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to her, and exemplary in that relation of life as in every other.

In his correspondence of that period he says : now, I believe, fixed at this seat with an agreeable

partner for life, and I hope to find more happiness in “ retirement than I ever experienced amidst the wide " and bustling world.” He mentions in the same letter, “ the longing desire which for many years I have had of “ visiting the great metropolis of England.”—“ But,” he adds, “I am now tied and must set inclination aside.”

It is remarkable that his letters at that time, and until the Colonial storm had burst, frequently use the word “home” to designate the mother country.†

During many years did Washington continue to enjoy the pleasures and fulfil the duties of an independent country gentleman. Field-sports divided his time with the cultivation and improvement of his land and the sales of his tobacco; he showed kindness to his dependents, and hospitality to his friends; and having been elected one of the House of Burgesses in Virginia, he was, whenever that House met, exact in his attendance. To that well-regulated mind nothing within the course of its ordinary and appointed avocations seemed unworthy of its care. His ledgers and day-books were kept by himself; he took note of all the houses where he partook of hospitality, so that not even the smallest courtesies might pass by unremembered; and until his press of business in the Revolutionary War he was wont every evening to set down the variations of the weather during the preceding day. It was also his habit through life, whenever he wished to possess himself perfectly of the contents of any paper, to transcribe it in his own hand, and apparently with deliberation, so that no point might escape his notice, Many copies of this kind were after his death found among his manuscripts. I

We may observe, however, that in the mind of Washington punctuality and precision did not, as we often find them, turn in any degree to selfishness. On the contrary,

* To Richard Washington, September 20. 1759. † As April 5. 1769, and in several other passages. | Writings, vol. ii. p. 505, and Introduction to that volume, p. xii. he was rather careless of small points where only his own comfort was concerned. Thus he could seldom be persuaded to take any remedy, or desist from any business, whenever he caught a cold, but used to say, “let it go as “ it came !

Nor yet was his constant regularity of habits attended by undue formality of manner. In one of his most private letters there appears given incidentally, and as it were by chance, a golden rule upon that subject :-“As to the gentlemen you mention I cannot charge myself with inci

vility, or what in my opinion is tantamount, ceremonious “civility.”+

In figure Washington was strongly built and tall (above six feet high), in countenance grave, unimpassioned, and benign. An inborn worth, an unaffected dignity, beamed forth in every look as in every word and deed. His first appearance and address might not convey the idea of superior talents; such at least was the remark of his accomplished countryman, Mr. Gallatin †; but no man, whether friend or enemy, ever viewed without respect the noble simplicity of his demeanour, the utter absence in him of every artifice and every affectation.

The correspondence of Washington in 1765 and the succeeding years refers to the Stamp Act and to the other harsh measures from “home” (not much longer to be called so) in terms of temperate condemnations, and his convictions were ever stedfast and decided on the Colonial side. When, however, these differences darkened, and the grim shadow of Civil War began to loom on the horizon, it has been already shown that Washington was less forward and eager than some others in declaring or declaiming against the mother country. This was afterwards alleged against him in America as a kind of charge, and some extracts from his private letters, said to be intercepted by the English, were published in corroboration of it. Such extracts were declared by himself to be false

* Life and Writings, vol. i. App. p. 556. This carelessness as to colds was at last the immediate cause of his death.

† Letter to Joseph Reed, December 15. 1775.

† Sir A. Foster's Notes on the United States (unpublished). See Quarterly Review, No. cxxxv. p. 38.

$ To F. Dandridge, Sept. 20. 1765, &c.

any sacri.

and spurious, and beyond all question were so, although the last American biographer of Washington allows as probable that parts of letters really written by him were interwoven with the fabrications. If, however, the charge itself be examined with candour, even though strictly and solely from the American side, it will be found to contain no matter of condemnation, but rather a topic of praise. Ought not a brave soldier who had known and seen the havoc of war to pause longer than any brawling civilian ere he resolves to inflict that havoc on his country ? Ought not his reluctance to be stronger still when the war before him is not between nation and nation, but between the sons of the same race and the subjects of the same King ? Was it not this very

reluctance which in 1829 impelled the Duke of Wellington to exclaim amidst general applause, that long inured as he had been to scenes of strife, he would make fice, even of his own life, rather than expose his country to even one month of Civil War ? † Mark also how brightly the first forbearance of Washington combines with his subsequent determination,-how he who had been slow to come forward was magnanimous in persevering. When defeat had overtaken the American army,- when subjugation by the British rose in view,—when not a few of the earliest declaimers against England were, more or less privately, seeking to make terms for themselves, and fitting their own necks to the yoke, — the high spirit of Washington never for a moment quailed; he repeatedly declared that if the Colonies were finally overpowered he was resolved to quit them for ever, and, assembling as many people as would follow, go and establish an independent state in the West, on the rivers Mississippi and Missouri.f

There is a lofty saying which the Spaniards of old were wont to engrave on their Toledo blades, and which with truth and aptness might have adorned the sword of Wash

* Life by Jared Sparks, p. 266.
† Speech in the House of Lords, April 2. 1829.

# Sir A. Foster's Notes ut supra. See also Dr. Ramsay's History, vol. i. p. 310.


Nor was Washington in any measure open to the same reproach as the ancient Romans, or some of his own countrymen at present, — that while eager for freedom themselves they would rivet the chains of their slave. To him at least could never be applied Dr. Johnson's taunting words : “ How is it that we hear the loudest “ yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes ?” The views of Washington on this great question are best shown at the close of the Revolutionary War, and at a period of calm deliberation, in one of his letters to La Fayette:-“ Your late purchase of an estate in Cayenne “ with a view of emancipating the slaves on it is a gene

rous and noble proof of your humanity. Would to God

a like spirit might diffuse itself generally into the minds “ of the people of this country! But I despair of seeing “it. Some petitions were presented to the Assembly at “ its last Session for the abolition of slavery, but they “ could scarcely obtain a reading. To set the slaves “ afloat at once would, I really believe, be much inconve“nience and mischief, but by degrees it certainly might, “and assuredly ought to be, effected, and that too by “ legislative authority.” |

Washington had attended the first Congress at Philadelphia, and on several occasions took part in the debates. Though never aiming at eloquence, nor even approaching å trope or a metaphor, his speeches made a strong impression on his hearers from his practical knowledge, his excellent sense, and his manifest integrity. “I

never," says Jefferson, “ heard either General Washington or Dr. Franklin speak ten minutes at a time, nor

to any but the main point, knowing that the little ones 6 would follow of themselves.” At the second Congress the remembrance of Washington's conduct at the first

“ No me saques sin razon,

“ No me embaines sin honor.” See Captain G. Beauclerk's agreeably-written Journey to Morocco, p. 238. ed. 1828.

+ To the Marquis de La Fayette, May 10. 1786. Writings, vol. ix.


p. 163.

# Memoirs and Correspondence, vol. i. p. 50. ed. 1829.

combined with his military services to point him out as best qualified for the office of Commander-in-Chief. There were other considerations also. The four New England States had been the first to begin the war, and the foremost in their preparations to maintain it; so that it seemed a stroke of policy to draw in some one of the Southern States, as Virginia, more closely with them by selecting the General from that quarter. Thus all the deputies from New England, contrary to expectation, and much to the honour of their public spirit, took the lead in urging the merits of Washington; and his name being formally proposed, and a ballot called for, it appeared that he was unanimously chosen. He was to hold the rank of General-in-Chief, and receive the pay of five hundred dollars per month ; and under him were named four officers with the rank of Major-General, and eight with the rank of Brigadier.

The inmost thoughts of Washington at this anxious period are shown in his letter to his wife *, the only one of his letters to that lady which lias been preserved :


believe me, my dear Patsy, when I assure you “ in the most solemn manner that so far from seeking this

appointment I have used every endeavour in my power to avoid it, not only from my unwillingness to part with you and the family, but from a consciousness of its

being a trust too great for my capacity, and that I “ should enjoy more real happiness in one month with you

at home than I have the most distant prospect of finding “ abroad if my stay were to be seven times seven years. “ But as it has been a kind of destiny that has thrown me

upon this service, I shall hope that my undertaking it is

designed to answer some good purpose, .... and I “ shall rely therefore confidently on that Providence which “ has heretofore preserved and been bountiful to me.”

Next day after his election Washington rising from his place in the Congress expressed his cordial thanks, and undertook the high trust conferred upon him. But at the same time he declared his resolution to decline the salary proposed, and to accept no more than the repayment of his own expenses, of which he promised to keep an exact ac

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* Dated June 18. 1775. Writings, vol. iü. p. 2. VOL. VI.


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