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manner in which you have expressed your sense of the virtues and merits of the deceased.
Before I close this letter, permit me, my Dear Sir John, to express the sense which I have of your polite attentions to me in London, and to assure you that it would afford me the greatest pleasure to be useful to you in any way in my power. With very great respect and esteem, I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant,
Reflections on the Character of General Washington. Whoever has embraced this opportunity of perusing the preceding letters from General Washington, will, I am confident, concur with me in the following reflections :
1. That nothing could possibly place the character of this distinguished statesman in a more estimable light, than to find the same individual, whose military exploits had spread his fame over the universe, and who had been invested with supreme power in the country where he was born, amidst all his various public avocations, carrying on an extensive correspondence with the native of a distant country, on agricultural and other general inquiries useful to mankind.
2. The reflecting and philosophic mind must contemplate with pleasure and delight, a person, elevated by the voice of his fellow-citizens to the summit of political authority, who, instead of wishing to aggrandize himself, and extend his own power, was anxiously bent to quit that situation, to which so many others earnestly aspired, and return to the comfort and enjoyment of private life; belying thus the insinuations of those malignant spirits, who are perpetually railing against those talents and virtues, which, conscious of wanting themselves, they cannot imagine to exist in others.
3. Is there, on the whole, any individual, either in ancient or modern history, who has prouder claims to distinction and pre-eminence, than the illustrious author of these letters ? His military talents were early celebrated, first in the ser
vice of Great Britain, and afterwards in that of America. His powers as a statesman, and the founder of a constitution, which, with British prejudices, I may consider as inferior to our own, but which promises to secure the happiness of the great nation it was formed to govern, cannot possibly be questioned. His public virtue, as the uncorrupted magistrate of a free people, who reluctantly accepted supreme authority, when his acceptance of it was judged necessary for the public good, and who hastened to resign it when his resignation could be made consistently with the public safety, can hardly be equalled in history. His literary endowments also were unquestionably of a superior order. His letters in this collection, his addresses to the American Congress, and his farewell oration, when he quitted, for the last time, the presidency of the United States, are models of each species of composition. To have a well-spent life closed, after a short illness, without having his strength or faculties impaired by any previous disorder, or any untoward circumstance having occurred, that could materially affect his feelings, or could possibly tarnish his fame, is an uncommon instance of good fortune. The scene in which he acted also, and the objects which he achieved, are the most memorable which history furnishes; for it was such a man alone who, by combining the force, and commanding the confidence of thirteen separate states, could have dissolved those ties which subjected America to Europe, and to whom the political separation of two worlds is thus to be attributed. But above all, what distinguished this celebrated warrior and statesman is, that to all those military and public talents, and to those literary endowments, which are so rarely united in the same person, he added the practice of every virtue that could adorn the private individual. It were in vain for me to attempt, adequately to express the ideas I entertain of a character, in all respects so peculiarly splendid. The pen of the immortal Shakespeare is alone competent to the task; and on the tombstone of the illustrious Washington let it be engraved,
His life was gentle, and the elements
take him for all in all,
JOHN ADAMS, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF
Mr Adams was the first Ambassador sent to this count by the United States of America, after their independence had been acknowledged by the British Government. His Majesty, George the Third, upon this occasion, behaved with the utmost propriety. When Mr Adams was introduced to him, he said, “ I was the last man in Great Britain who wished to acknowledge the independence of North America, but I shall be the first to oppose any attempt that may be made to restore their dependence upon the mother country.”
I had a good deal of friendly intercourse with Mr Adams, during his residence in London, and shewed him every attention in my power. He was quite a republican in his ideas, his principles, and his behaviour. After having been placed at the head of his own country, he lived to a great age, honoured and respected by all who knew him.
I had the pleasure of receiving two letters from him, which I think it right to preserve in this collection.
Philadelphia, March 2. 1793. SIR, I received the letter you did me the honour to write me last summer, with your projects of a Natural History of Sheep, and a Survey of Scotland.
• Julius Cæsar, Act V. Scene 5; and Hamlet, Act I. Scene 2.
You could not have made a wiser choice. The natural history of that animal, so useful to man, must be very useful as well as very curious: and a detail of particulars relative to your native country, must be interesting to all, but especially to the inhabitants of it.
You are apprehensive that you and I shall not meet again, and not without reason. Yet I assure you, a voyage to this country, and a journey through it, might be made in as short
very nearly as you required for your tour of Europe ; and you
will find beauty and fame at least, though not much power. This is the only rising country in the world, and it rises with a rapidity that outstrips all calculation. I wonder that travellers are not more inquisitive after it.
Europe discovers a disposition to try over again the old experiment of elective governments : but they will find that giving them the name of representative governments, will not prevent them from having the same effect upon
the emulation and ambition of the human heart which they ever had.
We, in this country, enjoy a delicious tranquillity at present, and if your European fermentations should not disturb us, shall continue to be happy. If y
you, Sir John, will do us the honour to come and see us, you will be treated with a cordial civility, notwithstanding your and no mạn will be more happy to receive you than, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
I was much struck with the above expression, 66 notwithstanding your title.” But its nature was fully explained by a communication from George William Erving, Esq. American consul in London, of which the following is an extract :
“ I have received, by this day's post, your letter, with four packets for the President of the United States, which I shall forward by the first conveyance. Presuming that you have been led into a misapprehension, as to the proper address of the President, by some late paragraphs in the English newspapers, and being perfectly assured, that you would wish to be correct in this particular, I take the liberty of observing to you, that the constitution of the United States gives no titles to its officers, and allows of none to be used by our citizens; and that, consequently, the most simple form of address must be most acceptable to the President."
Mount Wollaston, near Boston, May 24. 1805. Sir John SINCLAIR, A natural history of this country has been long desired, by every inquisitive mind. Although the calls of my profession, and the more serious demands of the political interests of my country, turned my attention, almost half a hundred years ago, from investigations of this nature, yet I have never been insensible to their pleasures and advantages. In 1779, called upon to frame a constitution of government for my native state of Massachusetts, I inserted in the body of it, that it should be at all times the duty of the Legislature, to encourage the interests of literature, and particularly a natural history of the country. Very lately this dormant record has been recollected by individuals, who have raised by subscription a sum, which, aided by a grant of land from the Legislature, has laid a foundation for a professorship at our University at Cambridge.
William Dandridge Peck, Esq. is the professor, and will have the honour to deliver you this letter. I can claim no right, Sir John, to introduce this gentleman to you. Not for my own merit, but on account of his, I thus presume. I have spent so much of my life in the service of others, and so little in my own, that in my old age all my attention is necessarily employed in my own trifling private affairs. This misfortune has made it impossible for me to make to you the returns for your obliging literary communications from time to time, which decency, and even gratitude, required. But Mr Peck has so much merit, in science and literature in general, and in