Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

1775 he was made commander-in-chief of the American forces against the English and he conducted the war of the Revolution to a successful issue in 1783. He was the first president of the United States, being elected in 1789, and again in 1793, declining a third term in 1797. He retired to private life at Mt. Vernon, his home in Virginia. Here he died, and here he lies buried, his tomb being a shrine of pilgrimage for all his countrymen and admirers.

Innumerable monuments rise all over our land commemorating his virtues and pointing him out as a model for the youth of America. One of the finest is that at Richmond, designed by Crawford, an equestrian statue in bronze, surrounded by colossal figures of Jefferson, Mason, Patrick Henry, Lewis, Marshall, and Nelson. The marble statue by Houdon in the Capitol at Richmond is considered the best figure of Washington; it was done from life in 1788. Other noble memorials are the Column at Baltimore, and the great obelisk at Washington City, called the Washington Monument, the latter designed by Robert Mills, of South Carolina, and intended originally to have a colonnade around the base containing the statues of the illustrious men of our country.

WORKS.

State Papers, Addresses, Letters—12 volumes. Washington's writings are like his character, simple, clear, sensible, without any pretensions to special culture or literary grace. These extracts show his modesty, his love of truth, and his general good sense. See under Madison, Weems, and Henry Lee.

AN HONEST MAN,

I hope I shall always possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain, what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an “ honest man.”—Moral Maxims.

How to ANSWER CALUMNY.

To persevere in one's duty and be silent is the best answer to calumny.-Moral Maxims.

CONSCIENCE.

Labour to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, conscience.-Rule from the Copy-book of Washington when a school boy.

ON HIS APPOINTMENT AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.

[Delivered in Congress, 16 June, 1775.]

Mr. President: Though I am truly sensible of the high honor done me, in this appointment, yet I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important trust. However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for the support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.

But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavorable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered by every gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.

As to pay, Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to accept this arduous employment, at the expense of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any profit from it. I will keep an exact account of my expenses. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

A MILITARY DINNER-PARTY.

[Letter to Dr. John Cochran, West Point, 16 August, 1779.] Dear Doctor : I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. Livingston to dine with me to-morrow; but am I not in honor bound to apprise them of their fare? As I hate deception, even where the imagination only is concerned, I will. It is needless to premise, that my table is large enough to hold the ladies. Of this they had ocular proof yesterday. To say how it is usually covered, is rather more essential; and this shall be the purport of my letter.

Since our arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, sometimes a sh alder of bacon, to grace the head of the table; a piece of roast beef adorns the foot; and a dish of beans, or greens, almost imperceptible, decorates the centre. When the cook has a mind to cut a figure, which I presume will be the case to-morrow, we have two beef-steak pies, or dishes of crabs, in addition, one on each side of the centre dish, dividing the space and reducing the distance between dish and dish to about six feet, which without them would be near twelve feet apart. Of late he has had the surprising sagacity to discover, that apples will make pies; and it is a question, if, in the violence of his efforts, we do not get one of apples, instead of having both of beef-steaks. If the ladies can put up with such entertainment, and will submit to partake of it on plates, once tin but now iron (not become so by the labor of scouring), I shall be happy to see them ; and am, dear Doctor, yours, etc.

ADVICE TO A FAVORITE NEPHEW. [From a Letter to Bushrod Washington.-Newburgh, 15 Jan., 1783.] Remember, that it is not the mere study of the law, but to become eminent in the profession of it, that is to yield honor and profit. The first was your choice ; let the second

« PreviousContinue »