is void and silent. Marking the buzzards perched on the trees in the corn-fields, they approach and find, lying by his plough, the half-devoured carcass of a man. The hole in his breast shows that he had been shot, while the deep gashes in the forehead of his dead horses, point out the bursting strokes of the tomahawk. Amidst the ashes of the late dwelling, are seen, white as chalk, the bones of the mother and her children. But sometimes their raw and bloody skeletons, fed on by the hogs, are found in the yards or gardens where they were surprised.

"ONE day"—said he to an intimate; though it was but seldom that he mentioned those things, they gave him so much pain—"One day, as we drew near, through the woods, to a dwelling, suddenly we heard the discharge of a gun. Whereupon quickening our pace, and creeping up through the thick bushes to a fence, we saw what we had dreaded— a party of Indians, loaded with plunder, coming out a of a house, which, by the smoke, appeared as if it were just set on fire. In a moment we gave the savages a shower of rifle balls, which killed every man of them but one, who attempted to run off, a but in vain; for some of our swift-footed hunters gave chace, and soon overtook and demolished him with their tomahawks. On rushing into the house, and putting out the fire, we saw a mournful sight indeed—a young woman lying on the bed floated with blood—her forehead cleft with a hatchet—and on her breast two little children apparently twins, and about nine months old, bathing her bosom with the crimson currents flowing from their deeply gashed heads! I had often beheld the mangled remains of my murdered countrymen, but never before felt what I did on this occasion. To see these poor innocents—these little unoffending angels, just [50] entered upon life, and, instead of fondest sympathy and tenderness, meeting their bloody deaths; and from hands of brothers too! filled my soul with the deepest horror of sin! but at the same time inspired a most adoring sense of that religion which announces the Redeemer, who shall, one day, do away man's malignant passions, and restore the children of God to primaeval love and bliss. Without this hope, what man of feeling but would wish he had never been born!

"ON tracing back into the cornfield the steps of the barbarians, we found a little boy, and beyond him his father, both weltering in blood. It appeared, from the print of his little feet in the furrows, that the child had been following his father's plough, and, seeing him shot down, had set off with all his might, to get to the house to his mother, but was overtaken, and destroyed!

"AND, indeed, so great was the dread of the French and Indians, throughout the settlements, that it was distressing to call even on those families who yet survived, but, from sickness or other causes had not been able to get away. The poor creatures would run to meet us, like persons half-distracted with joy——and then with looks blank with terror, would tell that such or such a neighhour's family, perhaps the very night before, was murdered!—and that they heard their cries!—and saw the flames that devoured their houses!—and, also, that they themselves, after saying their prayers at night, never lay down to sleep, without first taking leave of one another as if they never expected to meet again in this world. But when we came to take our leave of these wretched families, my God! what were our feelings! to see the deep, silent grief of the men; and the looks of the poor women and children, as, falling upon their knees, with piercing screams, and eyes wild with terror, they seized our hands, or, hung to our clothes, intreating us for God's and mercy's sake not to leave them to be [51] murdered! These things so bursted my heart with grief, that I solemnly declare to God, if I know myself, I would gladly offer my own life a sacrifice to the butchering enemy, if I could but thereby insure the safety of these my poor distressed countrymen."

SUCH were the scenes in which Washington was doomed to spend three years of a wretched life, rendered still more wretched by knowing so perfectly as he did, that the rapid charge of two thousand brave fellows upon Fort Duquesne, like the thundering shock of a two-and-forty pounder upon a water-spout, would have instantly dispersed the fatal meteor, and restored the golden hours of peace and safety. But to give colonel Washington 2000 men seemed to old governor Dinwiddie, like giving the staff out of his own hand, as he elegantly called it—and rather than do that, he would risk the desolation of the western country, by continuing a defensive war, and a mad dependence on a disorderly militia, who would come and go as they pleased—get drunk and sleep when they pleased—whoop, and halloo where they pleased—and, in short, serve no other purpose on earth but to disgrace their officers, deceive the settlers, and defraud the public. Indeed so ruinous were these measures of governors Dinwiddie and Loudon, that in the short space of three years they completely broke up all the fine young settlements to the westward of Winchester, Fredericktown, and Carlisle, whereby numbers of poor souls were butchered! hundreds of rich plantations deserted! myriads of produce lost! and thousands of dollars sunk! and all for the sake of saving the paltry expense of raising in the first instance a force which would in ten weeks have taken Fort Duquesne, and completely broken up that den of thieves and murderers!

AT length, in 1758, the government of Virginia devolved on general Forbes, who, to the infinite satisfaction of Washington, consented to second his views [52] on Fort Duquesne. Washington earnestly recommended an early campaign, lest the Indian warriors who were to meet them in April at Winchester, should grow tired of waiting, and return home. But the season was, unfortunately, so idled away, that marching orders were not given till the first of September, when, according to Washington's prediction, there was not a red man to be found in camp. The army then commenced its movements, but still as would seem, under the frown of Heaven.

FOR instead of sweeping along the old track, generally called Braddock's road, gen. Forbes was over-persuaded to take an entirely new route, every inch of which was to be cut through wilds and mountains covered with rocks and trees! In vain Washington remonstrated against this as a measure, "which" he said, "if persisted in at this late season, would certainly ruin the undertaking"—General Forbes was fixed.

IN a letter to the Speaker of the House of Burgesses, Washington has these remarkable words-"If this conduct of our leaders, do not flow from superior orders, it must flow from a weakness, too gross for me to name. Nothing now but a miracle can bring this campaign to a happy issue." In a letter of a later date he says, "well, all is lost! our enterprise is ruined! I And we shall be stopped this winter at the Laurel Hills!"

BY the middle of November, after incredible exertions, the army, sure enough, reached the Laurel Hills, where Washington predicted it would winter! and strange to tell! General Forbes, with a caucus squad of his officers were actually in deep debate, whether they should spend the winter in that inhospitable wild, or tread back their mournful steps, to Winchester, when some prisoners brought the welcome news that the garrison of Fort Duquesne, for a long time past unsupported by their countrymen, and now deserted by the Indians, was so reduced, that they would surrender at sight of an enemy. General Forbes instantly changed his mind, and with a [53] select detachment made a push for Fort Duquesne, the ruins of which he entered, without opposition, on the 28th of November, 1758. For, advertised of his approach, the French determined to quit it, and after having set fire to the buildings, got into their boats, and went down the river.

HAVING thus, after three years of labour and sorrow, attained his favourite wish—the reduction of Fort Duquesne and a total dispersion of the savages, Washington returned with joy to Williamsburgh, to take his seat in the legislature, to which he had been regularly chosen in his absence.

'TIS a thing well worth remark, because it happens but to few, that though he often failed of success, he never once lost the confidence of his country. Early aware of the importance of character, to those who wished to be useful, he omitted no honest act, thought no pains, no sacrifice of ease, too great to procure and preserve it. In the whole of that stupidly-managed war; as also in another war since that, which was not much better conducted, he always took care to keep the public well informed as to the part which he had acted, or wished to act, in the affair. Not content, himself to know that he had acted wisely or bravely, he took care that the public should know it also; in order that if at any time an uproar should be made, the saddle might be placed on the right horse. If the legislature, or governor Dinwiddie, or general Braddock, or any other superior, with whom he had public concern, and character at stake, made propositions which he disliked, he would modestly point out their errors, predict their mischiefs, and thus wash his hands of all blame:—which documents, through the channel of numerous letters to his friends, were always laid before the people. Hence, for the ruinous consequences of the weakness and obstinacy of Dinwiddie and Braddock, not a breath of censure was ever blown on him. On the contrary, in the public mind, he always rose as high, or higher, than the others sunk. It was [54] universally believed, that had he governed, in place of Dinwiddie, the fatal Indian war would not have lasted a campaign.—And on the hills of Monongahela, had Washington commanded in place of Braddock, the French and Indians would have been handled very differently. Such were the sentiments with which the public were prepared to receive him, on his return into their welcoming bosom. Wherever he went, homage always waited upon him, though always uncourted. The grey-headed rose up to do him honour, when he came into their company; and the young men, with sighs, often wished for a fame like his. Happy was the fairest lady of the land, who, at the crowded ball, could get colonel Washington for her partner. And even at the house where prayer is wont to be made, the eyes of beauty would sometimes wander from the cold reading-preacher, to catch a livelier devotion from his "mind-illumined face"—a face at once so dignified with virtue, and so sweetened with grace, that none could look on it without emotions very friendly to the heart: and sighs of sentiment too delicate for description, were often seen to heave the snowy bosoms of the noblest dames.

AT the head of all these stood the accomplished Mrs. Martha Custis, the beautiful and wealthy widow of Mr. John Custis. Her wealth was equal, at least, to one hundred thousand dollars! But her beauty was a sum far larger still. It was not the shallow boast of a fine skin, which time so quickly tarnishes, nor of those short-lived roses, which sometimes wither almost as soon as blown. But it sprung from the heart—from the divine and benevolent affections, which spontaneously gave to her eyes, her looks, her voice and her manners, such angel charms, that I could never look on her, without exclaiming with the poet, O!

"She was nearest heaven of all on earth I knew;
And all but adoration was her due."

[55] For two such kindred souls to love, it was only necessary that they should meet. Their friendship commenced with the first hour of their acquaintance, and was soon matured into marriage, which took place about the 27th year of Washington's life. His Lady was, I believe, six months younger.

BUT, that it is contrary to the rules of biography, to begin with the husband and end with the wife, I could relate of that MOST EXCELLENT LADY those things which the public would greatly delight to hear. However, gratitude to that bright saint, now in heaven, who was my noblest benefactress, while I preached in her parish, compels me to say, that her VIRTUES AND CHARITIES were of that extensive and sublime sort, as fully to entitle her hic jacet to the following noble epitaph, a little altered, from one of the British Poets.

UNDERNEATH this marble hearse,
Lies the subject of all verse.
Custis' widow—great George's wife—
Death! ere thou robb'st another life,
Virtuous, fair, and good as SHE,
Christ shall launch a dart at thee.


Washington's mother has a very curious dream—it points to great coming troubles—a cloud rising in England—the causes of the revolutionary war.

WHEN a man begins to make a noise in the world, his relatives (the Father, sometimes, but, always that tenderer parent, the Mother,) are sure to recollect certain mighty odd dreams, which they had of him when he was a child. What rare dreams, for example, had the mothers of "Macedonia's madman, and the Swede," while pregnant with those butchers of the human race! Mrs. Washington also had her dream, which an excellent old Lady of Fredericksburg assured me she had often heard her relate with great satisfaction; and, for the last time, but a few weeks before her death.

"I DREAMT," said the Mother of Washington, that I was sitting in the piazza of a large new house, into which we had but lately moved. George, at that time about five years old, was in the garden with his corn-stalk plough, busily running little furrows in the sand, in imitation of Negro Dick, a fine black boy, with whose ploughing George was so taken, that it was sometimes a hard matter to get him to his dinner. And so as I was sitting in the piazza at my work, I suddenly heard in my dream a kind of roaring noise on the eastern side of the house. On running out to see what was the matter, I beheld a dreadful sheet of fire bursting from the roof. The sight struck me with a horror which took away my. strength, and threw me, almost senseless, to the ground. My husband and the servants, as I saw in my dream, soon came up; but, like myself, were so terrified at the sight, that they could make no attempt to extinguish the flames. In this most distressing State, the image of my little son came, I thought, to [57] my mind more dear and tender than ever, and turning towards the garden where he was engaged with his little corn-stalk plough, I screamed out twice with all my might, George! George!—In a moment, as I thought, he threw down his mimic plough, and ran to me saying, "High! Ma! what makes you call so angry! 'an't I a good boy—don't I always run to you soon as I hear you call?" I could make no reply, but just threw up my arms towards the flame. He looked up and saw the house all on fire: but instead of bursting out a crying, as might have been expected from a child, he instantly brightened up and seemed ready to fly to extinguish it. But first looking at me with great tenderness, he said, "Oh, Ma! don't be afraid: God Almighty will help, us, and we shall soon put it out."—His looks and words revived our spirits in so wonderful a manner, that we all instantly set about to assist him. A ladder was presently brought, on which, as I saw in my dream, he ran up with the nimbleness of a squirrel; and the servants supplied him with water, which he threw on the fire from an American gourd. But that growing weaker, the flame appeared to gain ground, breaking forth and roaring most dreadfully, which so frightened the servants, that many of them, like persons in despair, began to leave him. But he, still undaunted, continued to ply it with water, animating the servants at the same time, both by his words and actions. For a long time the contest appeared very doubtful; but at length a venerable old man, with a tall cap and iron rod in his hand, like a lightning rod, reached out to him a curious little trough, like a wooden shoe! On receiving this, he redoubled his exertions, and soon extinguished the fire. Our joy on the occasion was unbounded. But he, on the contrary, showing no more of transport now than of terror before, looked rather sad at sight of the great harm that had been done. Then I saw in my dream that after some time spent as in deep thought, he called out with much joy, "Well, Ma! now if you and the family [58] will but consent, we can make a far better roof than this ever was; a roof of such a quality, that, if well kept together, it will last for ever; but if you take it apart, you will make the house ten thousand times worse than it was before."

THIS, though certainly a very curious dream, needs no Daniel to interpret it; especially if we take Mrs. Washington's new house, for the young Colony Government—the fire on its east side, for North's civil war—the gourd which Washington first employed, for the American 3 and 6 months inlistments—the old man with his cap and iron rod, for Doctor Franklin—the shoe-like vessel which he reached to Washington, for the Sabot or wooden-shoed nation, the French, whom Franklin courted a long time for America—and the new roof proposed by Washington, for a staunch honest Republic—that "equal government," which, by guarding alike the welfare of all, ought by all to be so heartily beloved as to endure for ever.

HAD it been appointed unto any man to quaff unmingled happiness in this life, George Washington had been that man. For where is that pleasurable ingredient with which his cup was not full and ever-flowing?

CROWNED with honours—laden with riches—blest with health—and, in the joyous prime of 27, sharing each rural sweet in the society of a charming woman who doated on him, he surely bid fair to spend his days and nights of life in ceaseless pleasure!—But ah!—as sings the sweet bard of Zion,

OUR days, alas! our mortal days,
Are short and wretched too!
"Evil and few!" the Patriarch says.
And well the Patriarch knew!
'Tis but, at best, a narrow bound,
That Heaven allots to men;
And pains and sins run through the round,
Of three-score years and ten!

[59] FROM this, the universal lot, not Washington himself could obtain exemption. For in the midst of his favourite labours, of the plough and pruning-hook, covering his extensive farms with all the varied delights of delicious fruits and golden grain, of lowing herds and snowy flocks, he was suddenly called on by his country, to turn his plough-share into the sword, and go forth to meet a torrent of evils which threatened her. The fountain of those evils, whence at length flowed the great civil war, which for ever separated Britain and her children, I proceed now briefly to state.

AFTER the reduction of Canada, the British officers who commanded on that expedition, came to Boston and New-York, on a visit to their American brethren in arms, who had served with them in that war. Soon as their arrival was announced, the Americans flew to meet and welcome them. They were paraded through the streets as the saviours of the land—the doors of all were thrown open to receive them—and every day, during their stay, was spent in feasting and public dinners, which, for sake of their beloved guests, were made as splendid as possible, though always through the aid of obliging neighbours. The rooms glittered with borrowed plate—wines of every vintage sparkled on the crowded side-boards—while the long-extended tables were covered with finest fish and flesh, succeeded by the richest desserts. The British officers were equally charmed and astonished at such elegant hospitality; and, on their return to England, gave a full loose to their feelings. They painted the colonial wealth ill the colourings of romance, and spoke of the Americans as a people, who, in comparison of the British, lived like kings.

THUS, American hospitality, by a strange perversion had like to have poisoned American Liberty! For, from that time, the British ministry began to look upon the Americans with an evil eye, and to devise ways and means to make us "bear a part of their [60] burdens! "But what did they mean by this? Did they mean to acknowledge us as Sons of Britons; equally free and independent with our brethren in England? and, like them, allowed a representation in Parliament, who should freely vote our money to the common cause?

OH no! an idea so truly British and honourable, was not at all in their thoughts. We were not to be treated as brothers, but as slaves! over whom an unconditional right was claimed to tax and take our property at pleasure!!!

READER, if you be a Briton, be a Briton still ____ preserve the characteristic calm and candor of a Briton. I am not about to say one word against your nation. No! I know them too well: and thank God, I can say, after severed years of residence among them, I believe them to be as Honest, Charitable, and Magnanimous a people as any on God's earth. I am about to speak of the MINISTRY only, who certainly, at that time, were a most ambitious and intriguing junto, that by bad means had gotten power, and by worse were endeavouring to extend it, even to the destruction of both American and British Liberty, as the excellent Mr. Pitt charged them.—No Englishmen can desire fuller evidence than this one infernal claim made against us by lord North—a taxation without representation! !" As a plea for such despotic doings, North and his creatures set out with boldly trumpeting the wonderful things they had done for America. "They, it seems, first discovered the country!—they settled it—they always had defended it—it was their blood—their treasure—their ships, and sailors, and soldiers, who created the British colonies!!

O DEAR!—and what then?—why, to be sure, after having done such mighty things for the Americans, they had as clear a right to their gold and silver, as a butcher has to the hair and hides of his cattle!

THIS language was actually carried into Parliament! where a Mr. Charles Townsend, to enforce the stamp act, cried out, "Who are these Americans? [61] Are they not our children, planted by our care, nourished by our indulgence, and protected by our arms?

AT this, the brave Colonel Barré, with cheeks all inflamed with virtuous indignation, thus broke forth on the insolent speechifier. "They planted by your care! No, sir: your oppressions planted them in America. They fled from your tyranny to a then uncultivated and inhospitable country, where they exposed themselves to all the evils which a wilderness, filled with blood-thirsty savages, could threaten. And yet, actuated by true English love of liberty, they thought all these evils light in comparison of what they suffered in their own country, and from you, who ought to have been their friends.

"THEY nourished by your indulgence! No, sir! they grew by your neglect. As soon as you began to indulge them, that boasted indulgence was to send them hungry packs of your own creatures, to spy out their liberties!—to misrepresent their actions!—and to prey upon their substance!—Yes, sir, you sent them men, whose behaviour has often caused the blood of those Sons of Liberty to recoil within them—men promoted by you to the highest seats of justice, in that country, who, to my knowledge, had good cause to dread a court of justice in their own!—They protected by your arms!—No, Sir! They have nobly taken up arms in your defence; have exerted a most heroic valour, amidst their daily labours, for the defence of a country whose frontier was drenched in blood while its interior parts gave up all their savings to our emolument!"

ALL this was very true. For the Americans had not only planted, but in a great measure protected themselves. In the French and Indian war, from '55 to '63, they lost nearly 30,000 of their stoutest young men! And by regular returns it appears that Massachusetts alone expended about 500,000£ sterling in that time!!! Nor only so, but they had never hesitated for a moment to furnish to the last man and shilling whatever Britain had required.

[62] But, alas! what signifies right against might! When a king wants money for his own pride, or for his hungry relations, and when his ministers want stakes for their gaming tables, or diamond necklaces for their strumpets, they will have it, though plundered colonies should lack bread and spelling books for their children. For in the year '63, when the lamp of God was burning with peculiar brightness in our land, and both Britain and her colonies enjoyed a measure of blessings seldom indulged to the most favoured nations—When, at the very mention of Old England, our hearts leaped for joy, as at the name of a great and venerable mother, and that mother felt an equal transport at thoughts of us, her flourishing colonies—When all the produce of these vast and fertile regions was poured into her beloved lap, and she, in return, not allowing us the trouble to make even a hob-nail, heaped our families with all the necessaries and elegancies of her ingenious artists—When, though far separated by an ocean's roar, we were yet so united by love and mutual helpfulness, that the souls of Columbus, Raleigh, and Smith, looking down from heaven, with joy beheld the consummation of all their labours and wishes! At that happy period, Lord North brought in a bill to tax the colonies, without allowing us a voice in their councils!! The colonies were thunderstruck: and Britain herself, groaning through all her island "gave signs of woe that all was lost!"

DOCTOR Franklin, who was then in England as a colony agent, on hearing that this most iniquitous bill had actually passed both houses, and was ratified by the king, wrote to a friend in America in these words—"The sun of our liberty is set—you must all now light up the double candles of Industry and Economy—but, above all things, encourage the young people to marry and raise up children as fast as they can."

MEANING, that America, yet too weak to resist the chains which a wicked ministry were forging for [63] her, should instantly fly to heaven-ordered marriage, for heroic youth, to snap the ignominious bonds from their own and their father's arms.

BUT the sons of Columbia, though few in number, had too long enjoyed the sweets of Liberty and Property, to part with them so tamely, because a king and his minions had ordered it. No! blessed be God, their conduct was such as to strike the world with this glorious truth, that a brave people, who know their rights, are not to be enslaved.

FOR, soon as it was told in America, that the stamp-act had passed, the people rose up against it as one man—the old grudges between churchmen and dissenters, were instantly forgotten—every man looked to his fellow as to a brother for aid against the coming slavery—their looks on each other were as lightnings in a parched forest—the sacred fire kindled and ran from end to end of the continent. In every colony, the people rushed into patriotic societies—reminded each other of their fights—denounced the stamp-act as a most audacious infringement,—burnt in effigy the promoters of it—tore down the houses of those bastard Americans who had received the stamps to sell—and menaced loudly a non-intercourse with Britain, if the act was not immediately repealed!

THIS spirited behaviour filled all England with amazement. Every man there, no matter what his principles or politics, felt it to the very quick. The manufacturers and merchants trembled—the tories raved—the whigs rejoiced, and with the great Pitt and Burke at their head, publickly applauded the Americans, and denounced the stamp-act as entirely contrary to the spirit of British freedom. In short the cry against it was so loud both in England and America, that the ministry, covered with shame, were obliged to give way, and abandon the project.

THE cloud, which had hung so dark over the two countries, being thus happily scattered, many began to cherish the hope that we should have a clear sky [64] again, and that the former golden days would soon return. But alas! those golden days were gone to return no more! Government had shown the cloven foot—and America had taken a fright which nothing but whole years of kindliest treatment could ever do away. But, unfortunately, the ministry were in no humour to show that kindness. Long accustomed to speak of the Americans as a pack of "convicts, whom, by transportation, they had kindly saved from the gallows," instead of giving them credit for their late spirited behaviour, they considered it as the height of audacity: and though from necessity they had yielded to their demands, they were determined to have revenge on the first opportunity. That opportunity was too soon afforded.

IT should have been noticed, that with the duty on stamped paper, similar duties had been laid on glass, tea, &c. &c. all of which had been repealed with the stamp-act, except that on tea. This the ministry had artfully retained: partly to cover the shame of their defeat, but chiefly in hopes of familiarizing the Americans to taxing. For though lord North was never, that I know of, charged with being a wizzard, yet did he not lack sense to know that if he could but prevail on the young Mammoth to take down a tax, though no bigger than a Gnat, he should soon bring him to swallow a Camel! But, glory to God! the Americans had too much of British blood, to allow an unconstitutional tax in any shape or size. Independent and coy as the birds of their forests, they would not suffer a stranger's hand even to touch the sacred nest of their rights. Soon therefore as the ministry began in 1773 to order a "collection of the taxes on tea" the colonies took fire again, and the old flame of '64 was completely rekindled throughout the continent. But still in the very storm and tempests of their rage, they never lost sight of the respect due their mother country. Their numerous letters and petitions to the KING, to the PARLIAMENT, and to the people of Britain, all, all breathe the full spirit of dutiful children, and of loving brothers. In terms [65] the most modest and pathetic, they state the extreme injustice and barbarity of such measures—their total inconsistency with the spirit of the British Constitution —their positive inadmissibility into America—or, in that event, the certainty of a civil war, with all its fatal effects on the two countries.

TEMPERED with meekness, and pointed with truth, their arguments reach the hearts of the British patriots, who all fly in eager myriads to extinguish the kindling flames of civil war. Foremost of this noble band is seen the venerable form of Chatham. Though worn with years and infirmities, he quits his bed, and, muffled up in flannels and furs, crawls to the House of Lords, to give his last advice, and yet avert, if possible, the impending ruin. He rises to speak. A solemn silence prevails, while the looks of the crowded audience are bending forward upon him, to catch the accents of his magic tongue. His eyes are upon the ground, but his thoughts are not there—they are travelling like sun-beams over all the earth. Britain and America, with all their population and interests, lie open before his vast mind, with all the varied evils of the threatened war. In Britain he beholds a fearful pause in the pulse of industry and joy—the loom is still—the anvil resounds no more . . . while the harbours, late alive with bustling business and cheerful songs, now crowded with silent dismantled ships, present a scene of national mourning. In the colonies, he sees the plains, lately crowned with joyful harvests, now covered with armed bands of Britons and Americans rushing to murderous battle . . . while in Europe, the proud Spaniard, the sarcastic Gaul, and broad grinning Hollander, with shrugs and sneers enjoy the coming fray, as a welcome prelude to the downfal of their hated rival. He next paints the Americans as native sons of Britain . . . and, at once, enthusiastic lovers of liberty and of their mother country . . . ready, as her children, to give her every thing; but, as her slaves, [66] nothing. Though harshly treated, they still love her, and wish for nothing so much as a hearty reconciliation, and a glad return of all the former friendships and blessings. At thought of this most desirable of all events, the parent soul of the great orator is stirred within him; his aged frame trembles with strong feeling, which heaves his labouring bosom, and swells his changeful face. At length his powerful words break forth.

"FOR God's sake, then, my lords, let the way be a instantly opened for reconciliation; I say instantly, or it will be too late for ever. The Americans tell you, and remember it is the language of the whole continent . . . they tell you, they will never submit to be taxed without their own consent They insist on a repeal of your laws . . . they do not ask it as a favour, they claim it as a right; they demand it. And I tell you the acts must be repealed . . . they will be repealed, you cannot enforce them. But bare repeal will not satisfy this enlightened and spirited people. What! satisfy them by repealing a bit of paper . . . by repealing a piece of parchment! No! you must declare you have no right to tax them—then they may trust you—then they will confide in you . . . There are, my lords, three millions of whigs in America. Three millions of whigs, with arms in their hands, are a formidable body! There are, I trust, double that number of whigs in England. And I hope the whigs in both countries will join and make a common cause. They arc united by the stronger ties of sentiment and interest; and will therefore, I hope, fly to support their brethren. In this most alarming and distracted state of our affairs, though borne down by a cruel disease, I have crawled to this house, my lords, to give you my best advice, which is, to beseech his majesty that orders may instantly be dispatched to General Gage to remove the troops from Boston—their presence is a source of perpetual irritation and suspicion to those people. How can they trust you, with the [67] bayonet at their breasts? they have all the reason in the world to believe that you mean their death or slavery. Let us then set to this business in earnest—there is no time to be lost—every moment is big with danger. Nay, while I am now speaking, the decisive blow may be struck, and millions involved in the dreadful consequences! The very first drop of blood that is drawn will make a wound perhaps never to be healed—a wound of such rancorous malignity, as will, in all probability, mortify the whole body, and hasten, both on England and America, that dissolution to which all nations are destined."

HERE was a speech, sufficient, one would have thought, to stop the career of the maddest politicians—but neither this, nor the advice of Lord Camden, nor the numerous and pathetic addresses from London, Liverpool, and Jamaica, could produce the least change in the ministry. "Let the Americans," said Lord Gower with a sneer, "sit talking about their natural rights! their divine right! and such stuff! we will send them over a few regiments of grenadiers to help their consultations!" Thus high-toned was the language of ministry, and thus stoutly bent on the submission of the Americans. Indeed, in some instances, they would not honour them so far as to give their "humble petitions" a reading, but consigned them to what the whig opposition pleasantly called, "the committee of oblivion."

THE tea-tax was, of course, at any rate to be collected. But as there could be no tax without tea, nor tea unless it was sent, several ships of that obnoxious weed were purposely pushed off for America. Lord Fairfax happened to be at Mount Vernon when Washington received advice from a friend in London that the tea ships were about to sail—"Well, my Lord" said he, "and so the ships, with the gunpowder tea, are, it seems, on their way to America!"

"WELL but, colonel, why do you call it gunpowder tea?"

[68] "WHY, I am afraid, my Lord" replied Washington, "it will prove inflammable, and produce an explosion that shall shake doth countries."

THE event corresponded with Washington's prediction. Looked on as sent to insult and enslave them, the ships were every where received with the heartiest curses of the people, who quickly boarded them—in some places furiously tumbling their fragrant cargoes into the flashing deep in others, sternly ordering the captains to depart, under penalty of being instantly tucked up to the yard arms.

ON the arrival of this news in England, the countenance of the minister was dark with fury: and he proceeded, without delay, to mix up for the colonies a cup of fiery indignation, of which Boston, it seems, was to have the largest dose. As that most undutiful child had always led off the dance in outrage and rebellion against the parent state, it was determined that she should pay the piper for old and new—that her purse should answer for all the tea that had been destroyed—that her luxuriant trade, which had made her so wanton, should be taken from her and that, spite of her high looks and proud stomach, she should sit on the stool of repentance, until his gracious majesty, George III. should be pleased to pronounce her pardon!!

ON the receipt of this intelligence at Boston, the passions of the people flew up, five hundred degrees above blood-heat! throughout the continent the fever raged with equal fury. The colonies all extolled Boston for the firmness with which, she had asserted her chartered rights—liberal contributions were made for her relief—and this ministerial attack on her liberties, was considered as an attack on the liberties of the whole, which were now thought to be in such danger, as loudly to call for a general congress from all the colonies, to deliberate on their common interest. This most unkingly body sat down for the first time, in Philadelphia, September 5th, 1774. They began with publishing a bill of rights, wherein, "they [69] repeated their loyalty and love to the mother country, together with an earnest wish for a constitutional dependence on her. But, at the same time, they begged leave to assure, that though she, in her excessive fondness, might suffer herself to be bound and insulted by North and Bute, and other Philistine lords, yet they, for their parts, were resolved, like true sons of British Sampsons, to rise and fight to the last locks of their heads. They asserted, and begged leave to do it pretty roundly too, as it was now high time to speak plain, that by the immutable laws of nature—by the principles of the British constitution—and by their several charters, they had a right to liberty, the liberty of British subjects—that their ever-honoured fathers, at the time of their emigration to this country, were entitled to all the rights of freemen—and since, by such emigration, they had neither forfeited nor surrendered these rights—that they, their children, were determined, at the risk of every thing short of their eternal salvation, to defend and to transmit them entire to their innocent and beloved offspring."

MILLIONS of choice spirits in England, Scotland, and Ireland, cried out, "that's well said! and may God's arms strike with our American brothers!'' This was coming to the point, and produced the effect that might have been expected. For instantly, all exportation of arms and ammunition to America was prohibited—large reinforcements were sent to the king's troops at Boston—and every step was taken to compel the colonies to submission This tilted up the measure of American hatred to the ministry, and called forth the most vigorous preparation for war. Every ounce of gunpowder was husbanded like so much gold-dust: Powder-mills and musquet-manufactories were erected in most of the colonies; while others, as not liking this slow way of doing things, laid violent hands at once upon all the king's arms and ammunition that came in their way.

[70] THE hell-fraught cloud of civil war was now ready to burst: and April the 19th, 1775, was the fatal day marked out by mysterious heaven, for tearing away the stout infant colonies from the long-loved paps of the old mother country. Early that morning, general Gage, whose force in Boston was augmented to 10,000 men, sent a detachment of 1000 to destroy some military stores which the Americans had collected in the town of Concord, near Lexington. On coming to the place, they found the town militia assembled on the green near the road. "Throw down your arms, and disperse, you rebels" was the cry of the British officer, (Pitcairn) which was immediately followed by a general discharge of the soldiers; whereby eight of the Americans were killed, and several wounded. The provincials retired. But finding that the British still continued their fire, they returned it with good interest; and soon strewed the green with the dead and wounded. Such fierce discharges of musquetry, produced the effect that might have been expected in a land of freemen, who saw their gallant brothers suddenly engaged in the strife of death. Never before had the bosoms of the swains experienced such a tumult of heroic passions. Then throwing aside the implements of husbandry, and leaving their teams in the half finished furrows, they flew to their houses, snatched up their arms, and bursting from their wild shrieking wives and children) hasted to the glorious field where LIBERTY, heaven-born goddess, was to be bought for blood. Pouring in now from every quarter, were seen crowds of sturdy peasants, with flushed checks and flaming eyes, eager for battle! Even age itself forgot its wonted infirmities: and hands, long palsied with years, threw aside the cushioned crutch, and grasped the deadly firelock. Fast as they came up,, their ready muskets began to pour the long red streams of fiery vengeance. The enemy fell back appalled! The shouting farmers, swift-closing on their rear, followed their steps with death, while the [71] British, as fast as they could load, wheeling on their pursuers, returned the deadly platoons. Like some tremendous whirlwind, whose roaring sweep all at once darkens the day, riding the air in tempest, so sudden and terrible, amidst clouds of dust, and smoke, and flame, the flight of Britain's warriors thundered along the road. But their flight was not in safety. Every step of their retreat was stained with trickling crimson—every hedge or fence by which they passed, took large toll of hostile carcasses. They would, in all probability, have been cut off to a man, had not general Gage, luckily recollected, that, born of Britons, these Yankees might possess some of the family valour, and therefore sent 1000 men to support the detachment. This reinforcement met the poor fellows, faint with fear and fatigue, and brought them safely off to Boston.

IN this their first field, the American farmers gleaned of the British about sixty-three, in slain, and two hundred and eighty wounded and prisoners. The fire of civil discord now broke out a roaring flame, and, with equal ardour, both parties hastened to clap on the "kettle of war."

NATIONAL prejudices ought to be scouted from the face of the earth. Colonel Grant actually said in parliament, that, "with five regiments he could march through all America!!!" Oh! had that profound philosopher but beheld the scrub race above, he might have learned two things . . . 1st. that he was never born to be a prophet. And 2nd. that it is not to this or that country exclusively, that we are to look for brave men, but in every country where the people are accustomed to breathe the proud air of liberty, and to rejoice in the sweet fruits of their labours as all their own.

Insert: Battle of Lexington

SOON as the battle of Lexington was told to the astonished ministry in England, a grand caucus of lords was held, to consider the best ways and means to bring the rebels to their senses. "One spoke after this manner, and another after that." Presently [72] up rose Lord George Germaine, and with all Moloc in his looks, hurled the curses of Amalek against the Americans. "Vengeance! gentlemen!" he cried, "vengeance! your insulted island—your wounded honour—your murdered countrymen—all cry havoc! and bid slip the dogs of war. Gods! can we sit debating here, when rank rebellion lords it over our colonies, and the tongues of rebel curs are red in the blood of our bravest soldiers slain. No! let our swift-avenging armies fly across the ocean, and lighting like a tornado on the rebel continent, from end to end, with fire and sword sweep both town and country before them."

HERE the celebrated Mr. Wilkes, in the spirit of a TRUE BRITON, roared out, "Aye that's right! that's right! Lord George! that's exactly up to our old English proverb----the greater the coward, the crueller the devil!"

"Coward! Sir!" replied Lord George, black with rage, "Coward! what do you mean by that, sir?"

"I mean, sir" returned Mr. Wilkes, "that the hero who could not stand fire on the plains of Minden, does well to advise fire and sword in the woods of America."

Upon this, the unlovely names of liar and scoundrel were exchanged with a freedom which showed that in the quarrel with America, the passions of the two parties knew no bounds. Happily for America, this spirit of Mr. Wilkes was not peculiar to himself. Thousands of enlightened and virtuous whigs breathed it with equal ardour. The gallant Duke of Buckingham, on hearing how bravely the Americans had behaved at Lexington, exclaimed, "Well, thank God! there are yet some veins in the world that beat high with British blood!"

Lord Effingham, also, being called on to go against the Americans, returned his sword to the king, saying, "he had received it, on oath, to maintain the cause of justice, not of oppression!!"

[73] BUT though the right heads in England were numerous, they were not sufficiently so to direct the wrong heads there. A feeble minister, and his puny lordlings, still held the reins; and though, compared with the great nation which they governed, they seemed but as monkeys on the back of a mammoth, yet they had, too long, the fatal art so to blindfold and goad the noble animal, as to make her run riot over her own children, and crush thousands of them into their bloody graves.

ON this day, June 12, 1775, general Gage issued his proclamation of rebellion, with threats of heaviest vengeance against the rebels; extending however in the king's name, the golden sceptre of mercy to all true penitents, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, excepted. These gentlemen, by their extraordinary zeal in the cause of liberty, had so mortally offended the ministry, that nothing short of their lives could make atonement. Orders were sent privately to General Gage, to seize and hang them in Boston, or to send them over in irons to be hung in England. But God gave his Angels charge of them, so that not a hair of their heads was hurt.

THE British, 10,000 strong, were still in Boston, where, ever since the affair of Concord, they had been surrounded by an army of 20,000 provincials, all so eager to try the city by storm, that it was with the greatest difficulty their officers could restrain them.

How adorable the goodness of God for ordering that the ministerial attack on our liberties, should fall on the populous and high-toned New-Englanders! The heroic spirit with which they repelled it, should, to eternity, endear them to their southern brothers.


Battle of Bunker's-hill—of Sullivan's Inland—Declaration of Independence—Defeat of the Americans on Long-Island—Howe looks big—times squally.

____ And fame of Bunker's hill endure,
Till time itself shall be no more.

THIS hill of fame still lifts his yellow brow, half hid in sedge, on the plain of Charlestown—a lovely port north of Boston, to which it is united by an elegant bridge. To confine the British as closely as possible to Boston, the American generals, on the night of June 16, dispatched 1500 men to throw up an entrenchment on Bunker's-hill. The party did not begin their work till about 12 o'clock; but pushed it with such spirit, that, by day-break, they had surrounded themselves with a tolerably decent ditch—without embrasures indeed, because they had no cannon to stare through them; nor even a bayonet to bristle over its ridges.

SOON as the rosy morn appeared, they were discovered by the British men of war, which quickly saluted them with their great guns and mortars. But regardless of shells and shot, the dauntless Yankees still drank their Switchel* and plied their work.

*A mild moralizing malmsey, made of molasses and water, which the prudent Yankees drink, to the great benefit of their health and senses, while their southern neighbours are be-fooling and be-poisoning themselves with grog.

[75] FINDING that his ships of war, with all their thunders, had not been able to dislodge them: Gage ordered to their aid 3000 men with a train of artillery, under command of Generals Howe and Pigot. By twelve o'clock they were all safely landed on the Charlestown side, near Bunker's-hill, the destined place of storm. An interesting scene is now about to open—for not only the British and American armies from the neighbouring heights, are eagerly looking on, but all the surrounding country, timely alarmed, are running together, in terror, to behold the coming fight. Among the crowding spectators are seen thousands of tender females, with panting bosoms and watery eyes, fixed upon the fields below, anxiously waiting the fate of their Brothers, Fathers, and Husbands. After a hurried moment spent in forming, the British troops began to advance in heavy columns, with all the martial pomp of flying colours and rattling drums. At the same time, by order of Gage, the beautiful port of Charlestown, of 300 fine buildings, with a tall steepled church, was wrapped in flames, roaring like distant thunder, and tost on eddying winds in fiery billows to the clouds—while far and wide the adjoining plains are covered with British soldiers in crimson regimentals and shining arms, moving on to the attack with incessant discharges of muskets and great guns. Close, on the brow of the hill, appears the little fort, dimly seen through smoke, and waved over by one solitary flag, and very unlike to stand the shock of so powerful an armament. But the Americans are all wound up to the height of Liberty's enthusiasm; and, lying close behind their works, with fowling-pieces loaded with ball and buck-shot, wait impatiently for the approaching enemy. Their brave countrymen, Putnam and Warren, are in the fort, constantly reminding them of that glorious inheritance. Liberty, which they received from their gallant fathers; and now owe to their own dear children.—"Don't throw away a single shot, my brave fellows," said old Putnam, "don't throw away a [76]
single shot, but take good aim; nor touch a trigger, till you can see the whites of their eyes."


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