[151] "HOWEVER combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people; and to usurp to themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

"TOWARDS the preservation of your government, and the permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite, not only that you speedily discountenance irregular oppositions to its acknowledged authority, but also that you resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its principles, however specious the pretexts. One method of assault may be to effect, in the forms of the constitution, alterations which will impair the energy of the system, and thus to undermine what cannot be directly overthrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to fix the true character of government, as of other human institutions; that experience is the surest standard, by which to test the real tendency of the existing constitution of a country; that facility in changes, upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion; and remember, especially, that for the efficient management of your common interests, in a country so extensive as ours, a government of as much vigour as is consistent with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Liberty itself will find in such a government, with powers properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to confine each member of the society within the limits prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and property.

[152] "I HAVE already intimated to you the danger of the parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

"THIS spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passion of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controuled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

"THE alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which, in different ages and countries, has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and, sooner or later, the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

"WITHOUT looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

"IT serves always to distract the public councils, and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection; and opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus [153] the policy and will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

"THERE is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This, within certain limits, is probably true; and, in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favour, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of the spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

"IT is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the guardian of public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern: some of them in our country, and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be [154] in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the constitution designates.—But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any partial or transient benefit which the use can at any time yield.

"OF all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.—In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.—The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them.—A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it be simply asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligations DESERT the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

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

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

"AS a very important source of strength and security, cherish public credit. One method of preserving it, is to use it as sparingly as possible; avoiding occasions of expense by cultivating peace; but remembering also that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it; avoiding likewise the accumulations of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars may have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen which we ourselves ought to bear.—The execution of these maxims belongs to your representatives; but it is necessary that public opinion should co-operate. To facilitate to them the performance of their duty, it is essential that you should practically bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be revenue: that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant; that the intrinsic embarrassment inseparable from the selection of the proper object (which is always a choice of difficulties) ought to be a decisive motive for a candid construction of the conduct of the government in making it, and for a spirit of acquiescence in the measures for obtaining revenue, which the public exigencies may at any time dictate.

"OBSERVE good faith and justice towards all nations: cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and morality enjoin this conduct: and can it be that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and at no distant period a great nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence. Who can doubt that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? [156] Can it be, that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a nation with its virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?

"IN the execution of such a plan, nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that in place of them just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred, or a habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts, through passion, what reason would reject. At other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility, instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim.

"SO, likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favourite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads [157] also to concessions to the favourite nation, of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the nation, making the concessions: by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

"AS avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practise the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils! Such an attachment of a small or weak, towards a great and powerful nation, dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

"AGAINST the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be CONSTANTLY awake: since history and experience prove that foreign influence, is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defence against it.—Excessive partiality for one foreign nation, and excessive dislike of another, cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favourite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes [158] usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.

"THE great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

"EUROPE has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

"OUR detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

"WHY forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own, to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour, or caprice?

"'TIS our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronising infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, [159] that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

"TAKING care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, in a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

"HARMONY, liberal intercourse with all nations, are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand; neither seeking nor granting exclusive favours or preferences; consulting the natural course of things; diffusing and diversifying by gentle means the streams of commerce, but forcing nothing; establishing, with powers so disposed, in order to give trade a stable course, to define the rights of our merchants, and to enable the government to support them, conventional rules of intercourse, the best that present circumstances and mutual opinion will permit, but temporary, and liable to be from time to time abandoned or varied, as experience and circumstances shall dictate; constantly keeping in view, that 'tis folly in one nation to look for disinterested favours from another; that it must pay with a portion of its independence for whatever it may accept under that character; that, by such acceptance, it may place itself in the condition of having given equivalents for nominal favours, and yet of being reproached with ingratitude for not giving more. There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favours from nation to nation. 'Tis an illusion which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.

"IN offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course which has hitherto marked the destiny of [160] nations: but, if I may even flatter myself, that they may be productive of some partial benefit, some occasional good; that they may now and then recur to moderate the fury of party spirit; to warn against the mischiefs of foreign intrigues; to guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism; this hope will be a full recompense for the solicitude for your welfare, by which they have been dictated.

"HOW far, in the discharge of my official duties, I have been guided by the principles which have been delineated, the public records and other evidences of my conduct must witness to you and to the world. To myself, the assurance of my own conscience is, that I have, at least, believed myself to be guided by them.

"IN relation to the still subsisting war in Europe, my proclamation of the 22d of April, 1793, is the index to my plan. Sanctioned by your approving voice, and by that of your representatives in both houses of congress, the spirit of that measure has continually governed me, uninfluenced by any attempts to deter or divert me from it.

"AFTER deliberate examination, with the aid of the best lights I could obtain, I was well satisfied that our country, under all the circumstances of the case, had a right to take, and was bound in duty and interest to take, a neutral position. Having taken it, I determined, as far as should depend upon me, to maintain it with moderation, perseverance, and firmness.

"THE considerations which respect the right to hold this conduct, it is not necessary on this occasion to detail. I will only observe, that, according to my understanding of the matter, that right, so far from being denied by any of the belligerent powers, has been virtually admitted by all.

"THE duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred, without any thing more,from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity towards other nations.

[161] "THE inducements of interest for observing that conduct will best be referred to your own reflections and experience. With me, a predominate motive has been to endeavour to gain time to our country to settle and mature its yet recent institutions, and to progress without interruption to that degree of strength and consistency, which is necessary to give it, humanly speaking, the command of its own fortunes.

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

"RELYING on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views in it the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations, I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government—the ever favourite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labours, and dangers.


United States,
17th Sept. 1796"

[162] THE appearance of this piece in the gazettes of the U. States, struck every where a damp on the spirits of the people. To be thus bidden farewell by one to whom in every time of danger they had so long and so fondly looked up as under God their surest and safest friend, could not but prove to them a grievous shock. Indeed many could not refrain from tears, especially when, they came to that part where he talked of being soon to be "consigned to the mansions of rest."

DURING the next and last session that he ever met congress, which was on the 7th of December, 1796, he laboured hard to induce that honorable body instantly to set about the following public works, which, to him, appeared all important to the nation.

1st. Societies and institutions for the improvement of agriculture.

2d. A navy.

3d. A military academy.

4th. A manufactory of arms.

5th. A national university.

ON the 4th of March, 1797, he took his last leave of Philadelphia. Having ever been that enlightened and virtuous republican, who deems it the first of duties to honour the man whom the majority of his countrymen had chosen to honour, Washington could not think of going away, until he had first paid his respects to the man of their choice. It was this that retarded his journey—it was this that brought him to the senate chamber.

ABOUT eleven o'clock, while the members of congress with numbers of the first characters were assembled in the senate hall, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Mr. Adams, a modest rap was heard at the door. Supposing it to be the president elect, the attention of all was turned to the entry, when, lo! instead of Mr. Adams and his suite, who should appear but the honoured and beloved form of Washington, without attendants, and in his plain travelling dress! Instantly, the joy of filial love sprung up in all hearts, [163] glowed in each face, and bursted forth in plaudits involuntary from every tongue. Presently Mr. Adams entered with his attendants, but passed on in great measure unnoticed. The father of his country was in the presence of his children, and perhaps for the last time; who then could divide their attentions? Rivetted on his face was every glistening eye, while busy memory, flying, over the many toils and dangers of his patriot life, gave them up to those delicious thoughts from which no obtruder could break them without a sigh.

HAVING just waited to congratulate Mr. Adams on his inauguration, and very heartily to pray that "his government might prove a great joy to himself, and a blessing to his country," he hastened to Mount Vernon, to close in peace the short evening of this laborious life, and to wait for a better, even for that "rest which remaineth for the people of God."

HE carried with him the most fervent prayers of congress that "Heaven would pour its happiest sunshine on the decline of his days." But this their prayer was not fully answered. On the contrary, with respect to his country, at least, his evening sun went down under a cloud.

THE French directory, engaged in a furious war with England, turned to America for aid. But Washington, wisely dreading the effects of war on his young republic, and believing that she had an unquestioned right to neutrality, most strictly enjoined it on his people by proclamation. This so enraged the directory, that they presently gave orders to their cruizers, to seize American ships on the high seas—that equal path which God had spread for the nations to trade on! Washington had sent out general Charles C. Pinckney, to remonstrate against such iniquitous proceedings. The directory would not receive him! but still continued their spoliations on our wide-spread and defenceless commerce, ruining numbers of innocent families. Still determined, according to Washington's advice, "so to act as to make [164] our enemy in the wrong," the American government, dispatched two other envoys, Marshall and Gerry, to aid Pinckney. But they fared no better. Though they only supplicated for peace! though they only prayed to be permitted to make explanations, they were still kept by the directory at a most mortifying distance, and, after all, were told, that America was not to look for a single smile of reconciliation, nor even a word on that subject, until her envoys should bring large tribute in their hands!! This, as Washington had predicted, instantly evaporated the last drop of American patience. He had always said, that "though some very interested or deluded persons were much too fond of England and France to value America as they ought, yet he was firmly persuaded that the great mass of the people were hearty lovers of their country, and, soon as their eyes were open to the grievous injuries done her, would assuredly resent them, like men, to whom God had given strong feelings, on purpose to guard their rights."

HIS prediction was gloriously verified. For, on hearing the word tribute, the American envoys instantly took fire!! while the brave Gen. Pinckney, (a revolutionary soldier, and neither Englishman nor Frenchman, but a true American,) indignantly exclaimed to the secretary of the directory—"Tribute sir! no, sir! the Americans pay no tribute! tell the directory that we will give millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute."

SSOON as this demand of the directory was told in America, the glorious spirit of '76 was kindled like a flash of lightning, from St. Mary's to Maine. "What!" said the people every where, "shall we! shall Americans! who, rather than pay an unconstitutional three-penny tax on tea, bravely encountered a bloody war with Britain, now tamely yield to France to beggar us at pleasure! No! Millions for defence, but not a cent for tribute" was nobly reverberated throughout the continent.

[165] WAR being now fully expected, the eyes of the nation were instantly turned towards Washington, to head her armies against the powers of France. He readily consented; but, at the same time, observed that there would be no war. "The directory," said he, "though mad enough to do almost any thing, are yet not quite so mad as to venture an attack when they shall find that the spirit of the nation is up." The event showed the usual correctness of his judgment; for, on discovering that America, though very willing to be the sister, had no notion of being the slave of France—on learning that Washington was roused, and the strength of the nation rallying around him—and also that the American tars, led on by the gallant Truxtun, had spread the fiery stars of liberty, blasting on every sea their sickly fleurs-de-luce of gallic piracy, the directory very sagaciously signified a disposition to accommodate. Mr. Adams immediately pushed oft three new envoys to the French republic. By the time they got there the French republic was no more!! Bonaparte, believing that volatile people incapable of governing for themselves, had kindly undertaken to govern for them; and having, en passant, kicked the directory from their seats, he seized their ill-managed power, and very leisurely mounted, the throne of the Louis. Dazzled with the splendor of his talents and victories, the great nation quietly yielded to his reign, and, with a happy versatility peculiar to themselves, exchanged the tumultuous and bloody "Ca ira" for the milder notes of "vive l'empereur." With this wonderful man, the American envoys found no difficulty to negotiate; for, having no wish to re-unite America to his hated enemy, Britain, he received them very graciously, and presently settled all their claims in a satisfactory manner. Thus lovingly did the breath of God blow away once more the black cloud of war, and restore the bright day of peace to our favoured land! But Washington never lived to re- [166] joice with his countrymen in the sunshine of that peace; for before it reached our shores, he had closed his eyes for ever on all mortal things."


And when disease obstructs the labouring breath.
When the heart sickens and each pulse is death,
Even then religion shall sustain the just,
Grace their last moments, nor desert their dust.

IF the prayers of millions could have prevailed, Washington would have been immortal on earth. And if fulness of peace, riches, and honours could have rendered that immortality happy, Washington had been blessed indeed. But this world is not the place of true happiness. Though numberless are the satisfactions, which a prudence and virtue like Washington's may enjoy in this world, yet they fall short, infinite degrees, of that pure, unembittered felicity, which the Almighty parent has prepared in heaven for the spirits of the just.

To prepare for this immensity of bliss, is the real errand on which God sent us into the world. Our preparation consists in acquiring those great virtues, purity and love, which alone can make us worthy companions of angels, and fit partakers of their exalted delights. Washington had wisely spent life in acquiring the IMMORTAL VIRTUES. "He had fought the good fight" against his own unreasonable affections; he had glorified God, by exemplifying the charms of virtue to men; he had borne the heat and burden of the day—his great day of duty; and the evening (of old age) being come, the servant of God [167] must now go to receive his wages. Happy Washington! If crowns and kingdoms could have purchased such peace as thine, such hopes big with immortality, with what begging earnestness would crowns and kingdoms have been offered by the mighty conquerors of the earth, in their dying moments of terror and despair!

ON the 14th of December, 1799 (when he wanted but 9 weeks and 2 days of being 68 years old), he rode out to his mill, 3 miles distant. The day was raw and rainy. The following night he was attacked with a violent pain and inflammation of the throat. The lancet of one of his domestics was employed, but with no advantage. Early in the morning, Dr. Craik, the friend and physician of his youth and age, was sent for. Alarmed at the least appearance of danger threatening a life so dear to him, Dr. Craik advised to call in, immediately, the consulting assistance of his friends, the ingenious and learned Drs. Dick, of Alexandria, and Brown, of Port Tobacco. They came on the wings of speed. They felt the awfulness of their situation. The greatest of human beings was lying low: a life, of all others the most revered, the most beloved, was at stake. And if human skill could have saved—if the sword of genius, and the buckler of experience could have turned the stroke of death, Washington had still lived. But his hour was come.

IT appears, that, from the commencement of the attack, he was favoured with a presentiment, that he was now laid down to rise no more. He took, however, the medicines that were offered him, but it was principally from a sense of duty.

IT has been said that a man's death, is generally a copy of his life. It was Washington's case exactly. In his last illness he behaved with the firmness of a soldier, and the resignation of a christian.

THE inflammation in his throat was attended with great pain, which he bore with the fortitude that became him. He was, once or twice, heard to say [168] that, had it pleased God, he should have been glad to die a little easier; but that he doubted not that it was for his good.

EVERY hour now spread a sadder gloom over the scene. Despair sat on the faces of the physicians; for they saw that their art had failed! The strength of the mighty was departing from him; and death, with his sad harbingers, chills and paleness, was coming on apace.

MOUNT VERNON, which had long shone the queen of elegant joys, was now about to suffer a sad eclipse! an eclipse, which would soon be mournfully visible, not only through the United States, but throughout the whole world.

SONS and daughters of Columbia, gather yourselves together around the bed of your expiring father—around the last bed of him to whom under God you and your children owe many of the best blessings of this life. When Joseph the prime minister of Egypt heard his shepherd father was sick, he hastened up, to see him; and fell on his face and kissed him, and wept a long while. But Joseph had never received such services from Jacob as you have received from Washington. But we call you not to weep for Washington. We ask you not to view those eyes, now sunk and hollow, which formerly darted their lightning flashes against your enemies—nor to feel that heart, now faintly labouring, which so often throbbed with more than mortal joys when he saw his young countrymen charging like lions, upon the foes of liberty. No! we call you not to weep, but to rejoice. Washington, who so often conquered himself, is now about to conquer the last enemy.

SILENT and sad, his physicians sat by his bedside, looking on him as he lay panting for breath. They thought on the past, and the tear swelled in their eyes. He marked it, and, stretching out his hand to them, and shaking his head, said, "O no! don't! don't!" then with a delightful smile added, "I am dying, gentlemen: but, thank God, I am not afraid to die."

[169] FEELING that the hour of his departure out of this world was at hand, he desired that every body would quit the room. They all went out, and according to his wish, left him—with his God.

THERE, by himself, like Moses alone on the top of Pisgah, he seeks the face of God. There, by himself, standing as on the awful boundary that divides time from eternity, that separates this world from the next, he cannot quit the long-frequented haunts of the one, nor launch away into the untried regions of the other, until (in humble imitation of the world's great Redeemer) he has poured forth into the bosom of his God those strong sensations which the solemnity of his situation naturally suggested.

WITH what angel fervour did he adore that Almighty Love, which, though inhabiting the heaven of heavens, deigned to wake his sleeping dust—framed him so fearfully in the womb—nursed him on a tender mother's breast—watched his helpless infancy—guarded his heedless youth—preserved him from the dominion of his passions—inspired him with the love of virtue—led him safely up to man—and, from such low beginnings, advanced him to such unparalleled usefulness and glory among men! These, and ten thousand other precious gifts heaped on him, unasked, many of them long before he had the knowledge to ask, overwhelmed his soul with gratitude unutterable, exalted to infinite heights his ideas of eternal love, and bade him without fear resign his departing spirit into the arms of his Redeemer God, whose mercies are over all his works.

HE is now about to leave the great family of man, in which he has so long sojourned. The yearnings of his soul are over his brethren! How fervently does he adore that goodness, which enabled him to be so serviceable to them! That grace which preserved him from injuring them by violence or fraud! How fervently does he pray that the unsuffering kingdom of God may come, and that the earth may be fill-[170] ed with the richest fruits of righteousness and peace!

HE is now about to leave his country! that dear spot which gave him birth—that dear spot for which he has so long watched and prayed, so long toiled and fought; and whose beloved children he has so often sought to gather, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings. He sees them now spread abroad like flocks in goodly pastures; like favoured Israel in the land of promise. He remembers how God, by a mighty hand, and by an out-stretched arm, brought their fathers into this good land, a land flowing with milk and honey: and blessed them with the blessings of heaven above, and the earth beneath; with the blessings of LIBERTY and of PEACE, of RELIGION and of LAWS, above all other people. He sees that, through the rich mercies of God, they have now the precious opportunity to continue their country the glory of the earth, and a refuge for the poor and for the persecuted of all lands! The transporting sight of such a cloud of blessings, trembling close over the heads of his countrymen, together with the distressing uncertainty whether they will put forth their hands and enjoy them, shakes the parent soul of Washington with feelings too strong for his dying frame! The last tear that he is ever to shed now steals into his eye—the last groan that he is ever to heave is about to issue from his faintly labouring heart.

FEELING that the silver chord of life is loosing, and that his spirit is ready to quit her old companion the body, he extends himself on his bed—closes his eyes for the last time, with his own hands—folds his arms decently on his breast, then breathing out "Father of mercies! take mc to thyself"—he fell asleep.

SWIFT on angels' wings the brightening saint ascended; while voices more than human were heard (in Fancy's ear) warbling through the happy regions, and hymning the great procession towards the gates of heaven. His glorious coming was seen far off, and [171] myriads of mighty angels hastened forth, with golden harps, to welcome the honoured stranger. High in front of the shouting hosts, were seen the beauteous forms of FRANKLIN, WARREN, MERCER, SCAMMEL, and of him who fell at Quebec, with all the virtuous patriots, who, on the side of Columbia, toiled or bled for liberty and truth. But oh! how changed from what they were, when, in their days of flesh, bathed in sweat and blood, they fell at the parent feet of their weeping country! Not the homeliest infant suddenly springing into a soul-enchanting Hebe—not dreary winter, suddenly brightening into spring, with all her bloom and fragrance, ravishing the senses, could equal such glorious change. Oh! where are now their wrinkles and grey hairs? Where their ghastly wounds and clotted blood? Their forms are of the stature of angels—their robes like morning clouds streaked with gold—the stars of heaven, like crowns glitter on their heads—immortal youth, celestial rosy red, sits blooming on their cheeks; while infinite benignity and love beam from their eyes. Such were the forms of thy sons, O Columbia! such the brother band of thy martyred saints, that now poured forth from heaven's wide-opening gates, to meet thy Washington; to meet their beloved chief, who in the days of his mortality, had led their embattled squadrons to the war. At sight of him, even these blessed spirits seem to feel new raptures, and to look more dazzlingly bright. In joyous throngs they pour around him—they devour him with their eyes of love—they embrace him in transports of tenderness unutterable; while from their roseate cheeks, tears of joy, such as angels weep, roll down.

ALL that followed was too much for the over-dazzled eye of Imagination. She was seen to return, with the quick panting bosom and looks entranced of a fond mother, near swooning at sudden sight of a dear loved son, deemed lost, but now found, and raised to kingly honours! She was heard passionately to ex- [172] claim, with palms and eyes lifted to heaven, "O, who can count the stars of Jacob, or number the fourth part of the blessings of Israel!—Let me die the death of Washington, and may my latter end be like his!"

LET us now return to all that remained of Washington on the earth. He had expressly ordered in his will that he should be buried in a private manner, and without any parade. But this was impossible; for who could stay at home when it was said, "to-day general Washington is to be buried!" On the morning of the 18th, which was fixed on for his funeral, the people poured in by thousands to pay him the last respect, and, as they said, to take their last look. And, while they looked on him, nature stirred that at their hearts, which quickly brought the best blood into heir cheeks, and rolled down the tears from their eyes. About two o'clock, they bore him to his long home, and buried him in his own family vault, near the banks of the great Potomac. And to this day, often as the ships of war pass that way, they waken up the thunder of their loudest guns, pointed to the spot, as if to tell the sleeping hero that he is not forgotten in his narrow dwelling.

THE news of his death soon reached Philadelphia, where congress was then in session. A question of importance being on the carpet that day, the house, as usual, was much interested. But, soon as it was announced—"GENERAL WASHINGTON IS DEAD"—an instant stop was put to all business—the tongue of the orator was struck dumb—and a midnight silence ensued, save when it was interrupted by deepest sighs of the members, as, with drooping foreheads rested on their palms, they sat, each absorbed in mournful cogitation. Presently, as utterly unfit for business, both houses adjourned; and the members retired slow and sad to their lodgings, like men who had suddenly heard of the death of a father.

FOR several days hardly any thing was done in congress; hardly any thing thought of but to talk of and to praise the departed Washington. In [173] this patriotic work all parties joined with equal alacrity and earnestness. In this all were federalists, all were republicans. Elegant addresses were exchanged between the two houses of congress and the president, and all of them replete with genius and gratitude.

THEN, by unanimous consent, congress came to the following resolutions:

1st. THAT a grand marble monument should be erected at the city of Washington, under which, with permission of his lady, the body of the general should be deposited.

2d. THAT there should be a funeral procession from congress hall to the German Lutheran church to hear an oration delivered by one of the members of congress.

3d. THAT the members of congress should wear full mourning during the session.

4th. THAT it should be recommended to the people of the United States, to wear crape on the left arm, as mourning, for 30 days.

BUT, thank God, the people of the United States needed not the hint contained in the last resolution. Though they could not all very elegantly speak, yet their actions showed that they all very deeply felt what they owed to Washington. For in every city, village, and hamlet, the people were so struck on hearing of his death, that long before they heard of the resolution of congress, they ran together to ease their troubled minds in talking and hearing talk of Washington, and to devise some public mode of testifying their sorrow for his death. Every where throughout the continent, churches and court houses were hung in black, mourning was put on, processions were made, and sermons preached, while the crowded houses listened with pleasure to the praises of Washington, or sighed and wept when they heard of his toils and battles for his country.



Let the poor witling argue all he can,
It is Religion still that makes the man.

WHEN the children of the years to come, hearing his great name re-echoed from every lip, shall say to their fathers, "what was it that raised Washington to such height of glory?" let them be told that it was HIS GREAT TALENTS, CONSTANTLY GUIDED AND GUARDED BY RELIGION. For how shall man, frail man, prone to inglorious ease and pleasure, ever ascend the arduous steps of virtue, unless animated by the mighty hopes of religion? Or what shall stop him in his swift descent to infamy and vice, if unawed by that dread power which proclaims to the guilty that their secret crimes are seen, and shall not go unpunished? Hence the wise, in all ages, have pronounced, that "there never was a truly great man without religion."

THERE have, indeed, been courageous generals, and cunning statesmen, without religion, but mere courage or cunning, however paramount, never yet made a man great.

"ADMIT that this can conquer, that can cheat!
'Tis phrase absurd to call a villain great!
Who wickedly is wise, or madly brave,
Is but the more a fool, the more a knave."

No! to be truly great, a man must have not only great talents, but those talents must be constantly exerted on great, i. e. good actions—and perseveringly too—for if he should turn aside to vice—farewell to his heroism. Hence, when Epaminondas was asked which was the greatest man, himself or Pelopidas? he replied, "wait till we are dead: meaning that the all [175] of heroism depends on perseverance in great good actions. But, sensual and grovelling as man is, what can incline and elevate him to those things like religion, that divine power, to whom alone it belongs to present those vast and eternal goods and ills which best alarm our fears, enrapture our hopes, inflame the worthiest loves, rouse the truest avarice, and in short touch every spring and passion of our souls in favour of virtue and noble actions.

DID SHAME restrain Alcibiades from a base action in the presence of Socrates? "Behold," says religion, "a greater than Socrates is here!"

DID LOVE embolden Jacob to brave fourteen years of slavery for an earthly beauty? Religion springs that eternal love, for whose sake good men can even glory in laborious duties.

DID the ambition of a civic crown animate Scipio to heroic deeds? Religion holds a crown, at the sight of which the laurels of a Caesar droop to weeds.

DIS avarice urge Cortez through a thousand toils and dangers for wealth? Religion points to those treasures in heaven, compared to which all diamond beds and mines of massy gold are but trash.

DIS good Aurelius study the happiness of his subjects for this world's glory? Religion displays that world of glory, where those who have laboured to make others happy, shall "shine like stars for ever and ever."

DOES the FEAR of death deter man from horrid crimes? Religion adds infinite horrors to that fear—it warns them of a death both of soul and body in hell.

IN short, what motives under heaven can restrain men from vices and crimes, and urge them on, full stretch, after individual and national happiness, like those of religion? For lack of these motives, alas! how many who once dazzled the world with the glare of their exploits, are now eclipsed and set to rise no more!

THERE was Arnold, who, in courage and military talents, glittered in the same firmament with Wash- [176] ington, and, for a while, his face shone like the star of the morning; but alas! for lack of Washington's religion, he soon fell, like Lucifer, from a heaven of glory, into an abyss of never-ending infamy.

AND there was general Charles Lee, too, confessedly a great wit, a great scholar, a great soldier, but, after all, not a great man. For, through lack of that magnanimous benevolence which religion inspires, he fell into the vile state of envy, and, on the plains of Monmouth, rather than fight to immortalize Washington, he chose to retreat and disgrace himself.

THERE was the gallant general Hamilton also—a gigantic genius—a statesman fit to rule the mightiest monarchy—a soldier "fit to stand by Washington, and give command." But alas! for lack of religion, see how all was lost! preferring the praise of man to that praise "which cometh from God," and pursuing the phantom honour up to the pistol's mouth, he is cut off at once from life and greatness, and leaves his family and country to mourn his hapless fate.

AND there was the fascinating colonel Burr. A man born to be greet—brave as Caesar, polished as Chesterfield, eloquent as Cicero, and, lifted by the strong arm of his country, he rose fast, and bade fair soon to fill the place where Washington had sat. But, alas! lacking religion, he could not wait the spontaneous fall of the rich honours ripening over his head, but in evil hour stretched forth his hand to the forbidden fruit, and by that fatal act was cast out from the Eden of our republic, and amerced of greatness for ever.

BUT why should I summon the Arnolds and Lees, the Hamiltons and Burrs of the earth to give sad evidence, that no valour, no genius alone can make men great? do we not daily meet with instances, of youth amiable and promising as their fond parents' wishes, who yet, merely for lack of religion, soon make shipwreck of every precious hope, sacrificing their gold to gamblers, their health to harlots, [177] and their glory to grog—making conscience their curse, this life a purgatory, and the next a hell!! In fact, a young man, though of the finest talents and education, without religion, is but like a gorgeous ship without ballast. Highly painted and with flowing canvas, she launches out on the deep; and, during a smooth sea and gentle breeze, she moves along stately as the pride of ocean; but, as soon as the stormy winds descend, and the blackening billows begin to roll, suddenly she is overset, and disappears for ever. But who is this coming, thus gloriously along, with masts towering to heaven, and his sails white, looming like the mountain of snows? Who is it but "Columbia's first and greatest son!" whose talents, like the sails of a mighty ship spread far and wide, catching the gales of heaven, while his capacious soul, stored with the rich ballast of religion, remains firm and unshaken as the ponderous rock. The warm zephyrs of prosperity breathe meltingly upon him—the rough storms of adversity descend—the big billows of affliction dash, but nothing can move him; his eye is fixed on God! the present joys of an approving conscience, and the hope of that glory which fadeth not away; these comfort and support him.

"THERE exists," says Washington, "in the economy of nature, an inseparable connexion between duty and advantage."—The whole life of this great man bears glorious witness to the truth of this his favourite aphorism. At the giddy age of fourteen, when the spirits of youth are all on tiptoe for freedom and adventures, he felt a strong desire to go to sea; but, very opposite to his wishes, his mother declared that she could not bear to part with him. His trial must have been very severe; for I have been told that a midshipman's commission was actually in his pocket—his trunk of clothes on board the ship—his honour in some sort pledged—his young companions importunate with him to go—and his whole soul panting for the promised pleasures of the voyage; but [178] religion whispered "honour thy mother, and grieve not the spirit of her who bore thee."

INSTANTLY the glorious boy sacrificed inclination to duty—dropt all thoughts of the voyage, and gave tears of joy to his widowed mother, in clasping to her bosom a dear child who could deny himself to make her happy.

'TIS said, that, when he saw the last boat going on board, with several of his youthful friends in it—when he saw the flash and heard the report of the signal gun for sailing, and the ship in all her pride of canvas rounding off for sea, he could not bear it, but turned away, and, half choaked with grief, went into the room where his mother sat. "George, my dear," said she, "have you already repented that you made your mother so happy just now?" Upon this, falling on her bosom, with his arms round her neck, and a gush of tears, he said, "my dear mother, I must not deny that I am sorry; but, indeed, I feel that I should be much more sorry, were I on board the ship, and knew that you were unhappy."

"WELL," replied she embracing him tenderly, "God, I hope, will reward my dear boy for this, some day or other." Now see here, young reader, and learn that he who prescribes our duty, is able to reward it. Had George left his fond mother to a broken heart, and gone off to sea, 'tis next to certain that he would never have taken that active part in the French and Indian war, which, by securing to him the hearts of his countrymen, paved the way for all his future greatness.

NOW for another instance of the wonderful effect of religion on Washington's fortune. Shortly after returning from the war of Cuba, Lawrence (his half brother) was taken with the consumption, which made him so excessively fretful, that his own brother, Augustin, would seldom come near him. But George, whose heart was early under the softening and sweetening influences of religion, felt, such a tenderness for his poor sick brother, that he not [179] only put up with his peevishness, but seemed, from what I have been told, never so happy as when he was with him. He accompanied him to the island of Bermuda, in quest of health—and, after their return to Mount Vernon, often as his duty to lord Fairfax permitted, he would come down from the back woods to see him. And while with him he was always contriving or doing something to cheer and comfort his brother. Sometimes with his gun he would go out in quest of partridges and snipes, and other fine flavoured game, to tempt his brother's sickly appetite, and gain him strength. At other times he would sit for hours and read to him some entertaining book—and, when his cough came on, he would support his drooping head, and wipe the cold dew from his forehead, or the phlegm from his lips, and give him his medicine, or smooth his pillow; and all with such alacrity and artless tenderness as proved the sweetest cordial to his brother's spirits. For he was often heard to say to the Fairfax family, into which he married, that "he should think nothing of his sickness, if he could but always have his brother George with him." Well, what was the consequence? Why, when Lawrence came to die, he left almost the whole of his large estate to George, which served as another noble step to his future greatness.

FOR further proof of "the inseparable connexion between duty and advantage," let us look at Washington's conduct through the French and Indian war. To a man of his uncommon military mind, and skill in the arts of Indian warfare, the pride and precipitance of general Braddock must have been excessively disgusting and disheartening. But we hear nothing of his threatening either to leave or supplant Braddock. On the contrary, he nobly brooked his rude manners, gallantly obeyed his rash orders, and, as far as in him lay, endeavoured to correct their fatal tendencies.

AND, after the death of Braddock, and the desertion of Dunbar, that weak old man, governor Dinwiddie, [180] added infinitely to his hardships and hazards, by appointing him to the defence of the frontiers, and yet withholding the necessary forces and supplies. But though by that means, the western country was continually overrun by the enemy, and cruelly deluged in blood—though much wearied in body by marchings and watchings, and worse tortured in soul, by the murders and desolations of the inhabitants, he shrinks not from duty—still seeking the smiles of conscience as his greatest good; and as the sorest evil, dreading its frowns, he bravely maintained his ground, and, after three years of unequalled dangers and difficulties, succeeded.

WELL, what was the consequence? why it drew upon him, from his admiring countrymen, such an unbounded confidence in his principles and patriotism, as secured to him the command of the American armies, in the revolutionary war!

AND there again the connexion between"duty and advantage" was as gloriously displayed. For though congress was, in legal and political knowledge an enlightened body, and for patriotism equal to the senators of Republican Rome, yet certainly in military matters they were no more to be compared to him, than those others were to Hannibal. But still, though they were constantly thwarting his counsels, and in place of good soldiers sending him raw militia, thus compelling inactivity, or ensuring defeat—dragging out the war—dispiriting the nation—and disgracing him, yet we hear from him no gusts of passion; no dark intrigues to supplant congress, and, with the help of an idolizing nation and army, to snatch the power from their hands, and make himself king. On the contrary, he continues to treat congress as a virtuous son his respected parents. He points out wiser measures, but in defect of their adoption, makes the best use of those they give him, and at length, through the mighty blessing of God, established the independence of his country, and then went back to his plough.

[181] WELL, what was the consequence? why, these noble acts so completely filled up the measure of his country's love for him, as to give him that first of all felicities, the felicity to be the guardian angel of his country, and able by the magic of his name, to scatter every cloud of danger that gathered over her head.

FOR example, at the close of the war, when the army, about to be disbanded without their wages, was wrought up to such a pitch of discontent and rage, as seriously to threaten civil war, see the wonderful influence which their love for him gave him over themselves! In the height of their passion, and that a very natural passion too, he but makes a short speech to them, and the storm is laid! the tumult subsides! and the soldiers, after all their hardships, consent to ground their arms, and return home without a penny in their pockets!!!

ALSO, in that very alarming dispute between Vermont and Pennsylvania, where the furious parties, in spite of all the efforts of congress and their governors, had actually shouldered their guns, and were dragging on their cannon for a bloody fight—Washington only dropt them a few lines of his advice, and instantly they faced about for their homes, and laying by their weapons, seized their ploughs again, like dutiful children, on whose kindling passions a beloved father had shaken his hoary locks!!

AND, in the western counties of Pennsylvania, where certain blind patriots, affecting to strain at the gnat of a small excise, but ready enough to swallow the hellish camel of rebellion, had kindled the flames of civil war, and thrown the whole nation into a tremor, Washington had just to send around a circular to the people of the union, stating the infinite importance of maintaining the SACRED REIGN OF THE LAWS, and instantly twenty thousand well-armed volunteers dashed out among the insurgents, and without shedding a drop of blood, extinguished the insurrection!

[182] In short, it were endless to enumerate the many horrid insurrections and bloody wars which were saved to this country by Washington, and all through the divine force of early religion! for it was this that enabled him inflexibly to do his duty, by imitating God in his glorious works of wisdom and benevolence; and all the rest followed as naturally as light follows the sun.

WE have seen at page 17 of this little work, with what pleasure the youthful Washington hung upon his father's lips, while descanting on the adorable wisdom and benevolent designs of God in all parts of this beautiful and harmonious creation. By such lessons in the book of nature, this virtuous youth was easily prepared for the far higher and surer lectures of revelation, I mean that blessed gospel which contains the moral philosophy of heaven. There he learnt, that "God is love"—and that all that he desires, with respect to men, is to glorify himself in their happiness—and since VIRTUE is indispensable to that happiness, the infinite and eternal weight of God's attributes must be for virtue, and against vice; and consequently that God will sooner or later gloriously reward the one and punish the other. This was the creed of Washington. And looking on it as the only basis of human virtue and happiness, he very cordially embraced it himself, and wished for nothing so much as to see all others embrace it.

I have often been told by colonel Ben Temple, (of King William county, Virginia), who was one of his aids in the French and Indian war, that he has frequently known Washington, on the sabbath, read the scriptures and pray with his regiment, in the absence of the chaplain; and also that, on sudden and unexpected visits into his marquee, he has, more than once, found him on his knees at his devotions.

THE Reverend Mr. Lee Massey, long a rector of Washington's parish, and from early life his intimate, has assured me a thousand times, that "he never [183] knew so constant a churchman as Washington. And his behaviour in the house of God," added my reverend friend, "was so deeply reverential, that it produced the happiest effects on my congregation, and greatly assisted me in my moralizing labours. No company ever kept him from church. I have been many a time at Mount Vernon on the sabbath morning, when his breakfast table was filled with guests. But to him they furnished no pretext for neglecting his God, and losing the satisfaction of setting a good example. For instead of staying at home out of a false complaisance to them, he used constantly to invite them to accompany him."

HIS secretary, judge Harrison, has frequently been heard to say, that, "whenever the general would be spared from camp on the sabbath, he never failed riding out to some neighbouring church, to join those who were publicly worshipping the Great Creator."

AND while he resided at Philadelphia, as president of the United States, his constant and cheerful attendance on divine service was such as to convince every reflecting mind that he deemed no levee so honourable as that of his Almighty Maker; no pleasures equal to those of devotion; and no business a sufficient excuse for neglecting his supreme benefactor.

IN the winter of '77, while Washington, with the American army lay encamped at Valley Forge, a certain good old friend, of the respectable family and name of Potts, if I mistake not, had occasion to pass through the woods near head-quarters. Treading his way along the venerable grove, suddenly he heard the sound of a human voice, which as he advanced increased on his ear, and at length became like the voice of one speaking much in earnest. As he approached the spot with a cautious step, whom should he behold, in a dark natural bower of ancient oaks, but the commander in chief of the American [184] armies on his knees at prayer! Motionless with surprise, friend Potts continued on the place till the general, having ended his devotions, arose, and, with a countenance of angel serenity, retired to headquarters: friend Potts then went home, and on entering his parlour called out to his wife, "Sarah, my dear! Sarah! All's well! all's well! George Washington will yet prevail!"

"WHAT'S the matter, Isaac?" replied she; "thee seems moved."

"WELL, if I seem moved, 'tis no more than what I am. I have this day seen what I never expected. Thee knows that I always thought the sword and the gospel utterly inconsistent; and that no man could be a soldier and a christian at the same time. But George Washington has this day convinced me of my mistake."

HE then related what he had seen, and concluded with this prophetical remark—"If George Washington be not a mm of God, I am greatly deceived—and still more shall I be deceived if God do not, through him, work out a great salvation for America."

WHEN he was told that the British troops at Lexington, on the memorable 19th of April, 1775, had fired on and killed several of the Americans, he replied, "I grieve for the death of my countrymen, but rejoice that the British are still so determined to keep God on our side," alluding to that noble sentiment which he has since so happily expressed; viz. "The smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."

WHEN called by his country in 1775, to lead her free-born sons against the arms of Britain, what charming modesty, what noble self-distrust, what pious confidence in Heaven, appeared in all his answers. "My diffidence in my own abilities, says he, was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause and the patronage of Heaven."

[185] AND when called to the presidency by the unanimous voice of the nation, thanking him for his great services past, with anticipations of equally great to come, his answer deserves approbation.

"WHEN I contemplate the interposition of Providence, as it was visibly manifested in guiding us through the revolution, in preparing us for the reception of a general government, and in conciliating the good will of the people of America towards one another after its adoption; I feel myself oppressed and almost overwhelmed with a sense of the divine munificence. I feel that nothing is due to my personal agency in all those complicated and wonderful events, except what can simply be attributed to the exertions of an honest zeal for the good of my country."

AND when he presented himself for the first time before that august body, the congress of the U. States, April 30th, 1789—when he saw before him the pride of Columbia in her chosen sons, assembled to consult how best to strengthen the chain of love between the states—to preserve friendship and harmony with foreign powers—to secure the blessings of civil and religious liberty—and to build up our young republic a great and happy people among the nations of the earth—never patriot entered on such important business with fairer hopes, whether we consider the unanimity and confidence of the citizens, or his own and the abilities and virtues of his fellow-counsellors.

BUT all this would not do; nothing short of the divine friendship could satisfy Washington. Feeling the magnitude, difficulty, and danger of managing such an assemblage of communities and interests; dreading the machinations of bad men, and well knowing the insufficiency of all second causes, even the best; he piously reminds congress of the wisdom of imploring the benediction of the great first Cause, without which he knew that his beloved country could never prosper.

[186] "It would," says he, "be peculiarly improper to omit, in this first official act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe; who presides in the councils of nations; and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States, a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the great Author of every public and private good, I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large less than either. No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me, I trust, in thinking, that there are none, under the influence of which the proceedings of a new and free government can more auspiciously commence."

AND after having come near to the close of this the most sensible and virtuous speech ever made to a sensible and virtuous representation of a free people, he adds—"I shall take my present leave: but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the human race in humble supplication, that, since he has been pleased to favour the American people with opportunities for deliberating with perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity, on a form of government for the security of their union, and the advancement of their happiness; so his divine bless- [187] ings may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures, on which the success of this government must depend."

IN this constant disposition to look for national happiness only in national morals, flowing from the sublime affections and blessed hopes of religion, Washington agreed with those great legislators of nations, Moses, Lycurgus, and Numa. "I ask not gold for Spartans" said Lycurgus: "virtue is better than all gold." The event showed his wisdom. The Spartans were invincible all the days of their own virtue, even 500 years.

"I ASK not wealth for Israel," cried Moses.—"But O that they were wise!—that they did but fear God and keep his commandments! the Lord himself would be their sun and shield." The event proved Moses a true prophet. For while they were religious they were unconquerable. "United as brothers, swift as eagles, stronger than lions, one could chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight."

"OF all the dispositions and habits which lead to the prosperity of a nation," says Washington, "religion is the indispensable support. Volumes could not trace all its connexions with private and public happiness. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life itself, if there be no fear of God on the minds of those who give their oaths in courts of justice!"

BUT some will tell us, that human laws are sufficient for the purpose!

HUMAN laws!—Human nonsense! For how often, even where the cries and screams of the wretched called aloud for lightning-speeded vengeance, have we not seen the sword of human law loiter in its coward scabbard, afraid of angry royalty? Did not that vile queen Jezebel, having a mind to compliment her husband with a vineyard belonging to poor Naboth, suborn a couple of villains to take a false oath against him, and then cause him to be dragged out [188] with his little motherless, crying babes, and barbarously stoned to death?

GREAT GOD! what bloody tragedies have been acted on the poor ones of the earth, by kings and great men, who were above the laws, and had no sense of religion to keep them in awe! And if men be not above the laws, yet what horrid crimes! what ruinous robberies! what wide-wasting flames! what cruel murders may they not commit in secret, if they be not withheld by the sacred arm of religion! "In vain, therefore," says WASHINGTON, "would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should do any thing to discountenance religion and morality, those great pillars of human happiness, those firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and cherish them."

BUT others have said, and with a serious face too, that a sense of honour, is sufficient to preserve men from base actions! O blasphemy to sense! Do we not daily hear of men of honour, by dice and cards, draining their fellow-citizens of the last cent, reducing them to a dung-hill, or driving them to a pistol? Do we not daily hear of men of honour corrupting their neighbours' wives and daughters, and then murdering their husbands and brothers in duels? Bind such selfish, such inhuman beings, by a sense of honour!! Why not bind roaring lions with cobwebs? "No," exclaims Washington, "whatever a sense of honour may do on men of refined education, and on minds of a peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail, in exclusion of religious principles."

AND truly Washington had abundant reason, from his own happy experience, to recommend religion so heartily to others.

FOR besides all those inestimable favours which he received from her at the hands of her celestial daughters, the Virtues; she threw over him her own magic mantle of Character. And it was this that immorta- [189] lized Washington. By inspiring his countrymen with the profoundest veneration for him as the best of men, it naturally smoothed his way to supreme command; so that when War, that monster of hell, came on roaring against America, with all his death's heads and garments rolled in blood, the nation unanimously placed Washington at the head of their armies, from a natural persuasion that so good a man must be the peculiar favourite of Heaven, and the fastest friend of his country. How far this precious instinct in favour of goodness was correct, or how far Washington's conduct was honourable to religion and glorious to himself and country, bright ages to come, and happy millions yet unborn, will, we hope, declare.


This only can the bliss bestow
Immortal souls should prove;
From one short word all pleasures flow,
That blessed word is—LOVE.

IF ever man rejoiced in the divine administration, and cordially endeavoured to imitate it by doing-good, George Washington was that man. Taught by religion that "God is love," he wisely concluded those the most happy, who love the most; and, taught by experience, that it is love alone that gives a participation and interest in others, capacitating us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to weep with those who weep, he early studied that benevolence which rendered him so singularly the delight of all mankind.

[190] THE marquis De Chastellux, who visited him in camp, tells us that he was "astonished and delighted to see this great American living among his officers and men as a father among his children, who at once revered and loved him with a filial tenderness."

BRISSOT, another famous French traveller, assures us, that, throughout the continent, every body spoke of Washington as of a father."

THAT dearest and best of all appellations, "the father of his country" was the natural fruit of that benevolence which he so carefully cultivated through life. A singular instance of which we meet with in 1754, and the 22d year of his age.

HE was stationed at Alexandria with his regiment, the only one in the colony, and of which he was colonel. There happened at this time to be an election in Alexandria for members of assembly, and the contest ran high between colonel George Fairfax, and Mr. Elzey. Washington was the warm friend of Fairfax, and a Mr. Payne headed the friends of Elzey. A dispute happening to take place in the courthouse-yard, Washington, a thing very uncommon with him, got warm, and, which was still more uncommon, said something that offended Payne; whereupon the little gentleman, who, though but a cub in size, was the old lion in heart, raised his sturdy hickory, and, at a single blow, brought our hero to the ground. Several of Washington's officers being present, whipped out their cold irons in an instant, and it was believed that there would have been murder off-hand. To make bad worse, his regiment, hearing how he had been treated, bolted out from their barracks, with every man his weapon in his hand, threatening dreadful vengeance on those who had dared to knock down their beloved colonel. Happily for Mr. Payne and his party, Washington recovered, time enough to go out and meet his enraged soldiers; and, after thanking them for this expression of their love, and assuring them that he [191] was not hurt in the least, he begged them, as they loved him or their duty, to return peaceably to their barracks. As for himself, he went to his room, generously chastising his imprudence, which had thus struck up a spark, that had like to have thrown the whole town into a flame. Finding on mature reflection, that he had been the aggressor, he resolved to make Mr. Payne honourable reparation, by asking his pardon on the morrow! No sooner had he made this noble resolution, than recovering that delicious gaiety which accompanies good purposes in a virtuous mind, he went to a ball that night, and behaved as pleasantly as though nothing had happened! Glorious proof that great souls, like great ships, are not affected by those little puffs which would overset feeble minds with passion, or sink them with spleen!

THE next day he went to a tavern, and wrote a polite note to Mr. Payne, whom he requested to meet him. Mr. Payne took it for a challenge, and repaired to the tavern, not without expecting to see a pair of pistols produced. But what was his surprise on entering the chamber, to see a decanter of wine and glasses on the table! Washington arose, and in a very friendly manner met him, and gave him his hand. "Mr. Payne," said he "to err is nature; to rectify error is glory; I find I was wrong yesterday, but I wish to be right to-day. You have had some satisfaction; and if you think that sufficient here's my hand, let us be friends."

ADMIRABLE youth! Noble speech! No wonder, since it charms us so, that it had such an effect on Mr. Payne, who from that moment became the most ardent admirer and friend of Washington, and ready at any time, for his sake, to charge up to a battery of two and forty pounders.

WHAT a lesson for our young countrymen! Had Washington been one of the race of little men, how sadly different would have been his conduct on this occasion! Instead of going that night to the ball, and [192] acting the lively agreeable friend, he would, like an angry viper that had been trod on, have retired to his chamber. There he would have found no such entertainments as Washington had at this ball; no sprightly music, no delicious wines, no sweetly smiling friends; on the contrary, all the tortures of a soul brooding over its indignities, until reflection had whipped it up into pangs of rage unutterable, while all the demons of hell, with blood-stained torches pointing at his bleeding honour, cried out revenge! revenge! revenge! There in his chamber, he would have passed the gloomy night in preparing his pistols, moulding his bullets, or with furious looks driving them through the body of his enemy chalked on the wall. The next morning would have seen him on the field, and, in language lately heard in this state, calling out to his hated antagonist, You have injured vie, sir, beyond reconciliation, and by G—d, I'll kill you if I can. While his antagonist, in a style equally musical and christian, rejoins, Kill and be damned! Pop go the pistols—down tumbles one of the combatants; while the murderer with knocking knees and looks of Cain, flies from the avenger of blood! The murdered man is carried to his house, a ghastly, bloody corpse. Merciful God! what a scene ensues! some are stupified with horror, others sink lifeless to the floor. His tender sisters, wild-shrieking with despair, throw themselves on their dead brother, and kiss his ice-cold lips; while his aged parents, crushed under unutterable woe, go down in their snowy locks broken-hearted to the grave.

THUS bloody and miserable might have been the end of Washington or of Payne, had Washington been one of those poor deluded young men, who are determined to be great, and to be talked of in newspapers, in spite of God or devil. But Washington was not born to exemplify those horrid tragedies, which cowards create in society by pusillanimously giving way to their bad passions. No! he was born [193] to teach his countrymen what sweet peace and harmony might for ever smile in the habitations of men, if all had but the courage, like himself, to obey the sacred voice of JUSTICE and of HUMANITY. By firmly obeying these, he preserved his hands unstained by the blood of a fellow man; and his soul unharrowed by the cruel tooth of never-dying remorse. By firmly obeying these, he preserved a life, which, crowned with deeds of justice and benevolence, has brought more glory to God, more good to man, and more honour to himself, than any life ever lived since the race of man began.

SONS of Columbia! would you know what is true courage! see it defined, see it exemplified in this act of your great young countryman. Never man possessed a more undaunted courage, than Washington. But in him, this noble quality was the life-guard of his reason, not the assassin; a ready servant to obey her commands, not a bully to insult them; a champion to defend his neighbour's rights, not a tyrant to invade them. Transported by a sudden passion, to which all are liable, he offended Mr. Payne, who resented it rather too roughly, by knocking him down on the spot. Washington had it in his power to have taken ample revenge; and cowards, who have no command over their passions, would have done it: but duty forbade him, and he had the courage to obey. Reason whispered the folly of harbouring black passions in his soul, poisoning his peace; he instantly banished them, and went to a ball, to drink sweet streams of friendship from the eyes of happy friends. Again reason whispered him, that having been the aggressor, he ought to ask Payne's pardon, and make friends with him. In this also he had the courage to obey her sacred voice.

IN what history, ancient or modern, sacred or profane, can you find, in so young a man, only 22, such an instance of that TRUE HEROIC VALOUR which combats malignant passions—conquers unreasonable [194] self—rejects the hell of hatred, and invites the heaven of love into our own bosoms, and into those of our brethren with whom we may have had a falling out? Joseph forgiving his brethren in the land of Egypt; David sparing that inveterate seeker of his life, Saul; sir Walter Raleigh pardoning the young man who spit in his face; afford, it is true, charming specimens of the sublime and beautiful in action, and, certainly, such men are the worthies of the world, and brightest ornaments of human nature. But yet, none of them have gone beyond Washington in the affair of Payne.

A FEW years after this, Payne had a cause tried in Fairfax court. Washington happened on that day to be in the house. The lawyer on the other side, finding he was going fast to lee ward, thought he would luff up with a whole broadside at Payne's character; and, after raking him fore and aft with abuse, he artfully bore away under the lee of the jury's prejudices, which he endeavoured to inflame against him." Yes, please your worships," continued he, "as a proof that this Payne is a most turbulent fellow, and capable of all I tell you, be pleased to remember, gentlemen of the jury, that this is the very man, who some time ago treated our beloved colonel Washington so barbarously. Yes, this is the wretch who dared, in this very court-house yard, to lift up his impious hand against that greatest and best of men, and knocked him down as though he had been a bullock of the stalls."

THIS, roared in a thundering tone, and with a tremendous stamp on the floor, made Payne look very wild, for he saw the countenance of the court beginning to blacken on him. But Washington rose immediately, and thus addressed the bench:

"AS to Mr. Payne's character, may it please your worships," said he, "we have all the satisfaction to know that it is perfectly unexceptionable: and with respect to the little difference which formerly happened between that gentleman and myself, [195] it was instantly made up, and we have lived on the best terms ever since: and besides, I could wish all my acquaintance to know, that I entirely acquit Mr. Payne of blame in that affair, and take it all on myself as the aggressor."

PAYNE used often to relate another anecdote of Washington, which reflects equal honour on the goodness of his heart.

"IMMEDIATELY after the war," said he, " when the conquering hero was returned in peace to his home, with the laurels of victory green and flourishing on his head, I felt a great desire to see him, and so set out for Mount Vernon. As I drew near the house, I began to experience a rising fear, lest he should call to mind the blow I had given him in former days. However, animating myself, I pushed on. Washington met me at the door with a smiling welcome, and presently led me into an adjoining room, where Mrs. Washington sat. "Here, my dear," said he, presenting me to his lady, "here is the little man you have so often heard me talk of, and who, on a difference between us one day, had the resolution to knock me down, big as I am. I know you will honour him as he deserves, for I assure you he has the heart of a true Virginian."—"He said this," continued Mr. Payne, "with an air which convinced me that his long familiarity with war had not robbed him of a single spark of the goodness and nobleness of his heart." And Mrs. Washington looked at him, I thought, with a something in her eyes which showed that he appeared to her greater and lovelier than ever."

A good tree, saith the divine teacher, bringeth forth good fruit. No wonder then that we meet with so many and such delicious fruits of CHARITY in Washington, whose soul was so rich in benevolence.

IN consequence of his wealth and large landed possessions, he had visits innumerable from the poor. Knowing the great value of time and of good tempers to them, he could not bear that they should lose [196] these by long waiting, and shuffling, and blowing their fingers at his door. He had a room set apart for the reception of such poor persons as had business with him, and the porter had orders to conduct them into it, and to let him know it immediately. And so affectionately attentive was he to them, that if he was in company with the greatest characters on the continent, when his servant informed him that a poor man wished to speak to him, he would instantly beg them to excuse him for a moment, and go and wait on him.

WASHINGTON'S conduct showed that he disliked another practice, too common among some great men, who, not having the power to say yes, nor the heart to say no to a poor man, are fain to put him off with a "come again, come again," and thus trot him backwards and forwards, wasting his time, wearing out his patience and shoes, and, after all give him the mortification of a disappointment.

WASHINGTON could not away with such cruel kindness. If he could not oblige a poor applicant, he would candidly tell him so at once; but then the goodness of his heart painted his regret so sensibly on his countenance, that even his refusals made him friends.

A POOR Irishman, wanting a little farm, and hearing that Washington had such a one to rent, waited on him. Washington told him that he was sincerely sorry that he could not assist him, for he had just disposed of it. The poor man took his leave, but not without returning him a thousand thanks! Ah, do you thank me so heartily for a refusal? "Yes, upon my shoul, now please your excellency's honour, and I do thank you a thousand times. For many a great man would have kept me waiting like a black a negro; but your excellency's honour has told me strait off hand that you are sorry, and God bless you for it, that you can't help me, and so your honour has done my business for me in no time and less."

THE Potomac abounds with the finest herrings in the world, which, when salted, furnish, not only to the wealthy a charming relish for their tea and coffee, but also to the poor a delicious substitute for bacon. But, fond as they are of this small-boned bacon, as they call it, many of them have not the means to procure it. Washington's heart felt for these poor people, and provided a remedy. He ordered a seine and a batteau to be kept on one of his best fishing-shores on purpose for the poor. If the batteau was lost, or the seine spoilt, which was often the case, he would have them replaced with new ones immediately. And if the poor who came for fish were too weak handed to haul the seine themselves, they needed but to apply to the overseer, who had orders from Washington to send hands to help them. Thus all the poor had it in their power to come down in the season, and catch the finest fish for themselves and their families. In what silver floods were ever yet caught the herrings, which could have given to Washington what he tasted, on seeing the poor driving away from his shores, with carts laden with delicious fish, and carrying home, whooping and singing, to their smiling wives and children, the rich prize, a whole year's plenty.

IN all his charities, he discovered great judgment and care in selecting proper objects. Character was the main chance. Mount Vernon had no charms for lazy, drunken, worthless beggars. Such knew very well that they must make their application elsewhere. He never failed to remind them of the great crime of robbing the public of their services, and also the exceeding cruelty and injustice of snapping up from the really indigent, what little charity-bread was stirring. But if the character was good; if the poor petitioner was a sober, honest, and industrious person, whom Providence had by sickness or losses reduced to want, he found a brother in Washington. It is incredible what quantities of wool, corn, bacon, [198] flour, clothes, &c. were annually distributed to the poor, from that almost exhaustless heap, which the blessings of Heaven bestowed on this, its industrious and faithful steward.

"I HAD orders," said Mr. Peake, a sensible, honest manager of one of Washington's plantations, "to fill a corn-house every year, for the sole use of the poor in my neighbourhood! to whom it was a most seasonable and precious relief; saving numbers of poor women and children from miserable famine, and blessing them with a cheerful plenteousness of bread."

Mr. LUND WASHINGTON, long a manager of his Mount Vernon estate, had similar orders. One year when corn was so dear (a dollar per bushel), that numbers of the poor were on the point of starving, Mr. L. Washington, by order of the general, not only gave away all that could be spared from the granaries, but bought, at that dear rate, several hundred bushels for them!

ANECDOTE of Washington—The town of Alexandria, which now nourishes like a green bay tree, on the waters of the Potomac, was, 50 years ago, but a small village. But though small, it was lovely. Situated on the fine plain which banks the western margin of the river, and with snow-white domes glistening through the trees that shook their green heads over the silver flood, it formed a view highly romantic and beautiful. Hence the name of the place at first was Bellhaven. But, with all the beauties to the eye, Bellhaven had no charms for the palate. Not that the neighbourhood of Bellhaven was a desert; on the contrary, it was, in many places, a garden spot abounding with luxuries. But its inhabitants, though wealthy, were not wise. By the successful culture of tobacco they had made money. And having filled their coach-houses with gilt carriages, and their dining rooms with gilt glasses, they began to look down on the poorer sort, and to talk about families. Of course, it would never do for such great people [199] to run market carts!! Hence the poor Bellhavenites, though embosomed in plenty, were often in danger of gnawing their nails; and, unless they could cater a lamb from some good-natured peasant or a leash of chickens from the Sunday negroes, were obliged to sit down with long faces to a half-graced dinner of salt meat and journey cake. This was the order of the day, A. D. '59, when Washington, just married to the wealthy young Mrs. Custis, had settled at Mount Vernon, nine miles below Bellhaven. The unpleasant situation of the families at that place soon reached his ear. To a man of his character, with too much spirit to follow a bad example, when he had the power to set a good one, and too much wit to look for happiness any where but in his own bosom, it could not long be questionable what part he had to act. A market cart was instantly constructed, and regularly, three times a week, sent off to Bellhaven; filled with nice roasters, kidney-covered lamb and veal, green geese, fat ducks, and goblers, chickens by the basket, fresh butter, new laid eggs, vegetables, and fruit of all sorts. Country gentlemen, dining with their friends in town, very soon marked the welcome change of diet. "Bless us all!" exclaimed they, "what's the meaning of this? you invited us to family fare, and here you've given us a lord mayor's feast." "Yes," replied the others, "thank God for sending a Col. Washington into our neighbourhood." Thus it was discovered, to the extreme mortification of some of the little great ones, that Col. Washington should ever have run a market cart!! But the better sort, who generally^ thank God, have sense enough to be led right, provided they can get a leader, soon fell into the track—and market carts were soon seen travelling in abundance to town with every delicacy of the animal and vegetable republics.

Thus the hungry wall which pride had raised against Bellhaven was happily demolished; a flood-tide of blessings rolled in from the neighbouring country—the hearts of the merchants felt a fresh [200] pulse of love for their brothers, the farmers; and even the little children, with cheeks red as the apples they seized, were taught to lisp the praises of God. And all this, reader, through the active benevolence of one man.

THE following anecdote was related to me by his excellency, governor Johnson (Maryland), one of the few surviving heroes of '76.

"You seem, sir (said he, addressing himself to me), very fond of collecting anecdotes of Gen. Washington. Well, I'll tell you one, and one too, to which you may attach the most entire faith, for I have heard it a dozen times and oftener, from the lips of a very valuable man and magistrate, in Conostoga, a Mr. Conrad Hogmyer." "Just before the revolutionary war (said Mr. Hogmyer) I took a trip, for my health's sake, to the sweet springs of Virginia, where I found a world of people collected; some, like me, looking for health, others for pleasure. In consequence of the crowd, I was at first rather hard run for lodgings, but at length was lucky enough to get a mattress in the hut of a very honest baker of my acquaintance, who often visited those springs for the benefit of his oven. Being the only man of the trade on the turf, and well skilled in the science of dough, he met with no small encouragement; and it was really a matter of gratitude to see what heaps of English loaves, Indian pones, French bricks, cakes, and crackers, lay piled on his counter every morning. I often amused myself in marking the various airs and manners of the different waiters, who, in gay liveries and shining faces, came every morning, rattling down their silver, and tripping away with bread by the basket.—Among those gay-looking sons and daughters of Africa, I saw, every now and then, a poor Lazarite, with sallow cheek and hollow eye, slowly creeping to the door, and, at a nod from the baker, eagerly seize a fine loaf, and bear it off without depositing a cent. Surely, thought I to myself, this baker must be the best man, or the greatest fool in the world; but fear-[201] ing that this latter cap best fitted his pericranium, I one morning could not hold breaking my mind to him, for crediting his bread to such very unpromising dealers. "Stophel," for that was his name, "you seem," said I, "to sell a world of bread here a every day, but, notwithstanding that, I fear you don't gain much by it."

"NO! squire: what makes you think so?"

"YOU credit too much, Stophel."

"NOT I indeed, sir not I; I don't credit a cent."

"AY! how do you make that out, Stophel; don't I see these poor people every day carrying away your bread, and yet paying you nothing?"

"PSHAW, no matter for that, 'squire, they'll pay me all in a lump at last."

"AT last!! At last!! Oh ho, at the last day, I suppose you mean, Stophel, when you have the conscience to expect that God Almighty will stand paymaster, and wipe off all your old scores for you, at a dash."

"Oh no! 'squire we poor bakers can't give such long credit! but I'll tell you how we work the matter: the good man, colonel George Washington is here. Every season as soon as he comes, he calls and says to me "Stophel," says he, "you seem to have a great deal of company; and some, I fear, who don't come here for pleasure, and yet, you know, they can't do without eating. Though pale and sickly, they must have bread; but it will never do to make them pay for it. Poor creatures! they seem already low spirited enough, through sickness and poverty; their spirits must not be sunk lower by taking from them every day what little money they have pinched from their poor families at home: I'll tell you what's to be done, Stophel; you must give each of them a good hot loaf every morning, and charge it to me; when I am going away, I'll pay you all. And believe me, 'squire, he, has often, at the end of the season, paid me as much as 80 dollars, and that too for poor creatures who did not know the hand that fed them; for I had [202] strict orders from him, not to mention a syllable of it to any body."

BUT though so kind to the bodies, Washington was still more kind and costly in his charities to the minds of the poor. Sensible that a republican government, that is, a government of the people, can never long subsist where the minds of the people are not enlightened, he earnestly recommended it to the citizens of the United States, to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In this, as indeed in all other cases, where any thing great or good was to be done, Washington led the way.

HE established a charity-school in Alexandria, and endowed it with a donation of four thousand dollars! The interest was regularly paid and expended on the education of fifteen boys. My young friend, the reverend Mr. Wiley, who, for, talents, taste, and classical erudition, has few superiors in America, was educated by Washington.

IN 1785, the assembly of his native state, Virginia, desirous "to embrace," as they said, "every suitable "occasion of testifying their sense of the unexampled merits of George Washington) esq." presented him with fifty shares in the Potomac, and one hundred shares in the James River Navigation Company; making, in the whole, the enormous sum of ten thousand pounds sterling!

OF this public act, they requested the governor to transmit Washington a copy. In answer to which he addressed a letter to the governor, in which, "I take " the liberty (says he) of returning to the general assembly, through your hands, the profound and grateful acknowledgments inspired by so signal a mark of their beneficent intentions towards me."

HE goes on to beg that they would excuse his determined resolution not to accept a farthing of it for his own use.—But (continued he) if it should please the general assembly to permit me to turn the destination of the fund vested in me, from my private [203] emolument, to objects of a public nature, it shall be my study, in selecting, to prove the sincerity of my gratitude for the honour conferred on me, by preferring such as may appear most subservient to the enlightened and patriotic views of the legislature."

THEY were cheerfully submitted to his disposal; and, according to promise, he appropriated them to works of the greatest utility: viz. his shares in James River canal, to a college in Rockbridge county, near the waters of James River, and his Potomac shares to a national university, to be erected in the federal district, on the Great Potomac.

HOW immortal were his wishes for the good of his country! As if incapable of being satisfied with all that he had done for her while living, he endeavoured, by founding those noble institutions for the diffusion of knowledge and virtue, to make himself her benefactor when he could live no more.

SINCE the idea is perfectly correct, that the great Governor of the world must look with peculiar benignity on those of his children who have most nearly resembled him in benevolence, may we not indulge the pleasing hope, that these colleges, founded by such a hand, shall prove the nurseries of brightest genius and virtue, and that from their sacred halls will walk forth, in endless succession, the mighty Washingtons and Jeffersons, the Franklins and Madisons of future times! O that Columbia may live before God! and that the bright days of her prosperity may never have an end!

Washington's behaviour to the generous Fayette ought never to be forgotten.

WHEN that glorious young nobleman heard that lord North had passed against America the decree of slavery; and that the American farmers, with their rusty firelocks and pitchforks, in front of their shrieking wives and children, were inch by inch disputing the soil against a hireling soldiery, the tears gushed from his eyes; he tore himself from the arms of the loveliest, fondest of wives—flew to his [204] sovereign for leave to fight—turned into powder and arms every livre that he could raise, and, in a swift-sailing frigate rushing through the waves to America, presented himself before Washington. Washington received him as his son, and gave him command. Under the eye of that hero, he fought and conquered. Having aided to fix the independence of strangers, he hastened back to France, to liberate his own countrymen from the curses of monarchy, and to give them, like America, the blessings of a republic. A pupil of the temperate and virtuous Washington, he soon offended the hot-headed demogogues of France. Banished from his native country, he was presently thrown, by royal jealousy into a foreign prison. Most of us here in America, on hearing of his misfortunes, felt the kindly touch of sympathy; but alas! like those good people in the parable, we were so taken up with "buying land, proving oxen, or marrying wives," that we forgot our noble friend. But Washington did not forget him. His thoughts were often with him in his gloomy cell. He sent him a present of a thousand guineas—and, in a letter to the emperor of Germany, with equal delicacy and feeling solicited his discharge, and permission to come to America. The letter concluded with these remarkable words:— "As it is a maxim with me never to ask what, under similar circumstances, I would not grant, your majesty will do me the justice to believe, that this request appears to me to correspond with those great principles of magnanimity and wisdom which form the basis of sound policy and durable glory."

THIS letter produced, in part, the desired effect. For immediately after the receipt of it the marquis experienced a great increase of attention; and in a short time was liberated. Such was the respect paid to our American farmer, by one of the greatest monarchs in Europe.

[205] IN 1795, the marquis's son made his escape from France, and arrived in Boston. Soon as Washington heard of it, he sent his parental respects to the youth and informed him, that, though, from motives of tenderness to his mother, who was in the power of the directory, he could not be seen publicly to notice him, yet begged to be considered by him as his father and protector—advised him to enter as a student in the university near Boston, and to draw on him for whatever monies he should want.

CONGRESS, on hearing that a son of the noble marquis was in America, felt a deep interest in the youth, and ordered an immediate enquiry into his situation, intending generous things for him out of the national treasury. But, finding that on this, as on all other occasions, Washington had done honour to the American name, they rejoiced exceedingly, and let the matter drop.


Awake, my boy! and let the rising sun
Blush to see his vigilance still outdone;
In cheerful works consume the fleeting day,
Toil thy pleasure, and business all thy play.

BUT of all the virtues that adorned the life of this great man, there is none more worthy of our imitation than his admirable INDUSTRY. It is to this virtue in her Washington, that America stands indebted for services past calculation; and it is from this virtue, that Washington himself snatched a wreath of glory, that will never fade away. O that the good
[206] genius of America may prevail! that the example of this, her favourite son, may but be universally adopted! Soon shall our land be free from all those sloth-begotten demons which now haunt and torment us. For whence do all our miseries proceed, but from lack of industry? In a land like this, which heaven has blessed above all lands; a land abounding with the fish and flesh pots of Egypt, and flowing with the choicest milk and honey of Canaan; a land where the poorest Lazarus may get his fifty cents a day for the commonest labour; and buy the daintiest bread of corn flour for a cent a pound! why is any man hungry or thirsty, or naked, or in prison? Why but for his own unpardonable sloth?

BUT ALAS! what would it avail, though the blest shade of Washington were to descend from his native skies, and, with an angel's voice, recommend industry as the handmaid of health, wealth, innocence, and happiness to man. A notion, from the land of lies, has taken too deep root among some, that "labour is a low-lived thing, fit for none but poor people and slaves! and that dress and pleasure are the only accomplishments for a gentleman." But does it become a gentleman to saunter about, living on the charity of his relations—to suffer himself to be dunned by creditors, and like a hunted wolf, to fly from the face of sheriffs and constables? Is it like a gentleman to take a generous woman from her parents, and reduce her to beggary—to see even her bed sold from under her, and herself and weeping infants turned out of doors. Is it like a gentleman to reduce one's children to rags, and to drive them, like birds of heaven, to hedges and highways, to pick berries, filling their pale bloated bodies with disease? Or is it like a gentleman to bring up one's sons in sloth, pleasure, and dress, as young noblemen, and then leave them without estates, profession, or trades, to turn gamblers, sharpers, or horse thieves? "From such gentlemen, oh save my country, Heaven!" was Washington's perpetual prayer, the emphatical prayer of his life and great [207] example! In his ear, Wisdom was heard incessantly calling aloud, "He is the real gentleman, who cheerfully contributes his every exertion to accomplish heaven's favourite designs, the beauty, order, and happiness of human life; whose industry appears in a plentiful house and smiling wife; in the decent apparel of his children, and in their good education and virtuous manners; who is not afraid to see any man on earth, but meets his creditor with a smiling countenance, and with the welcome music of gold and silver in his hand; who exerts an honest industry for wealth, that he may become as a water-course in a thirsty land, a source of refreshments to a thousand poor."

THIS was the life, this the example set by Washington. His whole inheritance was but a small tract of poor land in Stafford county, and a few negroes. This appearing utterly insufficient for those purposes of usefulness, with the charms of which his mind seems to have been early smitten, he resolved to make up the deficiency by dint of industry and economy. For these virtues, how excellent! how rare in youth! Washington was admirably distinguished when but a boy. At a time when many young men have no higher ambition than a fine coat and a frolic, "often have I seen him (says the reverend Mr. Lee Massey) riding about the country with his surveying instruments at his saddle," enjoying the double satisfaction of obliging his fellow-citizens by surveying their lands and of making money, not meanly to hoard, but generously to lend to any worthy object that asked it. This early industry was one of the first steps to Washington's preferment. It attracted on him the notice and admiration of his numerous acquaintance, and, which was still more in his favour, it gave such uncommon strength to his constitution, such vigour to his mind, such a spirit for adventure, that he was ready for any glorious enterprise, no matter how difficult or dangerous. Witness the expedition from Williamsburgh, through the Indian country to the Ohio, which [208] at the green age of twenty-one, he undertook for governor Dinwiddie. Indeed this uncommon attachment to industry and useful life, made such an impression on the public mind in his favour, that by the time he was one and twenty he was appointed major and adjutant general of the Virginia forces in the Northern Neck!

THERE was at this time a young fellow in Williamsburgh by the name of Jack B___ , who possessed considerable vivacity, great good-nature, and several accomplishments of the bon-companion sort. He could tell a good story, sing agreeably, scrape a little on the fiddle, and cut as many capers to the tune of old Roger as any buck a-going: and being, besides, a young fellow of fortune, and son of an intimate acquaintance, Jack was a great favourite of the governor, and much at his house. But all this could not save poor Jack from the twinges of envy. For, on hearing every body talk in praise of major Washington, he could not help saying one day, at the governor's table, "I wonder what makes the people so wrapped up in major Washington; I think, begging your excellency's pardon, I had as good a right to a major's commission" "Ah Jack," replied the governor, "when we want diversion, we send for you; but when we want a man of business, we send for major Washington."

NEVER was the great Alfred more anxious to improve his time than our Washington; and it appears that, like Alfred, he divided his time into four grand departments, sleep, devotion, recreation, and business. On the hours of business, whether in his own or in his country's service, he would allow nothing to infringe. While in camp, no company, however illustrious; no pleasures, however elegant; no conversation, however agreeable, could prevail on him to neglect his business. The moment that his hour of duty was come, he would fill his glass, and with a smile call out to his friends around the social board, "well, gentlemen, here is bon repos," and immediately withdraw to business, Bon repos is a French cant [209] for good night. Washington drank it as a signal to break up; for the moment the company had swallowed the general's bon repos, it was hats and off. General Wayne, who, happily for America, understood fighting better than French, had some how or other taken up a notion, that this same bon repos, to whom Washington made such conscience of giving his last bumper, must have been some great warrior of the times of old. Having, by some extraordinary luck, gotten hold of two or three dozen of good old wine, he invited a parcel of hearty fellow-officers to dine with him, and help him to break them to the health of America. Soon as the cloth was removed and the bottles on the table, the hero of Stony Point cried out, "come, my brave fellows, fill your glasses; here's old bon repos for ever." The officers were thunderstruck; but, having turned off their wine, rose up, one and all to go. "Hey-day! what's all this, gentlemen, what's all this?" "Why, did not you drink bon repos—or good night?"

"WHAT! is that the meaning of it?" "Yes," "Oh! then damn old bon repos, and take your seats again: for, by the life of Washington, you shan't stir a peg till we have started every drop of our drink."

WHILE he was employed in choosing a place on the Potomac for the federal city, his industry was no less remarkable. Knowing how little is generally done before breakfast, he made it a rule to rise so early as to have breakfast over, and be on horseback by the time the sun was up. Let the rising generation remember that he then was sixty years of age!

ON his farm, his husbandry of time was equally exemplary. He contemplated a great object; an object worthy of Washington. He aimed at teaching his countrymen the art of enriching their lands, and, consequently, of rendering the condition of man and beast more plentiful and happy. He had seen thousands of acres, which, by constant cultivation, had lost the power of covering their nakedness even with [210] a suit of humble sedge. He had seen thousands of wretched cattle, which, driven out houseless and hayless into the cold wintry rains, presented such trembling spectacles of starvation and misery, as were enough to start the tear into Pity's eye. To remedy these cruel evils (which certainly they are, for He who lent us these animals never meant that we should make their lives a curse to them, much less to our children, hardened by such daily sights of misery,) Washington generously set himself to make artificial meadows; to cultivate fields of clover; and to raise the most nutricious vegetables, such as cabbage, turnips, scarcity and potatoes; of which last article he planted in one year 700 bushels! To render these vast supplies of food the more beneficial to his cattle, he built houses of shelter for them all. "He shewed me a barn," says Brissot, "upwards of 100 feet square, and of brick, designed as a store-house for his corn, potatoes, turnips, &c. around which he had constructed stables of an amazing length, for his cattle." Every one of them had a stall well littered with leaves or straw; and a rack and manger well furnished with hay and provender.

THE pleasure and profits arising from such an arrangement are incalculable. How delicious must it have been to a man of Washington's feelings, to reflect that, even in the very worst weather, every creature, on his extensive farms, was warmly and comfortably provided; to have seen his numerous flocks and herds, gamboling around him through excess of joy, and fullness of fat; to have beheld his steps washed with butter, and his dairies floated with rivers of milk; to have seen his once naked fields and frog-croaking swamps, now, by clearance or manure, converted into meadows, standing thick with heavy crops of timothy and sweet scented clover; while his farmyards were piled with such quantities of litter and manure as afforded a constantly increasing fertility to his lands.

[211] HERE was an employment worthy of Washington; an employment, which we might indeed have expected from him, who, through life, had studied the best interests of his countrymen; who, first as a soldier, had defended them from slavery, and crowned them with liberty; then, as a statesman, had preserved them from war, and secured to them the blessings of peace; and now as the last, but not least services of his life, was teaching them the great arts of improving their farms, multiplying their cattle, enriching their lands, and thus pouring a flood of plenty and of comfort through the joyful habitations of man and beast.

Full of the greatly benevolent idea, no wonder that he was so frugal of his time. Though the most hospitable of all the hospitable Virginians, he would not suffer the society of his dearest friends to take him from his business. Long accustomed to find his happiness in doing his duty, he had attained to such a royal arch degree of virtue, as to be restless and uneasy while his duty was neglected. Hence, of all that ever lived, Washington was the most rigidly observant of those hours of business which were necessary to the successful management of his vast concerns. "Gentlemen, (he would often say to his friends who visited him) I must beg leave of absence a few hours in the forenoon: here is plenty of amusements, books, music, &c. Consider yourselves at home, and be happy." He came in about twelve o'clock; and then, as if animated by the consciousness of having done his duty, and that all was going right, would give himself up to his friends and to decent mirth the rest of the day.

BUT his mornings were always his own. Long before the sun peeped into the chambers of the sluggard, Washington was on horseback, and out among his overseers and servants: and neither himself nor any about him were allowed to eat the bread of idleness. The happy effects of such industry were obvious. Well manured and tilled, his lands yielded a [212] grateful return: and it was at once pleasing and astonishing to behold the immense quantities of fine hay, of fat cattle, and choice grain, that were raised on his farms; of wheat 7000 bushels in one~year, and 5000 bushels of Indian corn! His servants fared plentifully. His cattle never had the hollow horn. And the surplus of his produce, sold to the merchants, furnished bread to the needy, and a revenue to himself more than sufficient to defray his vast expenditures, and to spread a table of true Virginian hospitality for those crowds of friends and foreigners whom affection or curiosity led to visit him.

OH! DIVINE Industry! queen mother of all our virtues and of all our blessings! what is there of great or of good in this wide world that springs not from thy royal bounty? And thou, O! infernal Sloth! fruitful fountain of all our crimes and curses! what is there of mean or of miserable in the lot of man that flows not from thy hellish malice?

WHAT was it that betrayed David, otherwise the best of kings, into the worst of crimes? IDLENESS. Sauntering about idly on the terrace of his palace, he beheld the naked beauties of the distant bathing Bathsheba. Lust, adultery, and murder were the consequences.

WHAT was it that brought on a ten year's war between the Greeks and Trojans? IDLENESS. Young Paris, the coxcomb of Troy, having nothing to do, strolls over to the court of Menelaus (a Greek prince) whose beauteous wife, Helen, the black-eyed queen of love, he corrupts and carries off to Troy. A bloody war ensues. Paris is slain. His father, brothers, and myriads of wretched subjects are slaughtered: and Troy, the finest city of Asia, is reduced to ashes!

WHAT was it that hurried poor Mr. A___d to that horrid act of suicide, which froze the blood of all who heard it? Idleness. His young wife, with all that we could conceive of sweetness, tenderness, and truth in an angel's form; and his three beauteous babes [213]
were the three graces in smiling infancy. But oh, wretched man! having nothing to do! he strolled to a tavern, and to a card-table, where he lost his all! five thousand pounds, lately settled on him by a fond father! He awakes to horrors unutterable! What will become of his ruined wife !his beggared babes? Believing his torments little inferior to those of the damned, he seizes the fatal pistol; drives the scorching bullet through his brains; and flies a shrieking ghost to join the mournful throng! O sad sight! see yon tall young man, in powder and ruffles, standing before his judges, trembling like an aspen, and pale and blank as the picture of guilt; while the crowded court house, every countenance filled with pity or contempt, is fixed upon him. Alas! what could have brought him to this? Idleness. His father happening to possess 500 acres of poor land, and a few negroes, thought it would be an eternal disgrace to his family to bring up his son, (though he had many) to be a mechanic. No: he must be a gentleman!! Grown to man's estate, and having no profession, trade, or habit of industry to support this pleasant life, he took to horse-stealing. If we had leisure to wait, we should presently see this unhappy youth, on receiving sentence of death, bursting into sobs and cries sufficient to make us wish he had never been born. But let us leave these horrible scenes of shame, misery, and death, into which idleness never fails to bring poor deluded youth, and joyfully return to our beloved Washington, and to his health, wealth and glory-giving goddess, Industry.

WHAT is it that braces the nerves, purifies the blood, and hands down the flame of life, bright and sparkling, to old age? What, but rosy cheeked Industry. See Washington so invigorated by constant exercise, that, though hereditarily subject to the gout of which all his family died, he entirely escaped it and, even at the age of 66, continued straight and active as a young grenadier, and ready once more at his country's call, to lead her eager warriors to the field.

WHAT is it that preserves the morals of young men unsoiled, and secures the blessings of unblemished character and unbroken health? What, but snow-robed industry? See Washington under the guardianship of industry, walking the slippery paths of youth, safe and uncorrupted, though born in a country whose fertility and climate furnished both the means and invitation to vice. Early smitten with the love of glory; early engaged in the noble pursuit of knowledge, of independence, and of usefulness; he had no eyes to see bad examples nor ensnaring objects; no ears to hear horrid oaths, nor obscene language; no leisure for impure passions nor criminal amours. Hence he enjoyed that purity of soul, which is rightly called its sunshine; and which impressed a dignity on his character, and gave him a beauty and loveliness in the eyes of men, that contributed more to his rise in the world, than young people can readily conceive.

AND what is it that raises a young man from poverty to wealth, from obscurity to never-dying fame? What, but industry? See Washington, born of humble parents, and in humble circumstances—born in a narrow nook and obscure corner of the British plantations! yet lo! What great things wonder-working industry can bring out of this unpromising Nazareth. While but a youth, he manifested such a noble contempt of sloth, such a manly spirit to be always learning or doing something useful or clever, that he was the praise of all who knew him. And, though but 15, so high were the hopes entertained of him, he was appointed a surveyor! arduous task! But his industry was a full match for it. Such was the alertness with which he carried on his surveys; such the neatness and accuracy of his plats and drafts, that he met with universal applause. Full-fed and flushed with so much fare of praise, a fare of all others the most toothsome and wholesome to generous minds, our young eagle began to flap his wings of honest ambition, and to pant for nobler darings. A [215] fair occasion was soon offered—a dangerous expedition through the Indian wilds, as already mentioned, to the French Mamelukes on the Ohio. Nobody else having ambition for such an adventure, Washington's offer was gladly accepted. And he executed that hazardous and important trust with such diligence and propriety, that he received the thanks of the governor and council. Honours came down on him now in showers. He was appointed major and adjutant-general of the Virginia forces; then a colonel; afterwards a member of the house of burgesses; next, generalissimo of the armies of the United States; and, finally, chief magistrate of the Union. All these floods of prosperity and honour, which in thousands would have but served to bloat with lust of pride, with him served but the more to rouse his industry, and to enlarge his usefulness; for such was his economy of time, and so admirable his method and regularity of business, that he always kept a-head of it.* No letters of consequence were unanswered. No reasonable expectations were disappointed. No necessary information was ever neglected. Neither the congress, nor the governors of the several states, nor the officers of his army, nor the British generals, nor even the overseers and stewards on his farms, were uninformed what he expected from them. Nobody concerned with him was idle or fretted for want of knowing what to do.

* He was taken ill on Friday. An intimate friend asked him if he wished to have any thing done on the arrangement of his temporal affairs. He shook his head, and replied, "No, I thank you; for my books are all posted to Tuesday!" That industry and method must be truly astonishing, which in the management of possessions so vast and complicated as his kept every thing so harmoniously adjusted, as to be ready, at a moment's warning, to leave the world for ever without a wish to alter a tittle.

[216] OH, ADMIRABLE MAN! Oh, great preceptor to his country! no wonder every body honoured him who honoured every body; for the poorest beggar that wrote to him on business, was sure to receive a speedy and decisive answer. No wonder every body loved him, who, by his unwearied attention to the public good, manifested the tenderest love for every body. No wonder that his country delighted to honour him, who showed such a sense of her honours, that he would not allow even a leaf of them to wither; but so watered them all with the refreshing streams of his industry, that they continued to bloom with ever-increasing glory on his head.

SINCE the day that God created man on the earth, none ever displayed the power of industry more signally than did George Washington. Had he, as prince of Wales, or as dauphin of France rendered such great services, or attained such immortal honours, it would not have seemed so marvellous in our eyes. But that a poor young man with no king, lords, nor commons to back him—with no princes, nor strumpets of princes, to curry favour for him—with no gold but his virtue, no silver but his industry, should, with this old-fashioned coin, have stolen away the hearts of all the American Israel, and from a sheep-cot have ascended the throne of his country's affections, and gotten himself a name above the mighty ones of the earth! this is marvellous indeed! It is surely the noblest panegyric ever yet paid to that great virtue, industry, which has "length of days in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honours."

YOUNG READER! go thy way, think of Washington, and hope. Though humble thy birth, low thy fortune, and few thy friends, still think of Washington, and hope. Like him, honour thy God, and delight in glorious toil; then, like him, "thou shalt stand before kings; thou shalt not stand before common men."


"O eternal King of men and angels, elevate our minds! each low and partial passion thence dispel! till this great truth in every heart be known, that none but those who aid the public cause, can shield their country or themselves from chains." LEONIDAS.

IN this grand republican virtue, with pleasure we can compare our Washington with the greatest worthies of ancient or modern times.

THE patriotism of the Roman emperor, Alexander, has been celebrated through all ages, because he was never known to give any place through favour or friendship, but employed those only whom he believed to be best qualified to serve his country. In our Washington we meet this great and honest emperor over again. For, in choosing men to serve his country, Washington knew no recommendation but merit—had no favourite but worth. No relations, however near, no friends, however dear, stood any chance for places under him, provided he knew men better qualified. About such he never troubled himself to enquire, whether they were foreigners or natives, federalists or democrats. Some of the young officers of his native state, on hearing that colonel Washington was made COMMANDER IN CHIEF, were prodigiously pleased, counting to be made field officers in a hurry. But in this they were so utterly mistaken, that they used angrily to say, that "it was a misfortune to be a Virginian." Indeed, his great soul was so truly re- [218] publican that during the whole of his administration, he was never known to advance an individual of his own name and family.

THE British, with good reason, admire and extol admiral Blake as one of the bravest and best of patriots; because, though he disliked Oliver Cromwell, yet he fought gallantly under him; and, with his dying breath, exhorted his men, "to love their country as a common mother; and, no matter what hands the government might fall into, to fight for her like good children."

OF the same noble spirit was Washington. Often was he called to obey men greatly his inferiors, and to execute orders which he entirely disapproved. But he was never known to falter. Sensible of the infinite importance of union and order, to the good of his country, he ever yielded a prompt obedience to her delegated will. And, not content with setting us, through life, so fair an example, he leaves us at his death, this blessed advice: "Your government claims your utmost confidence and support. Respect for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental maxims of TRUE LIBERTY. The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution, which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is SACREDLY OBLIGATORY UPON ALL."

HISTORY has lavished its choicest praises on those magnanimous patriots, who, in their wars for liberty and their country, have cheerfully sacrificed their own wealth to defeat the common enemy.

EQUAL to this was the spirit of Washington. For, during the war, while he was with the army to the north, a British frigate came up the Potomac, to Mount Vernon; and threatened to lay the place in ashes, if provisions were not instantly sent on board. To save that venerable mansion, the manager sent aboard the requisite supplies. On hearing the mat - [210] ter, Washington wrote his manager the following letter:

"Sir—It gives me extreme concern to hear that you furnished the enemy with refreshments. It would have been a less painful circumstance to me, to have heard, that, in consequence of your non-compliance with their request, they had laid my plantation in ruins. GEORGE WASHINGTON."

BUT, among all his splendid acts of patriotism, there is none which, with so little noise, may do us more good, than his "Legacy, or Farewell to the People of the United States." In this admirable bequest, like a true teacher sent from God, he dwells chiefly on our union and brotherly love. This, the first birth of true religion, appears to him as the one thing needful, the spring of political life, and bond of perfection.

ON this topic he employs all the energies of his mind; and, in words worthy to be written in gold, emphatically beseeches his countrymen to guard with holiest care "the unity of the government," as the "main pillar and palladium of their liberty, their independence, and every thing most dear to them on earth."

Little did that illustrious patriot suspect, that, in so short a time after his death, the awful idea of disunion should have become familiar to the public eye!—so familiar as to have worn off half its horrors from the minds of many of our deluded citizens! Disunion! Merciful God! "what good man can think of it but as of treason, and as a very Pandora's box, replete with every curse that can give up our dear country to desolation and havoc!

This disorganizing scheme has been three times brought forward, by what Washington terms "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men," making use of a thousand arts to shut the eyes of the citizens on that yawning gulph to which they were so wickedly misleading them. And each time, Lucifer-like, these ministers of darkness have clothed themselves over [220] as "angels of light" with the captivating plea of public good.—"The disadvantages of the union! the disadvantages of the union!" is their constant cry. Now admitting it to be true, that this so much hated union has its disadvantages, (and where is there any human institution, even the noblest, that is free from, them?) yet is it not the parent of blessings so many and great, that no good man, as Washington says, "can think of them without gratitude and rejoicing?" and is it not equally true, that these disadvantages of the union would not, in fifty years, equal the ruinous consequences of a disunion, in probably half a year.

AT present,* the plea for this most horrible measure, is the mischievous effects of the embargo.—Well, grant that it is mischievous, highly mischievous and painful, for such we all feel it, yet how inexpressibly absurd it must be, to put the loss of trade, for a year or two, in competition with the peace and happiness, the independence and sovereignty of our country? Would not this be an act a thousand times more mad and wicked than that of the wretched Esau, who, to remove the cravings of a momentary appetite, sold his BIRTH-RIGHT for a mess of pottage!

AT this day, through the great mercies of God, we have cause to consider ourselves the happiest nation on earth.—List! oh list!

FOR many years past the greater part of Christendom has been involved in all the horrors of the most bloody and destructive wars. Their kings and queens have been rudely hurled from their thrones: and the "honourable men and the princes" verifying the mournful language of ancient prophecy, have been seen embracing the dung-hill, or flying from their distracted countries; while the mass of the people, unable to fly, have been crushed to the earth with tythes and taxes—with impressments and conscriptions—with forced loans and arbitrary requisitions?— with martial law, administered by military judges,

*This was written Anno Domini 1809

[221] with the bayonet at the breasts of the citizens! On the other hand, during all these horrid convulions [?] and miseries of other nations, we, thoughtless, thankless we, have enjoyed all the blessings of peace, plenty, and security. Our persons have been free from the violence of impressments and conscriptions; and our lives and property perfectly safe under the nightly staves of a few old watchmen! while other nations have been over-run with devouring armies, and doomed to see their houses in flames, and the garments of their children rolled in blood, we, like favoured Israel, have been sitting under our vine and fig-tree, none daring to make us afraid. We have been advancing in riches and strength, with a rapidity unequalled in the history of man. We have been progressing in arts, manufactures, and commerce to an extent and success that has astonished the most enlightened Europeans: and, even at this moment, while suffering under the privations of the embargo, we are feasted with every necessary, and enjoying many of the elegancies of life.

AND yet, with so many substantial blessings in our hands, with so much heaven-sent manna in our mouths, like ungrateful Israel, we are mourning for lack of European luxuries (as they did for the Egyptian flesh-pots,) luxuries which we once enjoyed, but are now most unjustly deprived of by our brethren, the nations of Europe, who are stronger than we. And as if that were not a sufficient evil—as if it were not grievous enough to suffer such a hindrance in trade, agriculture, and business of all kinds—we are now threatened with one, in comparison of which our present privations are insignificant—one which of all others, Washington most dreaded, and was most startled at, I mean a SEPARATION OF STATES, and consequently, civil war.

THIS dreadful consequence is as obvious as it is dreadful. Yes, it is most obvious, that the separation of the states can never take place without civil [222] war. For if the states, disposed to separate, were unanimous in the attempt, the general government could not look idly on their apostacy, but must resist it! and to that end must call out the force of the rest of the union to crush it. And here, merciful God! what scenes are rising before the eyes of horror-struck imagination? A whole nation suddenly filled with terror; "men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking to those things that are coming on the land"—the drums and instruments of war beginning to sound—the warriors' guns and swords preparing; not for cheerful defence of liberty and country, which would make war glorious; but for the gloomy and infernal work of civil discord. Sisters, mute with grief, and looking through swelling tears, on their brothers, as they gird on the hated swords—wives, shaking with strong fits, and, with their little children, filling their houses with lamentations for husbands and fathers tearing themselves away for the dismal war, whence they are to return no more! while aged parents, at parting with their sons, express the deep grief only in groans; or, wringing their withered hands, with tearful eyes to heaven, implore a speedy grave to put their griefs to rest.

BUT all this is but the beginning of sorrows. For who can paint the scenes which ensue when the two armies meet? when they meet, not in the liberal spirit of stranger troops, who, fighting merely for honour and pay, are ready, in the first moment of victory, to sheath their swords, and treat the vanquished with humanity and politeness; but in all the bitterness and exterminating spirit of a family quarrel, where men, after numberless acts of the blackest slander and of rancorous hate, having done every thing to destroy each other's souls, are now come together to destroy each other's bodies. Hence, the moment the ill-fated parties meet, their fierce revengeful passions take fire: scarce can they wait the trumpet's dreadful signal. Then, rushing on each [223] other, more like demons than men, they thrust and stab, and shout and yell, in the horrid work of mutual slaughter.

AND when one of the wretched parties, nearly consumed by the sword, and unable to resist any longer, cry for quarters, they cry in vain.
THE furious conquerors feel not the touch of pity; but, regardless of uplifted hands and prayers, continue their cruel blows till all is hushed in death.
THIS is the horrid fate of all civil wars. The streets of ancient Rome; the fields of Culloden; the plains of modern France; and even the piney woods of Georgia and South Carolina, strewed with mangled carcases, all give awful proof, that when brethren turn their swords to each other's bowels, war degenerates into ____ and battles into butcheries.
NOR can even the grave set limits to their rage; but, like lions, turning from the mangled dead, they fly for new game to the living. All those, who by their wealth had most injured, or by their writings had most inflamed them, are sure to be the victims of their vengeance. Such persons—as was the case in the last war, between the whigs and tories in the southern states—have been dragged out of their houses, and, amidst the screams of their wives and children, have been hung up on the trees, or cut to pieces with swords with the most savage joy; while their furniture has been plundered, their houses burnt, their cattle and slaves carried off, and their widows and children driven out, crying, and without bread, into the barren woods.
NOR does this tragedy (of a free government madly divided and destroying itself) terminate here. Even this, as Solomon says, is but their "way to hell and their going down by the chambers of death" (political slavery.) For when nations thus wickedly abuse their liberty, God will take it away. When they will not live in peace, out of virtuous choice, they shall be compelled by brutal force.
[224 AND since they would not let God reign over them with a golden sceptre of reason and equal laws, he will set a master over them with a scourge of scorpions and an iron rod: some proud tyrant, who, looking on our country but as his estate, and ourselves as his cattle, shall waste our wealth on the pomps of his court, or the salaries of his officers; destroy our sons in his ambitious wars; and beggar us with exactions, as long as his ministers can invent taxes, or we, by hard labour, can raise money to pay them.
"Then," in the words of Washington, "what a triumph for the advocates of despotism, to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves; and that systems founded on equal liberty are ideal and fallacious!" Then, how will the proud sons of depotism shake themselves with laughter on their thrones; and hell itself, responsive to their joy, clank her congratulating chains, that heaven is defeated, and the misery of man is sealed.
BUT, O ye favoured countrymen of Washington! your republic is not yet lost; there is still hope. The arm that wrought your political salvation, is still stretched out to save; then hear his voice and live! Hear the voice of the Divine Founder of your republic: "Little children, love one another." Hear his voice from the lips of his servant Washington: "Above all things hold dear your NATIONAL UNION. Accustom yourselves to estimate its immense, its infinite value to your individual and national happiness. Look on it as the palladium of your tranquillity at home; of your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; and even of that very liberty which you so highly prize!" To this you are bound by every tie of gratitude and love to God or man. 1st. As to God, no people more than you can be bound to adore that invisible hand which rules the affairs of men. 'Twas he who fought your battles, and against such fearful odds established your independence; and afterwards disposed your hearts for the reception of a general [225] and equal government. And for what did God perform all these miracles for you, but that he might glorify himself in your protection and happiness? And will you not now rise up with joy to co-operate with God in the glorious work of beautifying, with the fruits of righteousness, this goodly land, which he has so honoured, that he may place his own great name therein?
AND remember, moreover, my countrymen, that you are now the favoured actors on a most conspicuous theatre: a theatre which seems peculiarly designated of Heaven for the display of human greatness and felicity. Far from the furious passions and politics of Europe, you are placed here by yourselves, the sole proprietors of a vast region, embracing all the soils and climates of the earth, and abounding with all the conveniences of life. And Heaven has crowned all its blessings by giving you a freer government and a fairer opportunity for political happiness than any other nation was ever favoured with. In this view, citizens of the United States, you are certainly responsible for the highest trust ever confided to any people. The eyes of long oppressed humanity are now looking up to you as to her last hope; the whole world are anxious spectators of your trial; and with your behaviour at this crisis, not only your own, but the destiny of unborn millions is involved. If, now, you make a wise use of the all-important opportunity—if your free constitution should be sacredly maintained—if honour, if patriotism, if union, and brotherly love should prevail, with all the good qualities which ennoble the character of nations—then the victory will be sure: your triumph will be complete: and the pressure of the present difficulties, instead of weakening will give a firmer tone to the federal government, that shall probably immortalize the blessings of LIBERTY to our children and children's children.
[226] THEN rouse! my generous countrymen, rouse! and, filled with the awfulness of our situation, with the glorious spirit of '76, rally around the sacred standard of your country. As good children give her all your support. Respect her AUTHOIRTY!—comply with her laws! acquiesce in her measures!—Thus cemented by love, she shall become like the precious wedge of Ophir that defies the furnace; and coming forth from the fiery trial brighter than ever, she shall shed on the cause of freedom, a dignity and lustre which it never enjoyed before; a lustre which cannot fail to have a favourable influence on the rights of man. Other nations, finding from your example, that men are capable of governing themselves, will aspire to the same honour and felicity. Great and successful struggles will be made for liberty. Free governments (the pure mothers of nations) will at length be established. Honouring all their virtuous children alike, jealousies and hatreds will cease, and cordial love prevail, inviting the industry of all, the blessing of plenty will be spread abroad, and shameless thefts be done away. And wisdom and worth (as in the choice of a free people) being called to high places, errors will be rare. Vices, ashamed, shall hide their odious heads; cruelties seem abhorrent, and wars unknown. Thus, step by step progressing in virtue, the world will ripen for glory, till the great hour of her dissolution being come, the ready archangel shall lift his trumpet, and sound her knell. The last refining flames shall then kindle on this tear-bathed, blood-stained globe, white from its ashes a new earth shall spring, far happier than the first. There, freed from all their imperfections, the spirits of good men (the only true patriots) shall dwell together, and spend their ever brightening days in loves and joys eternal.

MAY the Great Founder of your holy republic keep you all under his divine protection; incline your hearts to cultivate a spirit of cheerful subordination to government; to entertain a bro- [227] therly affection and love for one another; and finally dispose you all to do justice; to love mercy; and to demean yourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the DIVINE AUTHOR of our blessed religion; without an humble imitation of whose example, in these things, we can never hope to be a GREAT AND HAPPY NATION."


FEW great men are great in every thing. But in the last testament of this extraordinary American, we see some things altogether characteristic.

WHEN Benedict Arnold came to die, he said—"I bequeath my soul to God."

WHEN Henry Laurens, president of the first congress, came to die, he said, "My flesh is too good for worms: I give it to the flames;" which was done.

BUT WASHINGTON makes no preamble about his soul or body. As to his soul, having made it his great business to re-instamp on it the image of God, he doubted not but it would be remembered, when Christ should come "to make up his jewels."

AND as to his body, that admirable piece of divine mechanism, so long the honoured servant of duty to his God and his country, he trusted, that, though "sown in dishonour, it would one day be raised in glory;" so leaving it to rest in hope, he proceeds to the following distribution of his worldly goods:

1st. THOUGH an old husband of 68, yet, with the gallantry and warm affection of a young groom, he gives the whole of his estate (530,000 dollars) to his beloved wife Martha! during her life.

2d LIKE a pure republican, he orders all his slaves to be liberated, at certain ages, on his wife's, deaths—[228] lamenting, that from obstacles insurmountable, he could not have done it earlier.

3d. HE confirms his former donations, viz. 4000 dollars to a charity school, in the town of Alexandria; 10,000 dollars to Liberty-Hall Academy, Rockbridge county, Virginia; and 20,000 dollars to a national university, to be founded in Washington; with this remark: "It has always been a source of serious regret with me, to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries for education, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed just ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting too frequently, not only habits of dissipation and extravagance, but principles unfriendly to republican government, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind.

"FOR these reasons, it has been my ardent wish to see a university in a central part of the union, to which the youth of fortune and talents, from all parts thereof, may be sent for the completion of their education in all the branches of polite and useful learning, and especially of POLITICS AND GOOD GOVERNMENT; and also that, by associating with each other, and forming friendships in early life, they may be enabled to free themselves from those local prejudices and state jealousies, which are never-failing sources of disquietude to the public mind, and pregnant with mischievous consequences to this country."

4th. HAVING no children, he bequeaths the whole of his estate, a few legacies excepted, to the children, 23 in number, of his brothers and sister; and, like a generous and affectionate relative, he gave to the children of his half brother, Augustin, equally as to those of his own brothers. And, 'tis a most pleasing fact, he gave to his wife's grand-children in like liberal measure with his own nieces and nephews! the part given to each has been computed at 20,000 dollars.


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