« PreviousContinue »
WASHINGTON AS A STATESMAN.
The period during which Washington won his fame as a statesman extends from the time when he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the army to his death, in 1799. As this period recedes into the past it is becoming more and more evident that no small part of his permanent fame will rest upon the sagacity, the penetration, and the tenacity of purpose which he displayed in this most exciting and critical period of our history. He was not a learned man as that term is generally understood, but he had made a collection of books on political science such as few private libraries of that day could equal. He had copied with his own hand an abstract, made by Madison, of the great authority on this subject at that time, Montesquieu's "Spirit of Laws."
After resigning his commission, he was invited to meet a committee of Congress to assist in devising plans for establishing the government upon a peace
basis. gested a series of measures which reveal his far-sightedness and his practical good sense. Among these were the establishment of a military academy for the training of officers, the creation of a navy as a means of protecting our foreign commerce, and the outlines of a system for regulating our intercourse with Indian tribes. At a meeting of the commissioners of V nia and Maryland at his house in 1785 he suggested that they should agree