Page images
[graphic][merged small]

The coach was ordered to proceed by the most private ways to the Tower. It had been rumored that a rescue would be attempted. At the Tower the Colonel delivered me to Major Gore, the residing Governor, who, as I was afterwards well informed, had previously concerted a plan for mortifying me. He ordered rooms for me in the most conspicuous part of the Tower (the parade). The people of the house, particularly the mistress, entreated the Governor not to burthen them with a prisoner. He replied, "It is necessary. I am determined to expose him." This was, however, a lucky determination for me. The people were respectful and kindly attentive to me, from the beginning of my confinement to the end; and I contrived, after being told of the Governor's humane declaration, so to garnish my windows by honeysuckles, and a grape-vine running under them, as to conceal myself entirely from the sight of starers, and at the same time to have myself a full view of them. Governor Gore conducted me to my apartments at a warder's house. As I was entering the house, I heard some of the people say, "Poor old gentleman, bowed down with infirmities. He is come to lay his bones here." My reflection was, “I shall not leave a bone with you."

I was very sick, but my spirits were good, and my mind foreboding good from the event of being a prisoner in London. Their Lordships' orders were: "To confine me a close prisoner; to be locked up every night; to be in the custody of two wardens, who were not to suffer me to be out of their sight one moment, day or night; to allow me no liberty of speaking to any person, nor to permit any person to speak to me; to deprive me of the use of pen and ink; to suffer no letter to be brought to me, nor any to go from me," etc. As an apology, I presume for their first rigor, the wardens gave me their orders to peruse.

And now I found myself a close prisoner, indeed; shut up in two small rooms, which together made about twenty feet square; a warder my constant companion; and a fixed bayonet under my window; not a friend to converse with, and no prospect of a correspondence.

September 23d.-For some time past I have been frequently and strongly tempted to make my escape from the Tower, assured, "It was the advice and desire of all my friends, the thing might be easily effected, the face of American affairs was extremely gloomy. That I might have eighteen hours' start before I was missed; time enough to reach Margate and Ostend; that it was believed there would be no pursuit," etc., etc. I had always said, "I hate the name of a runaway." At length I put a stop to farther applications by saying, "I will not attempt an escape. The gates were opened for me to enter; they shall be opened for me to go out of the Tower. God Almighty sent me here for some purpose. I am determined to see the end of it."



GEORGE WASHINGTON'S life is so well known, it is so simple, so grand, that a few words can tell it, and yet volumes would not exhaust it. His mother's remark, " George was always a good son," sums up his character; and his title, "Father of his Country," sums up his life-work.

He was born at Pope's Creek, Westmoreland County, Virginia, and became a surveyor, being employed in that capacity at the early age of sixteen by Lord Fairfax, governor of Virginia. He joined the English troops sent under General Braddock against the French in 1756, and his bravery and good sense in this expedition gained him great renown. In

[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 th statues of the illustrious men of our country.


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.


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.

« PreviousContinue »