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measure was probable, the eyes of all were once more turned on Washington as the most suitable person to be at its head. Letters from his friends poured in upon him, urging that he should accept the command. In one received from President Adams, it was observed, "We must have your name, if you will in any case permit us to use it; there will be more efficacy in it than in many an army." A letter from the Secretary of War, written four days afterwards, concludes with asking, "may we flatter ourselves, that, in a crisis so awful and important, you will accept the command of all our armies. I hope you will, because you alone can unite all hearts and all hands, if it is possible that they can be united." In reply to this letter, Washington writes, "It cannot be necessary for me to premise to you, or to others who know my sentiments, that to quit the tranquillity of retirement, and enter the boundless field of responsibility, would be productive of sensations which a better pen than I possess would find it difficult to describe. Nevertheless, the principle by which my conduct has been actuated through life, would not suffer me, in any great emergency, to withhold any services I could render when required by my country; especially, in a case where its dearest rights are assailed by lawless ambition and intoxicated power, in contempt of every principle of justice, and in violation of solemn compact, and of laws which govern all civilized nations; and this, too, with the obvious intent to sow thick the seeds of disunion, for the purpose of subjugating our government, and destroying our independence and happiness.

"Under circumstances like these, accompanied by an actual invasion of our territory, it would be difficult for me at any time to remain an idle spectator, under the plea of age or retirement. With sorrow, it is true, I should quit the shades of my peaceful abode, and the ease and happiness I now enjoy, to encounter anew the turmoils of war, to which possibly my strength and powers might be found incompetent. These, however, should not be stumbling-blocks in my own way."

President Adams nominated Washington with the rank of lieutenant-general, to the chief command of all the armies raised and to be raised in the United States. His commission was sent to him by Mr. McHenry, the Secretary of War, who was directed to repair to Mount Vernon, and to confer on the arrangements of the new army with its commander-in-chief. To the letter which President Adams sent with the commission by the Secretary of War, Washington in two days replied as follows:

“I had the honour, on the evening of the 11th instant, to receive

from the hand of the Secretary of War, your favour of the 7th, announcing that you had, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appointed me Lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of all the armies raised, or to be raised, for the service of the United States.'

"I cannot express how greatly affected I am at this new proof of public confidence, and the highly flattering manner in which you have been pleased to make the communication. At the same time, I must not conceal from you my earnest wish, that the choice had fallen upon a man less declined in years, and better qualified to encounter the usual vicissitudes of war.

"You know, sir, what calculation I had made relative to the probable course of events on my retiring from office, and the determi nation I had consoled myself with, of closing the remnant of my days in my present peaceful abode. You will therefore be at no loss to conceive and appreciate the sensations I must have experienced, to bring my mind to any conclusion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble, and high responsibility.

"It was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions. The conduct of the Directory of France towards our country; their insidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the affections of the people from it; the evident tendency of their acts, and those of their agents, to countenance and invigorate disaffection; their disregard of solemn treaties and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce; their treatment of our ministers of peace; and their demands, amounting to tribute, could not fail to excite in me corresponding sentiments with those my countrymen have so generally expressed in their affectionate addresses to you. Believe me, sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wise and prudent measures of your administration. They ought to inspire universal confidence, and will, no doubt, combined with the state of things, call from Congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis.

"Satisfied, therefore, that you have sincerely wished and endeavoured to avert war, and exhausted to the last drop the cup of reconciliation, we can with pure hearts appeal to Heaven for the justice of our cause; and may confidently trust the final result to that kind Providence who has heretofore and so often signally favoured the people of these United States.

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