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Title: George Washington, Volume I
Author: Lodge, Henry Cabot, 1850-1924
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "George Washington, Volume I" ***

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[Illustration: Frontispiece]

American Statesmen


[Illustration: _The Home of the Washington Family_]

       *       *       *       *       *




     VOL. I.



This edition has been carefully revised, and although very little has
been added of late years to our knowledge of the facts of Washington's
life, I have tried to examine all that has appeared. The researches of
Mr. Waters, which were published just after these volumes in the first
edition had passed through the press, enable me to give the Washington
pedigree with certainty, and have turned conjecture into fact. The
recent publication in full of Lear's memoranda, although they tell
nothing new about Washington's last moments, help toward a completion
of all the details of the scene.


WASHINGTON, February 7, 1898.

       *       *       *       *       *







From the painting by Gilbert Stuart in the Museum of Fine Arts,
Boston. This painting is owned by the Boston Athenæum and is known as
the Athenæum portrait.

Autograph is from Washington's signature to a bill of exchange, from
"Talks about Autographs" by George Birkbeck Hill.

The vignette of the residence of the Washington family is from "Homes
of American Statesman," published by Alfred W. Putnam, New York.


From an original painting in the possession of Lawrence Washington,
Esq., Alexandria, Va., a great-great-great-nephew.

Autograph from MS. in New York Public Library, Lenox Building.


From an original painting owned by Dr. James D. Moncure of Virginia,
one of her descendants.

No autograph can be found.


From Irving's "Washington," published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.

Autograph from Appleton's "Cyclopædia of American Biography."


From the original painting by Emanuel Leutze in the New York
Metropolitan Museum. The United States flag shown in the picture is an
anachronism. The stars and stripes were first adopted by Congress in
June, 1777; and any flag carried by Washington's army in December,
1776, would have consisted of the stripes with the crosses of St.
George and St. Andrew in the blue field where the stars now appear.


February 9 in the year 1800 was a gala day in Paris. Napoleon had
decreed a triumphal procession, and on that day a splendid military
ceremony was performed in the Champ de Mars, and the trophies of the
Egyptian expedition were exultingly displayed. There were, however,
two features in all this pomp and show which seemed strangely out
of keeping with the glittering pageant and the sounds of victorious
rejoicing. The standards and flags of the army were hung with crape,
and after the grand parade the dignitaries of the land proceeded
solemnly to the Temple of Mars, and heard the eloquent M. de Fontanes
deliver an "Eloge Funèbre."[1]

[Footnote 1: A report recently discovered shows that more even was
intended than was actually done.

The following is a translation of the paper, the original of which
is Nos. 172 and 173 of volume 51 of the manuscript series known as
_Etats-Unis_, 1799, 1800 (years 7 and 8 of the French republic):--

    "_Report of Talleyrand, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the
    occasion of the death of George Washington_.

    "A nation which some day will he a great nation, and which today
    is the wisest and happiest on the face of the earth, weeps at the
    bier of a man whose courage and genius contributed the most to
    free it from bondage, and elevate it to the rank of an independent
    and sovereign power. The regrets caused by the death of this
    great man, the memories aroused by these regrets, and a proper
    veneration for all that is held dear and sacred by mankind, impel
    us to give expression to our sentiments by taking part in an event
    which deprives the world of one of its brightest ornaments, and
    removes to the realm of history one of the noblest lives that ever
    honored the human race.

    "The name of Washington is inseparably linked with a memorable
    epoch. He adorned this epoch by his talents and the nobility of
    his character, and with virtues that even envy dared not assail.
    History offers few examples of such renown. Great from the outset
    of his career, patriotic before his country had become a nation,
    brilliant and universal despite the passions and political
    resentments that would gladly have checked his career, his fame
    is to-day imperishable,--fortune having consecrated his claim to
    greatness, while the prosperity of a people destined for grand
    achievements is the best evidence of a fame ever to increase.

    "His own country now honors his memory with funeral ceremonies,
    having lost a citizen whose public actions and unassuming grandeur
    in private life were a living example of courage, wisdom, and
    unselfishness; and France, which from the dawn of the American
    Revolution hailed with hope a nation, hitherto unknown, that was
    discarding the vices of Europe, which foresaw all the glory that
    this nation would bestow on humanity, and the enlightenment of
    governments that would ensue from the novel character of the
    social institutions and the new type of heroism of which
    Washington and America were models for the world at
    large,--France, I repeat, should depart from established usages
    and do honor to one whose fame is beyond comparison with that of

    "The man who, amid the decadence of modern ages, first dared
    believe that he could inspire degenerate nations with courage to
    rise to the level of republican virtues, lived for all nations and
    for all centuries; and this nation, which first saw in the life
    and success of that illustrious man a foreboding of its destiny,
    and therein recognized a future to be realized and duties to be
    performed, has every right to class him as a fellow-citizen. I
    therefore submit to the First Consul the following decree:--
      "Bonaparte, First Consul of the republic, decrees as follows:--
      "Article 1. A statue is to be erected to General Washington.
      "Article 2. This statue is to be placed in one of the squares of
    Paris, to be chosen by the minister of the interior, and it shall
    be his duty to execute the present decree."]

About the same time, if tradition may be trusted, the flags upon the
conquering Channel fleet of England were lowered to half-mast in token
of grief for the same event which had caused the armies of France to
wear the customary badges of mourning.

If some "traveler from an antique land" had observed these
manifestations, he would have wondered much whose memory it was that
had called them forth from these two great nations, then struggling
fiercely with each other for supremacy on land and sea. His wonder
would not have abated had he been told that the man for whom they
mourned had wrested an empire from one, and at the time of his death
was arming his countrymen against the other.

These signal honors were paid by England and France to a simple
Virginian gentleman who had never left his own country, and who when
he died held no other office than the titular command of a provisional
army. Yet although these marks of respect from foreign nations were
notable and striking, they were slight and formal in comparison with
the silence and grief which fell upon the people of the United States
when they heard that Washington was dead. He had died in the fullness
of time, quietly, quickly, and in his own house, and yet his death
called out a display of grief which has rarely been equaled in
history. The trappings and suits of woe were there of course, but what
made this mourning memorable was that the land seemed hushed with
sadness, and that the sorrow dwelt among the people and was neither
forced nor fleeting. Men carried it home with them to their firesides
and to their churches, to their offices and their workshops. Every
preacher took the life which had closed as the noblest of texts, and
every orator made it the theme of his loftiest eloquence. For more
than a year the newspapers teemed with eulogy and elegy, and both
prose and poetry were severely taxed to pay tribute to the memory of
the great one who had gone. The prose was often stilted and the verse
was generally bad, but yet through it all, from the polished sentences
of the funeral oration to the humble effusions of the obscurest poet's
corner, there ran a strong and genuine feeling, which the highest art
could not refine nor the clumsiest expression degrade.

From that time to this, the stream of praise has flowed on, ever
deepening and strengthening, both at home and abroad. Washington alone
in history seems to have risen so high in the estimation of men that
criticism has shrunk away abashed, and has only been heard whispering
in corners or growling hoarsely in the now famous house in Cheyne Row.

There is a world of meaning in all this, could we but rightly
interpret it. It cannot be brushed aside as mere popular superstition,
formed of fancies and prejudices, to which intelligent opposition
would be useless. Nothing is in fact more false than the way in which
popular opinions are often belittled and made light of. The opinion
of the world, however reached, becomes in the course of years or
centuries the nearest approach we can make to final judgment on
human things. Don Quixote may be dumb to one man, and the sonnets of
Shakespeare may leave another cold and weary. But the fault is in
the reader. There is no doubt of the greatness of Cervantes or
Shakespeare, for they have stood the test of time, and the voices of
generations of men, from which there is no appeal, have declared them
to be great. The lyrics that all the world loves and repeats, the
poetry which is often called hackneyed, is on the whole the best
poetry. The pictures and statues that have drawn crowds of admiring
gazers for centuries are the best. The things that are "caviare to the
general" often undoubtedly have much merit, but they lack quite as
often the warm, generous, and immortal vitality which appeals alike to
rich and poor, to the ignorant and to the learned.

So it is with men. When years after his death the world agrees to call
a man great, the verdict must be accepted. The historian may whiten or
blacken, the critic may weigh and dissect, the form of the judgment
may be altered, but the central fact remains, and with the man, whom
the world in its vague way has pronounced great, history must reckon
one way or the other, whether for good or ill.

When we come to such a man as Washington, the case is still stronger.
Men seem to have agreed that here was greatness which no one could
question, and character which no one could fail to respect. Around
other leaders of men, even around the greatest of them, sharp
controversies have arisen, and they have their partisans dead as they
had them living. Washington had enemies who assailed him, and friends
whom he loved, but in death as in life he seems to stand alone, above
conflict and superior to malice. In his own country there is no
dispute as to his greatness or his worth. Englishmen, the most
unsparing censors of everything American, have paid homage to
Washington, from the days of Fox and Byron to those of Tennyson and
Gladstone. In France his name has always been revered, and in distant
lands those who have scarcely heard of the existence of the United
States know the country of Washington. To the mighty cairn which the
nation and the states have raised to his memory, stones have come
from Greece, sending a fragment of the Parthenon; from Brazil and
Switzerland, Turkey and Japan, Siam and India beyond the Ganges. On
that sent by China we read: "In devising plans, Washington was more
decided than Ching Shing or Woo Kwang; in winning a country he was
braver than Tsau Tsau or Ling Pi. Wielding his four-footed falchion,
he extended the frontiers and refused to accept the Royal Dignity. The
sentiments of the Three Dynasties have reappeared in him. Can any man
of ancient or modern times fail to pronounce Washington peerless?"
These comparisons so strange to our ears tell of a fame which has
reached farther than we can readily conceive.

Washington stands as a type, and has stamped himself deep upon the
imagination of mankind. Whether the image be true or false is of no
consequence: the fact endures. He rises up from the dust of history as
a Greek statue comes pure and serene from the earth in which it has
lain for centuries. We know his deeds; but what was it in the man
which has given him such a place in the affection, the respect, and
the imagination of his fellow men throughout the world?

Perhaps this question has been fully answered already. Possibly every
one who has thought upon the subject has solved the problem, so that
even to state it is superfluous. Yet a brilliant writer, the latest
historian of the American people, has said: "General Washington is
known to us, and President Washington. But George Washington is an
unknown man." These are pregnant words, and that they should be true
seems to make any attempt to fill the great gap an act of sheer and
hopeless audacity. Yet there can be certainly no reason for adding
another to the almost countless lives of Washington unless it be done
with the object in view which Mr. McMaster indicates. Any such attempt
may fail in execution, but if the purpose be right it has at least an
excuse for its existence.

To try to add to the existing knowledge of the facts in Washington's
career would have but little result beyond the multiplication of
printed pages. The antiquarian, the historian, and the critic have
exhausted every source, and the most minute details have been and
still are the subject of endless writing and constant discussion.
Every house he ever lived in has been drawn and painted; every
portrait, and statue, and medal has been catalogued and engraved. His
private affairs, his servants, his horses, his arms, even his clothes,
have all passed beneath the merciless microscope of history. His
biography has been written and rewritten. His letters have been drawn
out from every lurking place, and have been given to the world in
masses and in detachments. His battles have been fought over and
over again, and his state papers have undergone an almost verbal
examination. Yet, despite his vast fame and all the labors of the
antiquarian and biographer, Washington is still not understood,--as a
man he is unfamiliar to the posterity that reverences his memory. He
has been misrepresented more or less covertly by hostile critics and
by candid friends, and has been disguised and hidden away by the
mistaken eulogy and erroneous theories of devout admirers. All that
any one now can do, therefore, is to endeavor from this mass of
material to depict the very man himself in the various conjunctures of
his life, and strive to see what he really was and what he meant then,
and what he is and what he means to us and to the world to-day.

In the progress of time Washington has become in the popular
imagination largely mythical; for mythical ideas grow up in this
nineteenth century, notwithstanding its boasted intelligence, much as
they did in the infancy of the race. The old sentiment of humanity,
more ancient and more lasting than any records or monuments, which led
men in the dawn of history to worship their ancestors and the founders
of states, still endures. As the centuries have gone by, this
sentiment has lost its religious flavor, and has become more and
more restricted in its application, but it has never been wholly
extinguished. Let some man arise great above the ordinary bounds of
greatness, and the feeling which caused our progenitors to bow down
at the shrines of their forefathers and chiefs leads us to invest
our modern hero with a mythical character, and picture him in our
imagination as a being to whom, a few thousand years ago, altars would
have been builded and libations poured out.

Thus we have to-day in our minds a Washington grand, solemn, and
impressive. In this guise he appears as a man of lofty intellect, vast
moral force, supremely successful and fortunate, and wholly apart
from and above all his fellow-men. This lonely figure rises up to our
imagination with all the imperial splendor of the Livian Augustus, and
with about as much warmth and life as that unrivaled statue. In this
vague but quite serious idea there is a great deal of truth, but
not the whole truth. It is the myth of genuine love and veneration
springing from the inborn gratitude of man to the founders and chiefs
of his race, but it is not by any means the only one of its family.
There is another, equally diffused, of wholly different parentage.
In its inception this second myth is due to the itinerant parson,
bookmaker, and bookseller, Mason Weems. He wrote a brief biography of
Washington, of trifling historical value, yet with sufficient literary
skill to make it widely popular. It neither appealed to nor was read
by the cultivated and instructed few, but it reached the homes of the
masses of the people. It found its way to the bench of the mechanic,
to the house of the farmer, to the log cabins of the frontiersman and
pioneer. It was carried across the continent on the first waves of
advancing settlement. Its anecdotes and its simplicity of thought
commended it to children both at home and at school, and, passing
through edition after edition, its statements were widely spread, and
it colored insensibly the ideas of hundreds of persons who never had
heard even the name of the author. To Weems we owe the anecdote of the
cherry-tree, and other tales of a similar nature. He wrote with Dr.
Beattie's life of his son before him as a model, and the result is
that Washington comes out in his pages a faultless prig. Whether Weems
intended it or not, that is the result which he produced, and that is
the Washington who was developed from the wide sale of his book. When
this idea took definite and permanent shape it caused a reaction.
There was a revolt against it, for the hero thus engendered had
qualities which the national sense of humor could not endure in
silence. The consequence is, that the Washington of Weems has afforded
an endless theme for joke and burlesque. Every professional American
humorist almost has tried his hand at it; and with each recurring 22d
of February the hard-worked jesters of the daily newspapers take it
up and make a little fun out of it, sufficient for the day that is
passing over them. The opportunity is tempting, because of the ease
with which fun can be made when that fundamental source of humor, a
violent contrast, can be employed. But there is no irreverence in it
all, for the jest is not aimed at the real Washington, but at the
Washington portrayed in the Weems biography. The worthy "rector of
Mount Vernon," as he called himself, meant no harm, and there is a
good deal of truth, no doubt, in his book. But the blameless and
priggish boy, and the equally faultless and uninteresting man, whom he
originated, have become in the process of development a myth. So in
its further development is the Washington of the humorist a myth.
Both alike are utterly and crudely false. They resemble their great
original as much as Greenough's classically nude statue, exposed to
the incongruities of the North American climate, resembles in dress
and appearance the general of our armies and the first President of
the United States.

Such are the myth-makers. They are widely different from the critics
who have assailed Washington in a sidelong way, and who can be better
dealt with in a later chapter. These last bring charges which can be
met; the myth-maker presents a vague conception, extremely difficult
to handle because it is so elusive.

One of our well-known historical scholars and most learned
antiquarians, not long ago, in an essay vindicating the "traditional
Washington," treated with scorn the idea of a "new Washington" being
discovered. In one sense this is quite right, in another totally
wrong. There can be no new Washington discovered, because there never
was but one. But the real man has been so overlaid with myths and
traditions, and so distorted by misleading criticisms, that, as
has already been suggested, he has been wellnigh lost. We have
the religious or statuesque myth, we have the Weems myth, and the
ludicrous myth of the writer of paragraphs. We have the stately hero
of Sparks, and Everett, and Marshall, and Irving, with all his great
deeds as general and president duly recorded and set down in polished
and eloquent sentences; and we know him to be very great and wise and
pure, and, be it said with bated breath, very dry and cold. We are
also familiar with the common-place man who so wonderfully illustrated
the power of character as set forth by various persons, either from
love of novelty or because the great chief seemed to get in the way of
their own heroes.

If this is all, then the career of Washington and his towering fame
present a problem of which the world has never seen the like. But this
cannot be all: there must be more behind. Every one knows the famous
Stuart portrait of Washington. The last effort of the artist's cunning
is there employed to paint his great subject for posterity. How serene
and beautiful it is! It is a noble picture for future ages to look
upon. Still it is not all. There is in the dining-room of Memorial
Hall at Cambridge another portrait, painted by Savage. It is cold and
dry, hard enough to serve for the signboard of an inn, and able, one
would think, to withstand all weathers. Yet this picture has something
which Stuart left out. There is a rugged strength in the face which
gives us pause, there is a massiveness in the jaw, telling of an iron
grip and a relentless will, which has infinite meaning.

  "Here's John the Smith's rough-hammered head. Great eye,
  Gross jaw, and griped lips do what granite can
  To give you the crown-grasper. What a man!"

In death as in life, there is something about Washington, call it
greatness, dignity, majesty, what you will, which seems to hold men
aloof and keep them from knowing him. In truth he was a most difficult
man to know. Carlyle, crying out through hundreds of pages and myriads
of words for the "silent man," passed by with a sneer the most
absolutely silent great man that history can show. Washington's
letters and speeches and messages fill many volumes, but they are all
on business. They are profoundly silent as to the writer himself. From
this Carlyle concluded apparently that there was nothing to tell,--a
very shallow conclusion if it was the one he really reached. Such an
idea was certainly far, very far, from the truth.

Behind the popular myths, behind the statuesque figure of the orator
and the preacher, behind the general and the president of the
historian, there was a strong, vigorous man, in whose veins ran warm,
red blood, in whose heart were stormy passions and deep sympathy for
humanity, in whose brain were far-reaching thoughts, and who was
informed throughout his being with a resistless will. The veil of his
silence is not often lifted, and never intentionally, but now and then
there is a glimpse behind it; and in stray sentences and in little
incidents strenuously gathered together; above all, in the right
interpretation of the words, and the deeds, and the true history known
to all men,--we can surely find George Washington "the noblest figure
that ever stood in the forefront of a nation's life."

       *       *       *       *       *




To know George Washington, we must first of all understand the society
in which he was born and brought up. As certain lilies draw their
colors from the subtle qualities of the soil hidden beneath the water
upon which they float, so are men profoundly affected by the obscure
and insensible influences which surround their childhood and youth.
The art of the chemist may discover perhaps the secret agent which
tints the white flower with blue or pink, but very often the elements,
which analysis detects, nature alone can combine. The analogy is
not strained or fanciful when we apply it to a past society. We can
separate, and classify, and label the various elements, but to combine
them in such a way as to form a vivid picture is a work of surpassing
difficulty. This is especially true of such a land as Virginia in the
middle of the last century. Virginian society, as it existed at that
period, is utterly extinct. John Randolph said it had departed before
the year 1800. Since then another century, with all its manifold
changes, has wellnigh come and gone. Most important of all, the last
surviving institution of colonial Virginia has been swept away in the
crash of civil war, which has opened a gulf between past and present
wider and deeper than any that time alone could make.

Life and society as they existed in the Virginia of the eighteenth
century seem, moreover, to have been sharply broken and ended. We
cannot trace our steps backward, as is possible in most cases, over
the road by which the world has traveled since those days. We are
compelled to take a long leap mentally in order to land ourselves
securely in the Virginia which honored the second George, and looked
up to Walpole and Pitt as the arbiters of its fate.

We live in a period of great cities, rapid communication, vast and
varied business interests, enormous diversity of occupation, great
industries, diffused intelligence, farming by steam, and with
everything and everybody pervaded by an unresting, high-strung
activity. We transport ourselves to the Virginia of Washington's
boyhood, and find a people without cities or towns, with no means
of communication except what was afforded by rivers and wood roads;
having no trades, no industries, no means of spreading knowledge, only
one occupation, clumsily performed; and living a quiet, monotonous
existence, which can now hardly be realized. It is "a far cry to
Loch-Awe," as the Scotch proverb has it; and this old Virginian
society, although we should find it sorry work living in it, is both
pleasant and picturesque in the pages of history.

The population of Virginia, advancing toward half a million, and
divided pretty equally between the free whites and the enslaved
blacks, was densest, to use a most inappropriate word, at the water's
edge and near the mouths of the rivers. Thence it crept backwards,
following always the lines of the watercourses, and growing ever
thinner and more scattered until it reached the Blue Ridge. Behind
the mountains was the wilderness, haunted, as old John Lederer said a
century earlier, by monsters, and inhabited, as the eighteenth-century
Virginians very well knew, by savages and wild beasts, much more real
and dangerous than the hobgoblins of their ancestors.

The population, in proportion to its numbers, was very widely
distributed. It was not collected in groups, after the fashion with
which we are now familiar, for then there were no cities or towns
in Virginia. The only place which could pretend to either name was
Norfolk, the solitary seaport, which, with its six or seven thousand
inhabitants, formed the most glaring exception that any rule
solicitous of proof could possibly desire. Williamsburg, the capital,
was a straggling village, somewhat overweighted with the public
buildings and those of the college. It would light up into life and
vivacity during the season of politics and society, and then relapse
again into the country stillness. Outside of Williamsburg and Norfolk
there were various points which passed in the catalogue and on the map
for towns, but which in reality were merely the shadows of a name. The
most populous consisted of a few houses inhabited by storekeepers and
traders, some tobacco warehouses, and a tavern, clustered about the
church or court-house. Many others had only the church, or, if a
county seat, the church and court-house, keeping solitary state in the
woods. There once a week the sound of prayer and gossip, or at longer
intervals the voices of lawyers and politicians, and the shouts of the
wrestlers on the green, broke through the stillness which with the
going down of the sun resumed its sway in the forests.

There was little chance here for that friction of mind with mind, or
for that quick interchange of thought and sentiment and knowledge
which are familiar to the dwellers in cities, and which have driven
forward more rapidly than all else what we call civilization. Rare
meetings for special objects with persons as solitary in their lives
and as ill-informed as himself, constituted to the average Virginian
the world of society, and there was nothing from outside to supply the
deficiencies at home. Once a fortnight a mail crawled down from
the North, and once a month another crept on to the South. George
Washington was four years old when the first newspaper was published
in the colony, and he was twenty when the first actors appeared at
Williamsburg. What was not brought was not sought. The Virginians did
not go down to the sea in ships. They were not a seafaring race, and
as they had neither trade nor commerce they were totally destitute of
the inquiring, enterprising spirit, and of the knowledge brought
by those pursuits which involve travel and adventure. The English
tobacco-ships worked their way up the rivers, taking the great staple,
and leaving their varied goods, and their tardy news from Europe,
wherever they stopped. This was the sum of the information and
intercourse which Virginia got from across the sea, for travelers were
practically unknown. Few came on business, fewer still from curiosity.
Stray peddlers from the North, or trappers from beyond the mountains
with their packs of furs, chiefly constituted what would now be called
the traveling public. There were in truth no means of traveling except
on foot, on horseback, or by boat on the rivers, which formed the
best and most expeditious highways. Stage-coaches, or other public
conveyances, were unknown. Over some of the roads the rich man, with
his six horses and black outriders, might make his way in a lumbering
carriage, but most of the roads were little better than woodland
paths; and the rivers, innocent of bridges, offered in the uncertain
fords abundance of inconvenience, not unmixed with peril. The taverns
were execrable, and only the ever-ready hospitality of the people
made it possible to get from place to place. The result was that the
Virginians stayed at home, and sought and welcomed the rare stranger
at their gates as if they were well aware that they were entertaining

It is not difficult to sift this home-keeping people, and find out
that portion which was Virginia, for the mass was but an appendage
of the small fraction which ruled, led, and did the thinking for the
whole community. Half the people were slaves, and in that single
wretched word their history is told. They were, on the whole, well
and kindly treated, but they have no meaning in history except as an
institution, and as an influence in the lives, feelings, and character
of the men who made the state.

Above the slaves, little better than they in condition, but separated
from them by the wide gulf of race and color, were the indented white
servants, some convicts, some redemptioners. They, too, have their
story told when we have catalogued them. We cross another gulf and
come to the farmers, to the men who grew wheat as well as tobacco on
their own land, sometimes working alone, sometimes the owners of a few
slaves. Some of these men were of the class well known since as the
"poor whites" of the South, the weaker brothers who could not resist
the poison of slavery, but sank under it into ignorance and poverty.
They were contented because their skins were white, and because they
were thereby part of an aristocracy to whom labor was a badge of
serfdom. The larger portion of this middle class, however, were
thrifty and industrious enough. Including as they did in their ranks
the hunters and pioneers, the traders and merchants, all the freemen
in fact who toiled and worked, they formed the mass of the white
population, and furnished the bone and sinew and some of the
intellectual power of Virginia. The only professional men were the
clergy, for the lawyers were few, and growing to importance only as
the Revolution began; while the physicians were still fewer, and as a
class of no importance at all. The clergy were a picturesque
element in the social landscape, but they were as a body very poor
representatives of learning, religion, and morality. They ranged from
hedge parsons and Fleet chaplains, who had slunk away from England
to find a desirable obscurity in the new world, to divines of real
learning and genuine piety, who were the supporters of the college,
and who would have been a credit to any society. These last, however,
were lamentably few in number. The mass of the clergy were men who
worked their own lands, sold tobacco, were the boon companions of the
planters, hunted, shot, drank hard, and lived well, performing their
sacred duties in a perfunctory and not always in a decent manner.

The clergy, however, formed the stepping-stone socially between
the farmers, traders, and small planters, and the highest and most
important class in Virginian society. The great planters were the
men who owned, ruled, and guided Virginia. Their vast estates were
scattered along the rivers from the seacoast to the mountains. Each
plantation was in itself a small village, with the owner's house in
the centre, surrounded by outbuildings and negro cabins, and the
pastures, meadows, and fields of tobacco stretching away on all sides.
The rare traveler, pursuing his devious way on horseback or in a boat,
would catch sight of these noble estates opening up from the road or
the river, and then the forest would close in around him for several
miles, until through the thinning trees he would see again the white
cabins and the cleared fields of the next plantation.

In such places dwelt the Virginian planters, surrounded by their
families and slaves, and in a solitude broken only by the infrequent
and eagerly welcomed stranger, by their duties as vestrymen and
magistrates, or by the annual pilgrimage to Williamsburg in search of
society, or to sit in the House of Burgesses. They were occupied by
the care of their plantations, which involved a good deal of riding in
the open air, but which was at best an easy and indolent pursuit made
light by slave labor and trained overseers. As a result the planters
had an abundance of spare time, which they devoted to cock-fighting,
horse-racing, fishing, shooting, and fox-hunting,--all, save the
first, wholesome and manly sports, but which did not demand any undue
mental strain. There is, indeed, no indication that the Virginians
had any great love for intellectual exertion. When the amiable
attorney-general of Charles II. said to the Virginian commissioners,
pleading the cause of learning and religion, "Damn your souls! grow
tobacco!" he uttered a precept which the mass of the planters seem to
have laid to heart. For fifty years there were no schools, and down to
the Revolution even the apologies bearing that honored name were
few, and the college was small and struggling. In some of the great
families, the eldest sons would be sent to England and to the great
universities: they would make the grand tour, play a part in the
fashionable society of London, and come back to their plantations fine
gentlemen and scholars. Such was Colonel Byrd, in the early part of
the eighteenth century, a friend of the Earl of Orrery, and the author
of certain amusing memoirs. Such at a later day was Arthur Lee,
doctor and diplomat, student and politician. But most of these young
gentlemen thus sent abroad to improve their minds and manners led a
life not materially different from that of our charming friend, Harry
Warrington, after his arrival in England.

The sons who stayed at home sometimes gathered a little learning from
the clergyman of the parish, or received a fair education at the
College of William and Mary, but very many did not have even so much
as this. There was not in truth much use for learning in managing a
plantation or raising horses, and men get along surprisingly well
without that which they do not need, especially if the acquisition
demands labor. The Virginian planter thought little and read less,
and there were no learned professions to hold out golden prizes and
stimulate the love of knowledge. The women fared even worse, for
they could not go to Europe or to William and Mary's, so that after
exhausting the teaching capacity of the parson they settled down to a
round of household duties and to the cares of a multitude of slaves,
working much harder and more steadily than their lords and masters
ever thought of doing.

The only general form of intellectual exertion was that of governing.
The planters managed local affairs through the vestries, and ruled
Virginia in the House of Burgesses. To this work they paid strict
attention, and, after the fashion of their race, did it very well and
very efficiently. They were an extremely competent body whenever they
made up their minds to do anything; but they liked the life and habits
of Squire Western, and saw no reason for adopting any others until it
was necessary.

There were, of course, vast differences in the condition of the
planters. Some counted their acres by thousands and their slaves by
hundreds, while others scrambled along as best they might with one
plantation and a few score of negroes. Some dwelt in very handsome
houses, picturesque and beautiful, like Gunston Hall or Stratford, or
in vast, tasteless, and extravagant piles like Rosewell. Others were
contented with very modest houses, consisting of one story with a
gabled roof, and flanked by two massive chimneys. In some houses there
was a brave show of handsome plate and china, fine furniture, and
London-made carriages, rich silks and satins, and brocaded dresses.
In others there were earthenware and pewter, homespun and woolen, and
little use for horses, except in the plough or under the saddle.

But there were certain qualities common to all the Virginia planters.
The luxury was imperfect. The splendor was sometimes barbaric. There
were holes in the brocades, and the fresh air of heaven would often
blow through a broken window upon the glittering silver and the costly
china. It was an easy-going aristocracy, unfinished, and frequently
slovenly in its appointments, after the fashion of the warmer climates
and the regions of slavery.

Everything was plentiful except ready money. In this rich and poor
were alike. They were all ahead of their income, and it seems as if,
from one cause or another, from extravagance or improvidence, from
horses or the gaming-table, every Virginian family went through
bankruptcy about once in a generation.

When Harry Warrington arrived in England, all his relations at
Castlewood regarded the handsome young fellow as a prince, with his
acres and his slaves. It was a natural and pleasing delusion, born of
the possession of land and serfs, to which the Virginians themselves
gave ready credence. They forgot that the land was so plentiful that
it was of little value; that slaves were the most wasteful form of
labor; and that a failure of the tobacco crop, pledged before it was
gathered, meant ruin, although they had been reminded more than once
of this last impressive fact. They knew that they had plenty to eat
and drink, and a herd of people to wait upon them and cultivate their
land, as well as obliging London merchants always ready to furnish
every luxury in return for the mortgage of a crop or an estate. So
they gave themselves little anxiety as to the future and lived in the
present, very much to their own satisfaction.

To the communities of trade and commerce, to the mercantile and
industrial spirit of to-day, such an existence and such modes of life
appear distressingly lax and unprogressive. The sages of the bank
parlors and the counting-rooms would shake their heads at such
spendthrifts as these, refuse to discount their paper, and confidently
predict that by no possibility could they come to good. They had their
defects, no doubt, these planters and farmers of Virginia. The life
they led was strongly developed on the animal side, and was perhaps
neither stimulating nor elevating. The living was the reverse of
plain, and the thinking was neither extremely high nor notably
laborious. Yet in this very particular there is something rather
restful and pleasant to the eye wearied by the sight of incessant
movement, and to the ear deafened by the continual shout that nothing
is good that does not change, and that all change must be good. We
should probably find great discomforts and many unpleasant limitations
in the life and habits of a hundred years ago on any part of the
globe, and yet at a time when it seems as if rapidity and movement
were the last words and the ultimate ideals of civilization, it is
rather agreeable to turn to such a community as the eighteenth-century
planters of Virginia. They lived contentedly on the acres of their
fathers, and except at rare and stated intervals they had no other
interests than those furnished by their ancestral domain. At the
court-house, at the vestry, or in Williamsburg, they met their
neighbors and talked very keenly about the politics of Europe, or the
affairs of the colony. They were little troubled about religion, but
they worshiped after the fashion of their fathers, and had a serious
fidelity to church and king. They wrangled with their governors over
appropriations, but they lived on good terms with those eminent
persons, and attended state balls at what they called the palace, and
danced and made merry with much stateliness and grace. Their every-day
life ran on in the quiet of their plantations as calmly as one of
their own rivers. The English trader would come and go; the infrequent
stranger would be received and welcomed; Christmas would be kept in
hearty English fashion; young men from a neighboring estate would
ride over through the darkening woods to court, or dance, or play
the fiddle, like Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson; and these simple
events were all that made a ripple on the placid stream. Much time was
given to sports, rough, hearty, manly sports, with a spice of danger,
and these, with an occasional adventurous dash into the wilderness,
kept them sound and strong and brave, both in body and mind. There was
nothing languid or effeminate about the Virginian planter. He was a
robust man, quite ready to fight or work when the time came, and well
fitted to deal with affairs when he was needed. He was a free-handed,
hospitable, generous being, not much given to study or thought, but
thoroughly public-spirited and keenly alive to the interests of
Virginia. Above all things he was an aristocrat, set apart by the
dark line of race, color, and hereditary servitude, as proud as the
proudest Austrian with his endless quarterings, as sturdy and vigorous
as an English yeoman, and as jealous of his rights and privileges
as any baron who stood by John at Runnymede. To this aristocracy,
careless and indolent, given to rough pleasures and indifferent to the
finer and higher sides of life, the call came, as it comes to all men
sooner or later, and in response they gave their country soldiers,
statesmen, and jurists of the highest order, and fit for the great
work they were asked to do. We must go back to Athens to find another
instance of a society so small in numbers, and yet capable of such an
outburst of ability and force. They were of sound English stock, with
a slight admixture of the Huguenots, the best blood of France; and
although for a century and a half they had seemed to stagnate in
the New World, they were strong, fruitful, and effective beyond the
measure of ordinary races when the hour of peril and trial was at



Such was the world and such the community which counted as a small
fraction the Washington family. Our immediate concern is with that
family, for before we approach the man we must know his ancestors. The
greatest leader of scientific thought in this century has come to
the aid of the genealogist, and given to the results of the latter's
somewhat discredited labors a vitality and meaning which it seemed
impossible that dry and dusty pedigrees and barren tables of descent
should ever possess. We have always selected our race-horses according
to the doctrines of evolution, and we now study the character of a
great man by examining first the history of his forefathers.

Washington made so great an impression upon the world in his lifetime
that genealogists at once undertook for him the construction of a
suitable pedigree. The excellent Sir Isaac Heard, garter king-at-arms,
worked out a genealogy which seemed reasonable enough, and then wrote
to the president in relation to it. Washington in reply thanked him
for his politeness, sent him the Virginian genealogy of his own
branch, and after expressing a courteous interest said, in his simple
and direct fashion, that he had been a busy man and had paid but
little attention to the subject. His knowledge about his English
forefathers was in fact extremely slight. He had heard merely that
the first of the name in Virginia had come from one of the northern
counties of England, but whether from Lancashire or Yorkshire, or one
still more northerly, he could not tell. Sir Isaac was not thoroughly
satisfied with the correctness of his own work, but presently Baker
took it up in his history of Northamptonshire, and perfected it to
his own satisfaction and that of the world in general. This genealogy
derived Washington's descent from the owners of the manor of Sulgrave,
in Northamptonshire, and thence carried it back to the Norman knight,
Sir William de Hertburn. According to this pedigree the Virginian
settlers, John and Lawrence, were the sons of Lawrence Washington of
Sulgrave Manor, and this genealogy was adopted by Sparks and Irving,
as well as by the public at large. Twenty years ago, however, Colonel
Chester, by his researches, broke the most essential link in the chain
forged by Heard and Baker, proving clearly that the Virginian settlers
could not have been the sons of Lawrence of Sulgrave, as identified by
the garter king-at-arms. Still more recently the mythical spirit has
taken violent possession of the Washington ancestry, and an ingenious
gentleman has traced the pedigree of our first president back to
Thorfinn and thence to Odin, which is sufficiently remote, dignified,
and lofty to satisfy the most exacting Welshman that ever lived. Still
the breach made by Colonel Chester was not repaired, although many
writers, including some who should have known better, clung with
undiminished faith to the Heard pedigree. It was known that Colonel
Chester himself believed that he had found the true line, coming, it
is supposed, through a younger branch of the Sulgrave race, but he
died before he had discovered the one bit of evidence necessary to
prove an essential step, and he was too conscientiously accurate to
leave anything to conjecture. Since then the researches of Mr. Henry
E. Waters have established the pedigree of the Virginian Washingtons,
and we are now able to know something of the men from whom George
Washington drew his descent.

In that interesting land where everything, according to our narrow
ideas, is upside down, it is customary, when an individual arrives at
distinction, to confer nobility upon his ancestors instead of upon
his children. The Washingtons offer an interesting example of the
application of this Chinese system in the Western world, for, if they
have not been actually ennobled in recognition of the deeds of their
great descendant, they have at least become the subjects of intense
and general interest. Every one of the name who could be discovered
anywhere has been dragged forth into the light, and has had all that
was known about him duly recorded and set down. By scanning family
trees and pedigrees, and picking up stray bits of information here and
there, we can learn in a rude and general fashion what manner of men
those were who claimed descent from William of Hertburn, and who bore
the name of Washington in the mother-country. As Mr. Galton passes
a hundred faces before the same highly sensitized plate, and gets a
photograph which is a likeness of no one of his subjects, and yet
resembles them all, so we may turn the camera of history upon these
Washingtons, as they flash up for a moment from the dim past, and hope
to obtain what Professor Huxley calls a "generic" picture of the race,
even if the outlines be somewhat blurred and indistinct.

In the North of England, in the region conquered first by Saxons and
then by Danes, lies the little village of Washington. It came into the
possession of Sir William de Hertburn, and belonged to him at the time
of the Boldon Book in 1183. Soon after, he or his descendants took
the name of De Wessyngton, and there they remained for two centuries,
knights of the palatinate, holding their lands by a military tenure,
fighting in all the wars, and taking part in tournaments with becoming
splendor. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the line of feudal
knights of the palatinate was extinct, and the manor passed from the
family by the marriage of Dionisia de Wessyngton. But the main stock
had in the mean time thrown out many offshoots, which had taken firm
root in other parts and in many counties of England. We hear of
several who came in various ways to eminence. There was the learned
and vigorous prior of Durham, John de Wessyngton, probably one of the
original family, and the name appears in various places after his time
in records and on monuments, indicating a flourishing and increasing
race. Lawrence Washington, the direct ancestor of the first President
of the United States, was, in the sixteenth century, the mayor of
Northampton, and received from King Henry VIII. the manor of Sulgrave
in 1538. In the next century we find traces of Robert Washington of
the Adwick family, a rich merchant of Leeds, and of his son Joseph
Washington, a learned lawyer and author, of Gray's Inn. About the same
time we hear of Richard Washington and Philip Washington holding high
places at University College, Oxford. The Sulgrave branch, however,
was the most numerous and prosperous. From the mayor of Northampton
were descended Sir William Washington, who married the half-sister of
George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham; Sir Henry Washington, who made a
desperate defense of Worcester against the forces of the Parliament in
1646; Lieutenant-Colonel James Washington, who fell at the siege of
Pontefract, fighting for King Charles; another James, of a later time,
who was implicated in Monmouth's rebellion, fled to Holland and became
the progenitor of a flourishing and successful family, which has
spread to Germany and there been ennobled; Sir Lawrence Washington, of
Garsdon, whose grand-daughter married Robert Shirley, Baron Ferrers;
and others of less note, but all men of property and standing. They
seem to have been a successful, thrifty race, owning lands and
estates, wise magistrates and good soldiers, marrying well, and
increasing their wealth and strength from generation to generation.
They were of Norman stock, knights and gentlemen in the full sense of
the word before the French Revolution, and we can detect in them here
and there a marked strain of the old Norse blood, carrying with it
across the centuries the wild Berserker spirit which for centuries
made the adventurous Northmen the terror of Europe. They were a strong
race evidently, these Washingtons, whom we see now only by glimpses
through the mists of time, not brilliant apparently, never winning the
very highest fortune, having their failures and reverses no doubt,
but on the whole prudent, bold men, always important in their several
stations, ready to fight and ready to work, and as a rule successful
in that which they set themselves to do.

In 1658 the two brothers, John and Lawrence, appeared in Virginia. As
has been proved by Mr. Waters, they were of the Sulgrave family,
the sons of Lawrence Washington, fifth son of the elder Lawrence of
Sulgrave and Brington. The father of the emigrants was a fellow of
Brasenose College, Oxford, and rector of Purleigh, from which living
he was ejected by the Puritans as both "scandalous" and "malignant."
That he was guilty of the former charge we may well doubt; but that he
was, in the language of the time, "malignant," must be admitted, for
all his family, including his brothers, Sir William Washington of
Packington, and Sir John Washington of Thrapston, his nephew, Sir
Henry Washington, and his nephew-in-law, William Legge, ancestor of
the Earl of Dartmouth, were strongly on the side of the king. In a
marriage which seems to have been regarded as beneath the dignity of
the family, and in the poverty consequent upon the ejectment from
his living, we can find the reason for the sons of the Rev. Lawrence
Washington going forth into Virginia to find their fortune, and flying
from the world of victorious Puritanism which offered just then so
little hope to royalists like themselves. Yet what was poverty in
England was something much more agreeable in the New World of America.
The emigrant brothers at all events seem to have had resources of a
sufficient kind, and to have been men of substance, for they purchased
lands and established themselves at Bridges Creek, in Westmoreland
County. With this brief statement, Lawrence disappears, leaving us
nothing further than the knowledge that he had numerous descendants.
John, with whom we are more concerned, figures at once in the colonial
records of Maryland. He made complaint to the Maryland authorities,
soon after his arrival, against Edward Prescott, merchant, and captain
of the ship in which he had come over, for hanging a woman during the
voyage for witchcraft. We have a letter of his, explaining that he
could not appear at the first trial because he was about to baptize
his son, and had bidden the neighbors and gossips to the feast. A
little incident this, dug out of the musty records, but it shows us an
active, generous man, intolerant of oppression, public-spirited and
hospitable, social, and friendly in his new relations. He soon after
was called to mourn the death of his English wife and of two children,
but he speedily consoled himself by taking a second wife, Anne Pope,
by whom he had three children, Lawrence, John, and Anne. According to
the Virginian tradition, John Washington the elder was a surveyor, and
made a location of lands which was set aside because they had been
assigned to the Indians. It is quite apparent that he was a forehanded
person who acquired property and impressed himself upon his neighbors.
In 1667, when he had been but ten years in the colony, he was chosen
to the House of Burgesses; and eight years later he was made a colonel
and sent with a thousand men to join the Marylanders in destroying
the "Susquehannocks," at the "Piscataway" fort, on account of some
murdering begun by another tribe. As a feat of arms, the expedition
was not a very brilliant affair. The Virginians and Marylanders killed
half a dozen Indian chiefs during a parley, and then invested the
fort. After repulsing several sorties, they stupidly allowed the
Indians to escape in the night and carry murder and pillage through
the outlying settlements, lighting up first the flames of savage war
and then the fiercer fire of domestic insurrection. In the next year
we hear again of John Washington in the House of Burgesses, when Sir
William Berkeley assailed his troops for the murder of the Indians
during the parley. Popular feeling, however, was clearly with the
colonel, for nothing was done and the matter dropped. At that point,
too, in 1676, John Washington disappears from sight, and we know only
that as his will was proved in 1677, he must have died soon after the
scene with Berkeley. He was buried in the family vault at Bridges
Creek, and left a good estate to be divided among his children. The
colonel was evidently both a prudent and popular man, and quite
disposed to bustle about in the world in which he found himself. He
acquired lands, came to the front at once as a leader although a
new-comer in the country, was evidently a fighting man as is shown by
his selection to command the Virginian forces, and was honored by his
neighbors, who gave his name to the parish in which he dwelt. Then
he died and his son Lawrence reigned in his stead, and became by his
wife, Mildred Warner, the father of John, Augustine, and Mildred

This second son, Augustine, farmer and planter like his forefathers,
married first Jane Butler, by whom he had three sons and a daughter,
and second, Mary Ball, by whom he had four sons and two daughters. The
eldest child of these second nuptials was named George, and was born
on February 11 (O.S.), 1732, at Bridges Creek. The house in which
this event occurred was a plain, wooden farmhouse of the primitive
Virginian pattern, with four rooms on the ground floor, an attic story
with a long, sloping roof, and a massive brick chimney. Three years
after George Washington's birth it is said to have been burned, and
the family for this or some other reason removed to another estate in
what is now Stafford County. The second house was like the first, and
stood on rising ground looking across a meadow to the Rappahannock,
and beyond the river to the village of Fredericksburg, which was
nearly opposite. Here, in 1743, Augustine Washington died somewhat
suddenly, at the age of forty-nine, from an attack of gout brought on
by exposure in the rain, and was buried with his fathers in the old
vault at Bridges Creek. Here, too, the boyhood of Washington was
passed, and therefore it becomes necessary to look about us and see
what we can learn of this important period of his life.

We know nothing about his father, except that he was kindly and
affectionate, attached to his wife and children, and apparently
absorbed in the care of his estates. On his death the children came
wholly under the maternal influence and direction. Much has been
written about the "mother of Washington," but as a matter of fact,
although she lived to an advanced age, we know scarcely more about her
than we do about her husband. She was of gentle birth, and possessed
a vigorous character and a good deal of business capacity. The
advantages of education were given in but slight measure to the
Virginian ladies of her time, and Mrs. Washington offered no exception
to the general rule. Her reading was confined to a small number of
volumes, chiefly of a devotional character, her favorite apparently
being Hale's "Moral and Divine Contemplations." She evidently knew no
language but her own, and her spelling was extremely bad even in that
age of uncertain orthography. Certain qualities, however, are clear to
us even now through all the dimness. We can see that Mary Washington
was gifted with strong sense, and had the power of conducting business
matters providently and exactly. She was an imperious woman, of strong
will, ruling her kingdom alone. Above all she was very dignified, very
silent, and very sober-minded. That she was affectionate and loving
cannot be doubted, for she retained to the last a profound hold upon
the reverential devotion of her son, and yet as he rose steadily to
the pinnacle of human greatness, she could only say that "George
had been a good boy, and she was sure he would do his duty." Not a
brilliant woman evidently, not one suited to shine in courts, conduct
intrigues, or adorn literature, yet able to transmit moral qualities
to her oldest son, which, mingled with those of the Washingtons, were
of infinite value in the foundation of a great Republic. She found
herself a widow at an early age, with a family of young children to
educate and support. Her means were narrow, for although Augustine
Washington was able to leave what was called a landed estate to each
son, it was little more than idle capital, and the income in ready
money was by no means so evident as the acres.

Many are the myths, and deplorably few the facts, that have come
down to us in regard to Washington's boyhood. For the former we are
indebted to the illustrious Weems, and to that personage a few more
words must be devoted. Weems has been held up to the present age
in various ways, usually, it must be confessed, of an unflattering
nature, and "mendacious" is the adjective most commonly applied to
him. There has been in reality a good deal of needless confusion about
Weems and his book, for he was not a complex character, and neither he
nor his writings are difficult to value or understand. By profession a
clergyman or preacher, by nature an adventurer, Weems loved notoriety,
money, and a wandering life. So he wrote books which he correctly
believed would be popular, and sold them not only through the regular
channels, but by peddling them himself as he traveled about the
country. In this way he gratified all his propensities, and no doubt
derived from life a good deal of simple pleasure. Chance brought him
near Washington in the closing days, and his commercial instinct
told him that here was the subject of all others for his pen and
his market. He accordingly produced the biography which had so much
success. Judged solely as literature, the book is beneath contempt.
The style is turgid, overloaded, and at times silly. The statements
are loose, the mode of narration confused and incoherent, and the
moralizing is flat and common-place to the last degree. Yet there
was a certain sincerity of feeling underneath all the bombast and
platitudes, and this saved the book. The biography did not go, and was
not intended to go, into the hands of the polite society of the great
eastern towns. It was meant for the farmers, the pioneers, and the
backwoodsmen of the country. It went into their homes, and passed with
them beyond the Alleghanies and out to the plains and valleys of the
great West. The very defects of the book helped it to success among
the simple, hard-working, hard-fighting race engaged in the conquest
of the American continent. To them its heavy and tawdry style, its
staring morals, and its real patriotism all seemed eminently befitting
the national hero, and thus Weems created the Washington of the
popular fancy. The idea grew up with the country, and became so
ingrained in the popular thought that finally everybody was affected
by it, and even the most stately and solemn of the Washington
biographers adopted the unsupported tales of the itinerant parson and

In regard to the public life of Washington, Weems took the facts known
to every one, and drawn for the most part from the gazettes. He then
dressed them up in his own peculiar fashion and gave them to the
world. All this, forming of course nine tenths of his book, has
passed, despite its success, into oblivion. The remaining tenth
described Washington's boyhood until his fourteenth or fifteenth year,
and this, which is the work of the author's imagination, has lived.
Weems, having set himself up as absolutely the only authority as to
this period, has been implicitly followed, and has thus come to demand
serious consideration. Until Weems is weighed and disposed of, we
cannot even begin an attempt to get at the real Washington.

Weems was not a cold-blooded liar, a mere forger of anecdotes. He was
simply a man destitute of historical sense, training, or morals, ready
to take the slenderest fact and work it up for the purposes of the
market until it became almost as impossible to reduce it to its
original dimensions as it was for the fisherman to get the Afrit back
into his jar. In a word, Weems was an approved myth-maker. No better
example can be given than the way in which he described himself. It
is believed that he preached once, and possibly oftener, to a
congregation which numbered Washington among its members. Thereupon he
published himself in his book as the rector of Mount Vernon parish.
There was, to begin with, no such parish. There was Truro parish, in
which was a church called indifferently Pohick or Mount Vernon church.
Of this church Washington was a vestryman until 1785, when he joined
the church at Alexandria. The Rev. Lee Massey was the clergyman of the
Mount Vernon church, and the church at Alexandria had nothing to do
with Mount Vernon. There never was, moreover, such a person as the
rector of Mount Vernon parish, but it was the Weems way of treating
his appearance before the great man, and of deceiving the world with
the notion of an intimacy which the title implied.

Weems, of course, had no difficulty with the public life, but in
describing the boyhood he was thrown on his own resources, and out
of them he evolved the cherry-tree, the refusal to fight or permit
fighting among the boys at school, and the initials in the garden.
This last story is to the effect that Augustine Washington planted
seeds in such a manner that when they sprouted they formed on the
earth the initials of his son's name, and the boy being much delighted
thereby, the father explained to him that it was the work of the
Creator, and thus inculcated a profound belief in God. This tale
is taken bodily from Dr. Beattie's biographical sketch of his son,
published in England in 1799, and may be dismissed at once. As to the
other two more familiar anecdotes there is not a scintilla of evidence
that they had any foundation, and with them may be included the colt
story, told by Mr. Custis, a simple variation of the cherry-tree
theme, which is Washington's early love of truth. Weems says that
his stories were told him by a lady, and "a good old gentleman," who
remembered the incidents, while Mr. Custis gives no authority for his
minute account of a trivial event over a century old when he wrote.
To a writer who invented the rector of Mount Vernon, the further
invention of a couple of Boswells would be a trifle. I say Boswells
advisedly, for these stories are told with the utmost minuteness, and
the conversations between Washington and his father are given as if
from a stenographic report. How Mr. Custis, usually so accurate, came
to be so far infected with the Weems myth as to tell the colt story
after the Weems manner, cannot now be determined. There can be no
doubt that Washington, like most healthy boys, got into a good deal of
mischief, and it is not at all impossible that he injured fruit-trees
and confessed that he had done so. It may be accepted as certain that
he rode and mastered many unbroken thoroughbred colts, and it is
possible that one of them burst a blood-vessel in the process and
died, and that the boy promptly told his mother of the accident. But
this is the utmost credit which these two anecdotes can claim. Even so
much as this cannot be said of certain other improving tales of like
nature. That Washington lectured his playmates on the wickedness of
fighting, and in the year 1754 allowed himself to be knocked down in
the presence of his soldiers, and thereupon begged his assailant's
pardon for having spoken roughly to him, are stories so silly and
so foolishly impossible that they do not deserve an instant's

There is nothing intrinsically impossible in either the cherry-tree or
the colt incident, nor would there be in a hundred others which might
be readily invented. The real point is that these stories, as told by
Weems and Mr. Custis, are on their face hopelessly and ridiculously
false. They are so, not merely because they have no vestige of
evidence to support them, but because they are in every word and
line the offspring of a period more than fifty years later. No
English-speaking people, certainly no Virginians, ever thought or
behaved or talked in 1740 like the personages in Weems's stories,
whatever they may have done in 1790, or at the beginning of the next
century. These precious anecdotes belong to the age of Miss Edgeworth
and Hannah More and Jane Taylor. They are engaging specimens of the
"Harry and Lucy" and "Purple Jar" morality, and accurately reflect the
pale didacticism which became fashionable in England at the close of
the last century. They are as untrue to nature and to fact at the
period to which they are assigned as would be efforts to depict
Augustine Washington and his wife in the dress of the French
revolution discussing the propriety of worshiping the Goddess of

To enter into any serious historical criticism of these stories would
be to break a butterfly. So much as this even has been said only
because these wretched fables have gone throughout the world, and it
is time that they were swept away into the dust-heaps of history. They
represent Mr. and Mrs. Washington as affected and priggish people,
given to cheap moralizing, and, what is far worse, they have served
to place Washington himself in a ridiculous light to an age which has
outgrown the educational foibles of seventy-five years ago. Augustine
Washington and his wife were a gentleman and lady of the eighteenth
century, living in Virginia. So far as we know without guessing or
conjecture, they were simple, honest, and straight-forward, devoted to
the care of their family and estate, and doing their duty sensibly and
after the fashion of their time. Their son, to whom the greatest wrong
has been done, not only never did anything common or mean, but from
the beginning to the end of his life he was never for an instant
ridiculous or affected, and he was as utterly removed from canting
or priggishness as any human being could well be. Let us therefore
consign the Weems stories and their offspring to the limbo of
historical rubbish, and try to learn what the plain facts tell us of
the boy Washington.

Unfortunately these same facts are at first very few, so few that they
tell us hardly anything. We know when and where Washington was born;
and how, when he was little more than three years old,[1] he was taken
from Bridges Creek to the banks of the Rappahannock. There he was
placed under the charge of one Hobby, the sexton of the parish, to
learn his alphabet and his pothooks; and when that worthy man's store
of learning was exhausted he was sent back to Bridges Creek, soon
after his father's death, to live with his half-brother Augustine,
and obtain the benefits of a school kept by a Mr. Williams. There he
received what would now be called a fair common-school education,
wholly destitute of any instruction in languages, ancient or modern,
but apparently with some mathematical training.

[Footnote 1: There is a conflict about the period of this removal (see
above, p. 37). Tradition places it in 1735, but the Rev. Mr. McGuire
(_Religious Opinions of Washington_) puts it in 1739.]

That he studied faithfully cannot be doubted, and we know, too, that
he matured early, and was a tall, active, and muscular boy. He could
outwalk and outrun and outride any of his companions. As he could
no doubt have thrashed any of them too, he was, in virtue of these
qualities, which are respected everywhere by all wholesome minds, and
especially by boys, a leader among his school-fellows. We know further
that he was honest and true, and a lad of unusual promise, not because
of the goody-goody anecdotes of the myth-makers, but because he
was liked and trusted by such men as his brother Lawrence and Lord

There he was, at all events, in his fourteenth year, a big, strong,
hearty boy, offering a serious problem to his mother, who was
struggling along with many acres, little money, and five children.
Mrs. Washington's chief desire naturally was to put George in the way
of earning a living, which no doubt seemed far more important than
getting an education, and, as he was a sober-minded boy, the same idea
was probably profoundly impressed on his own mind also. This condition
of domestic affairs led to the first attempt to give Washington a
start in life, which has been given to us until very lately in a
somewhat decorated form. The fact is, that in casting about for
something to do, it occurred to some one, very likely to the boy
himself, that it would be a fine idea to go to sea. His masculine
friends and relatives urged the scheme upon Mrs. Washington, who
consented very reluctantly, if at all, not liking the notion of
parting with her oldest son, even in her anxiety to have him earn his
bread. When it came to the point, however, she finally decided against
his going, determined probably by a very sensible letter from her
brother, Joseph Ball, an English lawyer. In all the ornamented
versions we are informed that the boy was to enter the royal navy,
and that a midshipman's warrant was procured for him. There does not
appear to be any valid authority for the royal navy, the warrant, or
the midshipman. The contemporary Virginian letters speak simply of
"going to sea," while Mr. Ball says distinctly that the plan was to
enter the boy on a tobacco-ship, with an excellent chance of being
pressed on a man-of-war, and a very faint prospect of either getting
into the navy, or even rising to be the captain of one of the petty
trading-vessels familiar to Virginian planters. Some recent writers
have put Mr. Ball aside as not knowing what was intended in regard to
his nephew, but in view of the difficulty at that time of obtaining
commissions in the navy without great political influence, it seems
probable that Mrs. Washington's brother knew very well what he was
talking about, and he certainly wrote a very sensible letter. A bold,
adventurous boy, eager to earn his living and make his way in the
world, would, like many others before him, look longingly to the sea
as the highway to fortune and success. To Washington the romance of
the sea was represented by the tobacco-ship creeping up the river and
bringing all the luxuries and many of the necessaries of life from
vaguely distant countries. No doubt he wished to go on one of these
vessels and try his luck, and very possibly the royal navy was hoped
for as the ultimate result. The effort was certainly made to send
him to sea, but it failed, and he went back to school to study more

Apart from the fact that the exact sciences in moderate degree were
about all that Mr. Williams could teach, this branch of learning had
an immediate practical value, inasmuch as surveying was almost the
only immediately gainful pursuit open to a young Virginia gentleman,
who sorely needed a little ready money that he might buy slaves and
work a plantation. So Washington studied on for two years more, and
fitted himself to be a surveyor. There are still extant some early
papers belonging to this period, chiefly fragments of school
exercises, which show that he already wrote the bold, handsome
hand with which the world was to become familiar, and that he made
geometrical figures and notes of surveys with the neatness and
accuracy which clung to him in all the work of his life, whether great
or small. Among those papers, too, were found many copies of legal
forms, and a set of rules, over a hundred in number, as to etiquette
and behavior, carefully written out. It has always been supposed that
these rules were copied, but it was reserved apparently for the storms
of a mighty civil war to lay bare what may have been, if not the
source of the rules themselves, the origin and suggestion of their
compilation. At that time a little volume was found in Virginia
bearing the name of George Washington in a boyish hand on the
fly-leaf, and the date 1742. The book was entitled, "The Young Man's
Companion." It was an English work, and had passed through thirteen
editions, which was little enough in view of its varied and extensive
information. It was written by W. Mather, in a plain and easy style,
and treated of arithmetic, surveying, forms for legal documents, the
measuring of land and lumber, gardening, and many other useful topics,
and it contained general precepts which, with the aid of Hale's
"Contemplations," may readily have furnished the hints for the rules
found in manuscript among Washington's papers.[1] These rules were in
the main wise and sensible, and it is evident they had occupied deeply
the boy's mind.[2] They are for the most part concerned with the
commonplaces of etiquette and good manners, but there is something not
only apt but quite prophetic in the last one, "Labor to keep alive in
your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience." To
suppose that Washington's character was formed by these sententious
bits of not very profound wisdom would be absurd; but that a series of
rules which most lads would have regarded as simply dull should have
been written out and pondered by this boy indicates a soberness and
thoughtfulness of mind which certainly are not usual at that age.
The chief thought that runs through all the sayings is to practice
self-control, and no man ever displayed that most difficult of virtues
to such a degree as George Washington. It was no ordinary boy who took
such a lesson as this to heart before he was fifteen, and carried it
into his daily life, never to be forgotten. It may also be said that
very few boys ever needed it more; but those persons who know what
they chiefly need, and pursue it, are by no means common.

[Footnote 1: An account of this volume was given in the _New York
Tribune_ in 1866, and also in the _Historical Magazine_ (x. 47).]

[Footnote 2: The most important are given in Sparks' _Writings of
Washington_, ii. 412, and they may be found complete in the little
pamphlet concerning them, excellently edited by Dr. J.M. Toner, of



While Washington was working his way through the learning purveyed
by Mr. Williams, he was also receiving another education, of a much
broader and better sort, from the men and women among whom he found
himself, and with whom he made friends. Chief among them was his
eldest brother, Lawrence, fourteen years his senior, who had been
educated in England, had fought with Vernon at Carthagena, and had
then returned to Virginia, to be to him a generous father and a loving
friend. As the head of the family, Lawrence Washington had received
the lion's share of the property, including the estate at Hunting
Creek, on the Potomac, which he christened Mount Vernon, after his
admiral, and where he settled down and built him a goodly house. To
this pleasant spot George Washington journeyed often in vacation
time, and there he came to live and further pursue his studies, after
leaving school in the autumn of 1747.

Lawrence Washington had married the daughter of William Fairfax, the
proprietor of Belvoir, a neighboring plantation, and the agent for
the vast estates held by his family in Virginia. George Fairfax, Mrs.
Washington's brother, had married a Miss Gary, and thus two large and
agreeable family connections were thrown open to the young surveyor
when he emerged from school. The chief figure, however, in that
pleasant winter of 1747-48, so far as an influence upon the character
of Washington is concerned, was the head of the family into which
Lawrence Washington had married. Thomas, Lord Fairfax, then sixty
years of age, had come to Virginia to live upon and look after the
kingdom which he had inherited in the wilderness. He came of a noble
and distinguished race. Graduating at Oxford with credit, he served in
the army, dabbled in literature, had his fling in the London world,
and was jilted by a beauty who preferred a duke, and gave her faithful
but less titled lover an apparently incurable wound. His life having
been thus early twisted and set awry, Lord Fairfax, when well past his
prime, had determined finally to come to Virginia, bury himself in the
forests, and look after the almost limitless possessions beyond the
Blue Ridge, which he had inherited from his maternal grandfather, Lord
Culpeper, of unsavory Restoration memory. It was a piece of great
good-fortune which threw in Washington's path this accomplished
gentleman, familiar with courts and camps, disappointed, but not
morose, disillusioned, but still kindly and generous. From him the boy
could gain that knowledge of men and manners which no school can give,
and which is as important in its way as any that a teacher can impart.

Lord Fairfax and Washington became fast friends. They hunted the fox
together, and hunted him hard. They engaged in all the rough sports
and perilous excitements which Virginia winter life could afford, and
the boy's bold and skillful riding, his love of sports and his fine
temper, commended him to the warm and affectionate interest of the old
nobleman. Other qualities, too, the experienced man of the world saw
in his young companion: a high and persistent courage, robust and calm
sense, and, above all, unusual force of will and character. Washington
impressed profoundly everybody with whom he was brought into personal
contact, a fact which is one of the most marked features of his
character and career, and one which deserves study more than almost
any other. Lord Fairfax was no exception to the rule. He saw in
Washington not simply a promising, brave, open-hearted boy, diligent
in practicing his profession, and whom he was anxious to help, but
something more; something which so impressed him that he confided to
this lad a task which, according to its performance, would affect both
his fortune and his peace. In a word, he trusted Washington, and told
him, as the spring of 1748 was opening, to go forth and survey the
vast Fairfax estates beyond the Ridge, define their boundaries, and
save them from future litigation. With this commission from Lord
Fairfax, Washington entered on the first period of his career. He
passed it on the frontier, fighting nature, the Indians, and the
French. He went in a schoolboy; he came out the first soldier in the
colonies, and one of the leading men of Virginia. Let us pause a
moment and look at him as he stands on the threshold of this momentous
period, rightly called momentous because it was the formative period
in the life of such a man.


He had just passed his sixteenth birthday. He was tall and muscular,
approaching the stature of more than six feet which he afterwards
attained. He was not yet filled out to manly proportions, but was
rather spare, after the fashion of youth. He had a well-shaped,
active figure, symmetrical except for the unusual length of the arms,
indicating uncommon strength. His light brown hair was drawn back from
a broad forehead, and grayish-blue eyes looked happily, and perhaps a
trifle soberly, on the pleasant Virginia world about him. The face was
open and manly, with a square, massive jaw, and a general expression
of calmness and strength. "Fair and florid," big and strong, he was,
take him for all in all, as fine a specimen of his race as could be
found in the English colonies.

Let us look a little closer through the keen eyes of one who studied
many faces to good purpose. The great painter of portraits, Gilbert
Stuart, tells us of Washington that he never saw in any man such large
eye-sockets, or such a breadth of nose and forehead between the
eyes, and that he read there the evidences of the strongest passions
possible to human nature. John Bernard the actor, a good observer,
too, saw in Washington's face, in 1797, the signs of an habitual
conflict and mastery of passions, witnessed by the compressed mouth
and deeply indented brow. The problem had been solved then; but in
1748, passion and will alike slumbered, and no man could tell which
would prevail, or whether they would work together to great purpose
or go jarring on to nothingness. He rises up to us out of the past in
that early springtime a fine, handsome, athletic boy, beloved by those
about him, who found him a charming companion and did not guess that
he might be a terribly dangerous foe. He rises up instinct with life
and strength, a being capable, as we know, of great things whether for
good or evil, with hot blood pulsing in his veins and beating in his
heart, with violent passions and relentless will still undeveloped;
and no one in all that jolly, generous Virginian society even dimly
dreamed what that development would be, or what it would mean to the

It was in March, 1748, that George Fairfax and Washington set forth on
their adventures, and passing through Ashby's Gap in the Blue Ridge,
entered the valley of Virginia. Thence they worked their way up the
valley of the Shenandoah, surveying as they went, returned and swam
the swollen Potomac, surveyed the lands about its south branch and in
the mountainous region of Frederick County, and finally reached Mount
Vernon again on April 12. It was a rough experience for a beginner,
but a wholesome one, and furnished the usual vicissitudes of frontier
life. They were wet, cold, and hungry, or warm, dry, and well fed, by
turns. They slept in a tent, or the huts of the scattered settlers,
and oftener still beneath the stars. They met a war party of Indians,
and having plied them with liquor, watched one of their mad dances
round the camp-fire. In another place they came on a straggling
settlement of Germans, dull, patient, and illiterate, strangely unfit
for the life of the wilderness. All these things, as well as the
progress of their work and their various resting-places, Washington
noted down briefly but methodically in a diary, showing in these rough
notes the first evidences of that keen observation of nature and men
and of daily incidents which he developed to such good purpose in
after-life. There are no rhapsodies and no reflections in these hasty
jottings, but the employments and the discomforts are all set down in
a simple and matter-of-fact way, which omitted no essential thing and
excluded all that was worthless. His work, too, was well done, and
Lord Fairfax was so much pleased by the report that he moved across
the Blue Ridge, built a hunting lodge preparatory to something more
splendid which never came to pass, and laid out a noble manor, to
which he gave the name of Greenway Court. He also procured for
Washington an appointment as a public surveyor, which conferred
authority on his surveys and provided him with regular work. Thus
started, Washington toiled at his profession for three years, living
and working as he did on his first expedition. It was a rough life,
but a manly and robust one, and the men who live it, although often
rude and coarse, are never weak or effeminate. To Washington it was
an admirable school. It strengthened his muscles and hardened him to
exposure and fatigue. It accustomed him to risks and perils of various
kinds, and made him fertile in expedients and confident of himself,
while the nature of his work rendered him careful and industrious.
That his work was well done is shown by the fact that his surveys were
considered of the first authority, and stand unquestioned to this day,
like certain other work which he was subsequently called to do. It was
part of his character, when he did anything, to do it in a lasting
fashion, and it is worth while to remember that the surveys he made as
a boy were the best that could be made.

He wrote to a friend at this time: "Since you received my letter of
October last, I have not slept above three or four nights in a bed,
but, after walking a good deal all the day, I have lain down before
the fire upon a little hay, straw, fodder, or a bearskin, whichever
was to be had, with man, wife, and children, like dogs and cats; and
happy is he who gets the berth nearest the fire. Nothing would make it
pass off tolerably but a good reward. A doubloon is my constant gain
every day that the weather will permit of my going out, and sometimes
six pistoles." He was evidently a thrifty lad, and honestly pleased
with honest earnings. He was no mere adventurous wanderer, but a man
working for results in money, reputation, or some solid value,
and while he worked and earned he kept an observant eye upon the
wilderness, and bought up when he could the best land for himself and
his family, laying the foundations of the great landed estate of which
he died possessed.

There was also a lighter and pleasanter side to this hard-working
existence, which was quite as useful, and more attractive, than
toiling in the woods and mountains. The young surveyor passed much of
his time at Greenway Court, hunting the fox and rejoicing in all field
sports which held high place in that kingdom, while at the same time
he profited much in graver fashion by his friendship with such a man
as Lord Fairfax. There, too, he had a chance at a library, and his
diaries show that he read carefully the history of England and the
essays of the "Spectator." Neither in early days nor at any other time
was he a student, for he had few opportunities, and his life from the
beginning was out of doors and among men. But the idea sometimes put
forward that Washington cared nothing for reading or for books is an
idle one. He read at Greenway Court and everywhere else when he had an
opportunity. He read well, too, and to some purpose, studying men and
events in books as he did in the world, for though he never talked of
his reading, preserving silence on that as on other things concerning
himself, no one ever was able to record an instance in which he showed
himself ignorant of history or of literature. He was never a learned
man, but so far as his own language could carry him he was an educated
one. Thus while he developed the sterner qualities by hard work and a
rough life, he did not bring back the coarse habits of the backwoods
and the camp-fire, but was able to refine his manners and improve his
mind in the excellent society and under the hospitable roof of Lord

Three years slipped by, and then a domestic change came which much
affected Washington's whole life. The Carthagena campaign had
undermined the strength of Lawrence Washington and sown the seeds of
consumption, which showed itself in 1749, and became steadily more
alarming. A voyage to England and a summer at the warm springs were
tried without success, and finally, as a last resort, the invalid
sailed for the West Indies, in September, 1751. Thither his brother
George accompanied him, and we have the fragments of a diary kept
during this first and last wandering outside his native country. He
copied the log, noted the weather, and evidently strove to get some
idea of nautical matters while he was at sea and leading a life
strangely unfamiliar to a woodsman and pioneer. When they arrived at
their destination they were immediately asked to breakfast and dine
with Major Clarke, the military magnate of the place, and our young
Virginian remarked, with characteristic prudence and a certain touch
of grim humor, "We went,--myself with some reluctance, as the smallpox
was in the family." He fell a victim to his good manners, for two
weeks later he was "strongly attacked with the smallpox," and was
then housed for a month, getting safely and successfully through
this dangerous and then almost universal ordeal. Before the disease
declared itself, however, he went about everywhere, innocently
scattering infection, and greatly enjoying the pleasures of the
island. It is to be regretted that any part of this diary should have
been lost, for it is pleasant reading, and exhibits the writer in an
agreeable and characteristic fashion. He commented on the country and
the scenery, inveighed against the extravagance of the charges for
board and lodging, told of his dinner-parties and his friends, and
noted the marvelous abundance and variety of the tropical fruits,
which contrasted strangely with the British dishes of beefsteak and
tripe. He also mentioned being treated to a ticket to see the play of
"George Barnwell," on which he offered this cautious criticism:
"The character of Barnwell and several others were said to be well
performed. There was music adapted and regularly conducted."

Soon after his recovery Washington returned to Virginia, arriving
there in February, 1752. The diary concluded with a brief but
perfectly effective description of Barbadoes, touching on its
resources and scenery, its government and condition, and the manners
and customs of its inhabitants. All through these notes we find the
keenly observant spirit, and the evidence of a mind constantly alert
to learn. We see also a pleasant, happy temperament, enjoying with
hearty zest all the pleasures that youth and life could furnish. He
who wrote these lines was evidently a vigorous, good-humored young
fellow, with a quick eye for the world opening before him, and for the
delights as well as the instruction which it offered.

From the sunshine and ease of this tropical winter Washington passed
to a long season of trial and responsibility at home and abroad. In
July, 1752, his much-loved brother Lawrence died, leaving George
guardian of his daughter, and heir to his estates in the event of
that daughter's death. Thus the current of his home life changed, and
responsibility came into it, while outside the mighty stream of public
events changed too, and swept him along in the swelling torrent of a
world-wide war.

In all the vast wilderness beyond the mountains there was not room for
both French and English. The rival nations had been for years slowly
approaching each other, until in 1749 each people proceeded at last to
take possession of the Ohio country after its own fashion. The French
sent a military expedition which sank and nailed up leaden plates; the
English formed a great land company to speculate and make money, and
both set diligently to work to form Indian alliances. A man of far
less perception than Lawrence Washington, who had become the chief
manager of the Ohio Company, would have seen that the conditions on
the frontier rendered war inevitable, and he accordingly made ready
for the future by preparing his brother for the career of a soldier,
so far as it could be done. He brought to Mount Vernon two old
companions-in-arms of the Carthagena time, Adjutant Muse, a Virginian,
and Jacob Van Braam, a Dutch soldier of fortune. The former instructed
Washington in the art of war, tactics, and the manual of arms, the
latter in fencing and the sword exercise. At the same time Lawrence
Washington procured for his brother, then only nineteen years of age,
an appointment as one of the adjutants-general of Virginia, with the
rank of major. To all this the young surveyor took kindly enough so
far as we can tell, but his military avocations were interrupted by
his voyage to Barbadoes, by the illness and death of his brother, and
by the cares and responsibilities thereby thrust upon him.

Meantime the French aggressions had continued, and French soldiers and
traders were working their way up from the South and down from the
North, bullying and cajoling the Indians by turns, taking possession
of the Ohio country, and selecting places as they went for that
chain of forts which was to hem in and slowly strangle the English
settlements. Governor Dinwiddie had sent a commissioner to remonstrate
against these encroachments, but his envoy had stopped a hundred
and fifty miles short of the French posts, alarmed by the troublous
condition of things, and by the defeat and slaughter which the
Frenchmen had already inflicted upon the Indians. Some more vigorous
person was evidently needed to go through the form of warning France
not to trespass on the English wilderness, and thereupon Governor
Dinwiddie selected for the task George Washington, recently
reappointed adjutant-general of the northern division, and major in
the Virginian forces. He was a young man for such an undertaking, not
yet twenty-two, but clearly of good reputation. It is plain enough
that Lord Fairfax and others had said to the governor, "Here is the
very man for you; young, daring, and adventurous, but yet sober-minded
and responsible, who only lacks opportunity to show the stuff that is
in him."

Thus, then, in October, 1753, Washington set forth with Van Braam, and
various servants and horses, accompanied by the boldest of Virginian
frontiersmen, Christopher Gist. He wrote a report in the form of a
journal, which was sent to England and much read at the time as part
of the news of the day, and which has an equal although different
interest now. It is a succinct, clear, and sober narrative. The little
party was formed at Will's Creek, and thence through woods and over
swollen rivers made its way to Logstown. Here they spent some days
among the Indians, whose leaders Washington got within his grasp after
much speech-making; and here, too, he met some French deserters from
the South, and drew from them all the knowledge they possessed of New
Orleans and the military expeditions from that region. From Logstown
he pushed on, accompanied by his Indian chiefs, to Venango, on the
Ohio, the first French outpost. The French officers asked him to sup
with them. The wine flowed freely, the tongues of the hosts were
loosened, and the young Virginian, temperate and hard-headed, listened
to all the conversation, and noted down mentally much that was
interesting and valuable. The next morning the Indian chiefs,
prudently kept in the background, appeared, and a struggle ensued
between the talkative, clever Frenchmen and the quiet, persistent
Virginian, over the possession of these important savages. Finally
Washington got off, carrying his chiefs with him, and made his way
seventy miles further to the fort on French Creek. Here he delivered
the governor's letter, and while M. de St. Pierre wrote a vague and
polite answer, he sketched the fort and informed himself in regard to
the military condition of the post. Then came another struggle over
the Indians, and finally Washington got off with them once more, and
worked his way back to Venango. Another struggle for the savages
followed, rum being always the principal factor in the negotiation,
and at last the chiefs determined to stay behind. Nevertheless, the
work had been well done, and the important Half-King remained true to
the English cause.

Leaving his horses, Washington and Gist then took to the woods on
foot. The French Indians lay in wait for them and tried to murder
them, and Gist, like a true frontiersman, was for shooting the
scoundrel whom they captured. But Washington stayed his hand, and
they gave the savage the slip and pressed on. It was the middle of
December, very cold and stormy. In crossing a river, Washington fell
from the raft into deep water, amid the floating ice, but fought his
way out, and he and his companion passed the night on an island, with
their clothes frozen upon them. So through peril and privation, and
various dangers, stopping in the midst of it all to win another savage
potentate, they reached the edge of the settlements and thence went
on to Williamsburg, where great praise and glory were awarded to the
youthful envoy, the hero of the hour in the little Virginia capital.

It is worth while to pause over this expedition a moment and to
consider attentively this journal which recounts it, for there are
very few incidents or documents which tell us more of Washington. He
was not yet twenty-two when he faced this first grave responsibility,
and he did his work absolutely well. Cool courage, of course, he
showed, but also patience and wisdom in handling the Indians, a clear
sense that the crafty and well-trained Frenchmen could not blind, and
a strong faculty for dealing with men, always a rare and precious
gift. As in the little Barbadoes diary, so also in this journal,
we see, and far more strongly, the penetration and perception that
nothing could escape, and which set down all things essential and let
the "huddling silver, little worth," go by. The clearness, terseness,
and entire sufficiency of the narrative are obvious and lie on the
surface; but we find also another quality of the man which is one of
the most marked features in his character, and one which we must dwell
upon again and again, as we follow the story of his life. Here it
is that we learn directly for the first time that Washington was a
profoundly silent man. The gospel of silence has been preached in
these latter days by Carlyle, with the fervor of a seer and prophet,
and the world owes him a debt for the historical discredit which he
has brought upon the man of mere words as compared with the man of
deeds. Carlyle brushed Washington aside as "a bloodless Cromwell," a
phrase to which we must revert later on other grounds, and, as
has already been said, failed utterly to see that he was the most
supremely silent of the great men of action that the world can show.
Like Cromwell and Frederic, Washington wrote countless letters, made
many speeches, and was agreeable in conversation. But this was all in
the way of business, and a man may be profoundly silent and yet talk a
great deal. Silence in the fine and true sense is neither mere holding
of the tongue nor an incapacity of expression. The greatly silent man
is he who is not given to words for their own sake, and who never
talks about himself. Both Cromwell, greatest of Englishmen, and the
great Frederic, Carlyle's especial heroes, were fond of talking of
themselves. So in still larger measure was Napoleon, and many others
of less importance. But Washington differs from them all. He had
abundant power of words, and could use them with much force and point
when he was so minded, but he never used them needlessly or to hide
his meaning, and he never talked about himself. Hence the inestimable
difficulty of knowing him. A brief sentence here and there, a rare
gleam of light across the page of a letter, is all that we can find.
The rest is silence. He did as great work as has fallen to the lot of
man, he wrote volumes of correspondence, he talked with innumerable
men and women, and of himself he said nothing. Here in this youthful
journal we have a narrative of wild adventure, wily diplomacy, and
personal peril, impossible of condensation, and yet not a word of the
writer's thoughts or feelings. All that was done or said important to
the business in hand was set down, and nothing was overlooked, but
that is all. The work was done, and we know how it was done, but the
man is silent as to all else. Here, indeed, is the man of action and
of real silence, a character to be much admired and wondered at in
these or any other days.

Washington's report looked like war, and its author was shortly
afterwards appointed lieutenant-colonel of a Virginian regiment,
Colonel Fry commanding. Now began that long experience of human
stupidity and inefficiency with which Washington was destined to
struggle through all the years of his military career, suffering from
them, and triumphing in spite of them to a degree unequaled by any
other great commander. Dinwiddie, the Scotch governor, was eager
enough to fight, and full of energy and good intentions, but he was
hasty and not overwise, and was filled with an excessive idea of his
prerogatives. The assembly, on its side, was sufficiently patriotic,
but its members came from a community which for more than half a
century had had no fighting, and they knew nothing of war or its
necessities. Unaccustomed to the large affairs into which they were
suddenly plunged, they displayed a narrow and provincial spirit.
Keenly alive to their own rights and privileges, they were more
occupied in quarreling with Dinwiddie than in prosecuting the war. In
the weak proprietary governments of Maryland and Pennsylvania there
was the same condition of affairs, with every evil exaggerated
tenfold. The fighting spirit was dominant in Virginia, but in
Quaker-ridden Pennsylvania it seems to have been almost extinct. These
three were not very promising communities to look to for support in a
difficult and costly war.

With all this inertia and stupidity Washington was called to cope, and
he rebelled against it in vigorous fashion. Leaving Colonel Fry to
follow with the main body of troops, Washington set out on April 2,
1754, with two companies from Alexandria, where he had been recruiting
amidst most irritating difficulties. He reached Will's Creek three
weeks later; and then his real troubles began. Captain Trent, the
timid and halting envoy, who had failed to reach the French, had been
sent out by the wise authorities to build a fort at the junction of
the Alleghany and Monongahela, on the admirable site selected by the
keen eye of Washington. There Trent left his men and returned to
Will's Creek, where Washington found him, but without the pack-horses
that he had promised to provide. Presently news came that the French
in overwhelming numbers had swept down upon Trent's little party,
captured their fort, and sent them packing back to Virginia.
Washington took this to be war, and determined at once to march
against the enemy. Having impressed from the inhabitants, who were not
bubbling over with patriotism, some horses and wagons, he set out on
his toilsome march across the mountains.

It was a wild and desolate region, and progress was extremely slow.
By May 9 he was at the Little Meadows, twenty miles from his
starting-place; by the 18th at the Youghiogany River, which he
explored and found unnavigable. He was therefore forced to take up his
weary march again for the Monongahela, and by the 27th he was at the
Great Meadows, a few miles further on. The extreme danger of his
position does not seem to have occurred to him, but he was harassed
and angered by the conduct of the assembly. He wrote to Governor
Dinwiddie that he had no idea of giving up his commission. "But," he
continued, "let me serve voluntarily; then I will, with the greatest
pleasure in life, devote my services to the expedition, without any
other reward than the satisfaction of serving my country; but to be
slaving dangerously for the shadow of pay, through woods, rocks,
mountains,--I would rather prefer the great toil of a daily laborer,
and dig for a maintenance, provided I were reduced to the necessity,
than serve upon such ignoble terms; for I really do not see why the
lives of his Majesty's subjects in Virginia should be of less value
than those in other parts of his American dominions, especially when
it is well known that we must undergo double their hardship." Here we
have a high-spirited, high-tempered young gentleman, with a contempt
for shams that it is pleasant to see, and evidently endowed also with
a fine taste for fighting and not too much patience.

Indignant letters written in vigorous language were, however, of
little avail, and Washington prepared to shift for himself as best he
might. His Indian allies brought him news that the French were on the
march and had thrown out scouting parties. Picking out a place in the
Great Meadows for a fort, "a charming field for an encounter," he in
his turn sent out a scouting party, and then on fresh intelligence
from the Indians set forth himself with forty men to find the enemy.
After a toilsome march they discovered their foes in camp. The French,
surprised and surrounded, sprang to arms, the Virginians fired, there
was a sharp exchange of shots, and all was over. Ten of the French
were killed and twenty-one were taken prisoners, only one of the party
escaping to carry back the news.

This little skirmish made a prodigious noise in its day, and was much
heralded in France. The French declared that Jumonville, the leader,
who fell at the first fire, was foully assassinated, and that he and
his party were ambassadors and sacred characters. Paris rang with this
fresh instance of British perfidy, and a M. Thomas celebrated the
luckless Jumonville in a solemn epic poem in four books. French
historians, relying on the account of the Canadian who escaped,
adopted the same tone, and at a later day mourned over this black
spot on Washington's character. The French view was simple nonsense.
Jumonville and his party, as the papers found on Jumonville showed,
were out on a spying and scouting expedition. They were seeking to
surprise the English when the English surprised them, with the usual
backwoods result. The affair has a dramatic interest because it was
the first blood shed in a great struggle, and was the beginning of a
series of world-wide wars and social and political convulsions, which
terminated more than half a century later on the plains of Waterloo.
It gave immortality to an obscure French officer by linking his name
with that of his opponent, and brought Washington for the moment
before the eyes of the world, which little dreamed that this Virginian
colonel was destined to be one of the principal figures in the great
revolutionary drama to which the war then beginning was but the

Washington, for his part, well satisfied with his exploit, retraced
his steps, and having sent his prisoners back to Virginia, proceeded
to consider his situation. It was not a very cheerful prospect.
Contrecoeur, with the main body of the French and Indians, was moving
down from the Monongahela a thousand strong. This of course was to
have been anticipated, and it does not seem to have in the least
damped Washington's spirits. His blood was up, his fighting temper
thoroughly roused, and he prepared to push on. Colonel Fry had died
meanwhile, leaving Washington in command; but his troops came forward,
and also not long after a useless "independent" company from South
Carolina. Thus reinforced Washington advanced painfully some thirteen
miles, and then receiving sure intelligence of the approach of the
French in great force fell back with difficulty to the Great Meadows,
where he was obliged by the exhausted condition of his men to stop. He
at once resumed work on Fort Necessity, and made ready for a desperate
defense, for the French were on his heels, and on July 3 appeared at
the Meadows. Washington offered battle outside the fort, and this
being declined withdrew to his trenches, and skirmishing went on all
day. When night fell it was apparent that the end had come. The men
were starved and worn out. Their muskets in many cases were rendered
useless by the rain, and their ammunition was spent. The Indians had
deserted, and the foe outnumbered them four to one. When the French
therefore offered a parley, Washington was forced reluctantly to
accept. The French had no stomach for the fight, apparently, and
allowed the English to go with their arms, exacting nothing but a
pledge that for a year they would not come to the Ohio.

So ended Washington's first campaign. His friend the Half-King, the
celebrated Seneca chief, Thanacarishon, who prudently departed on the
arrival of the French, has left us a candid opinion of Washington and
his opponents. "The colonel," he said, "was a good-natured man, but
had no experience; he took upon him to command the Indians as his
slaves, and would have them every day upon the scout and to attack
the enemy by themselves, but would by no means take advice from the
Indians. He lay in one place from one full moon to the other, without
making any fortifications, except that little thing on the meadow;
whereas, had he taken advice, and built such fortifications as I
advised him, he might easily have beat off the French. But the French
in the engagement acted like cowards, and the English like fools."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Enquiry into the Causes and Alienations of the Delaware
and Shawanee Indians_, etc. London, 1759. By Charles Thomson,
afterwards Secretary of Congress.]

There is a deal of truth in this opinion. The whole expedition was
rash in the extreme. When Washington left Will's Creek he was aware
that he was going to meet a force of a thousand men with only a
hundred and fifty raw recruits at his back. In the same spirit he
pushed on; and after the Jumonville affair, although he knew that the
wilderness about him was swarming with enemies, he still struggled
forward. When forced to retreat he made a stand at the Meadows and
offered battle in the open to his more numerous and more prudent
foes, for he was one of those men who by nature regard courage as a
substitute for everything, and who have a contempt for hostile odds.
He was ready to meet any number of French and Indians with cheerful
confidence and with real pleasure. He wrote, in a letter which
soon became famous, that he loved to hear bullets whistle, a sage
observation which he set down in later years as a folly of youth. Yet
this boyish outburst, foolish as it was, has a meaning to us, for it
was essentially true. Washington had the fierce fighting temper of the
Northmen. He loved battle and danger, and he never ceased to love them
and to give way to their excitement, although he did not again set
down such sentiments in boastful phrase that made the world laugh.
Men of such temper, moreover, are naturally imperious and have a fine
disregard of consequences, with the result that their allies, Indian
or otherwise, often become impatient and finally useless. The campaign
was perfectly wild from the outset, and if it had not been for
the utter indifference to danger displayed by Washington, and the
consequent timidity of the French, that particular body of Virginians
would have been permanently lost to the British Empire.

But we learn from all this many things. It appears that Washington was
not merely a brave man, but one who loved fighting for its own sake.
The whole expedition shows an arbitrary temper and the most reckless
courage, valuable qualities, but here unrestrained, and mixed
with very little prudence. Some important lessons were learned by
Washington from the rough teachings of inexorable and unconquerable
facts. He received in this campaign the first taste of that severe
experience which by its training developed the self-control and
mastery of temper for which he became so remarkable. He did not spring
into life a perfect and impossible man, as is so often represented. On
the contrary, he was educated by circumstances; but the metal came out
of the furnace of experience finely tempered, because it was by nature
of the best and with but little dross to be purged away. In addition
to all this he acquired for the moment what would now be called a
European reputation. He was known in Paris as an assassin, and in
England, thanks to the bullet letter, as a "fanfaron" and brave
braggart. With these results he wended his way home much depressed in
spirits, but not in the least discouraged, and fonder of fighting than

Virginia, however, took a kinder view of the campaign than did her
defeated soldier. She appreciated the gallantry of the offer to fight
in the open and the general conduct of the troops, and her House of
Burgesses passed a vote of thanks to Washington and his officers, and
gave money to his men. In August he rejoined his regiment, only to
renew the vain struggle against incompetence and extravagance, and as
if this were not enough, his sense of honor was wounded and his temper
much irritated by the governor's playing false to the prisoners taken
in the Jumonville fight. While thus engaged, news came that the French
were off their guard at Fort Duquesne, and Dinwiddie was for having
the regiment of undisciplined troops march again into the wilderness.
Washington, however, had learned something, if not a great deal, and
he demonstrated the folly of such an attempt in a manner too clear to
be confuted.

Meantime the Burgesses came together, and more money being voted,
Dinwiddie hit on a notable plan for quieting dissensions between
regulars and provincials by dividing all the troops into independent
companies, with no officer higher than a captain. Washington, the
only officer who had seen fighting and led a regiment, resented quite
properly this senseless policy, and resigning his commission withdrew
to Mount Vernon to manage the estate and attend to his own affairs. He
was driven to this course still more strongly by the original cause of
Dinwiddie's arrangement. The English government had issued an order
that officers holding the king's commission should rank provincial
officers, and that provincial generals and field officers should have
no rank when a general or field officer holding a royal commission was
present. The degradation of being ranked by every whipper-snapper who
might hold a royal commission by virtue, perhaps, of being the bastard
son of some nobleman's cast-off mistress was more than the temper
of George Washington at least could bear, and when Governor Sharpe,
general by the king's commission, and eager to secure the services
of the best fighter in Virginia, offered him a company and urged his
acceptance, he replied in language that must have somewhat astonished
his excellency. "You make mention in your letter," he wrote to Colonel
Fitzhugh, Governor Sharpe's second in command, "of my continuing in
the service, and retaining my colonel's commission. This idea has
filled me with surprise; for, if you think me capable of holding a
commission that has neither rank nor emolument annexed to it, you must
entertain a very contemptible opinion of my weakness, and believe
me to be more empty than the commission itself.... In short, every
captain bearing the king's commission, every half-pay officer, or
others, appearing with such a commission, would rank before me.... Yet
my inclinations are strongly bent to arms."

It was a bitter disappointment to withdraw from military life, but
Washington had an intense sense of personal dignity; not the small
vanity of a petty mind, but the quality of a proud man conscious of
his own strength and purpose. It was of immense value to the American
people at a later day, and there is something very instructive in this
early revolt against the stupid arrogance which England has always
thought it wise to display toward this country. She has paid dearly
for indulging it, but it has seldom cost her more than when it drove
Washington from her service, and left in his mind a sense of indignity
and injustice.

Meantime this Virginian campaigning had started a great movement.
England was aroused, and it was determined to assail France in Nova
Scotia, from New York and on the Ohio. In accordance with this plan
General Braddock arrived in Virginia February 20, 1755, with two
picked regiments, and encamped at Alexandria. Thither Washington used
to ride and look longingly at the pomp and glitter, and wish that he
wore engaged in the service. Presently this desire became known, and
Braddock, hearing of the young Virginian's past experience, offered
him a place on his staff with the rank of colonel where he would
be subject only to the orders of the general, and could serve as a
volunteer. He therefore accepted at once, and threw himself into
his new duties with hearty good-will. Every step now was full of
instruction. At Annapolis he met the governors of the other
colonies, and was interested and attracted by this association with
distinguished public men. In the army to which he was attached he
studied with the deepest attention the best discipline of Europe,
observing everything and forgetting nothing, thus preparing himself
unconsciously to use against his teachers the knowledge he acquired.

He also made warm friends with the English officers, and was treated
with consideration by his commander. The universal practice of all
Englishmen at that time was to behave contemptuously to the colonists,
but there was something about Washington which made this impossible.
They all treated him with the utmost courtesy, vaguely conscious that
beneath the pleasant, quiet manner there was a strength of character
and ability such as is rarely found, and that this was a man whom it
was unsafe to affront. There is no stronger instance of Washington's
power of impressing himself upon others than that he commanded now
the respect and affection of his general, who was the last man to be
easily or favorably affected by a young provincial officer.

Edward Braddock was a veteran soldier, a skilled disciplinarian, and a
rigid martinet. He was narrow-minded, brutal, and brave. He had led a
fast life in society, indulging in coarse and violent dissipations,
and was proud with the intense pride of a limited intelligence and a
nature incapable of physical fear. It would be difficult to conceive
of a man more unfit to be entrusted with the task of marching through
the wilderness and sweeping the French from the Ohio. All the
conditions which confronted him were unfamiliar and beyond his
experience. He cordially despised the provincials who were essential
to his success, and lost no opportunity of showing his contempt for
them. The colonists on their side, especially in Pennsylvania, gave
him, unfortunately, only too much ground for irritation and disgust.
They were delighted to see this brilliant force come from England to
fight their battles, but they kept on wrangling and holding back,
refusing money and supplies, and doing nothing. Braddock chafed and
delayed, swore angrily, and lingered still. Washington strove to help
him, but defended his country fearlessly against wholesale and furious

Finally the army began to move, but so slowly and after so much delay
that they did not reach Will's Creek until the middle of May. Here
came another exasperating pause, relieved only by Franklin, who,
by giving his own time, ability, and money, supplied the necessary
wagons. Then they pushed on again, but with the utmost slowness. With
supreme difficulty they made an elaborate road over the mountains as
they marched, and did not reach the Little Meadows until June 16. Then
at last Braddock turned to his young aide for the counsel which had
already been proffered and rejected many times. Washington advised the
division of the army, so that the main body could hurry forward in
light marching order while a detachment remained behind and brought
up the heavy baggage. This plan was adopted, and the army started
forward, still too heavily burdened, as Washington thought, but in
somewhat better trim for the wilderness than before. Their progress,
quickened as it was, still seemed slow to Washington, but he was taken
ill with a fever, and finally was compelled by Braddock to stop for
rest at the ford of Youghiogany. He made Braddock promise that he
should be brought up before the army reached Fort Duquesne, and wrote
to his friend Orme that he would not miss the impending battle for
five hundred pounds.

As soon as his fever abated a little he left Colonel Dunbar, and,
being unable to sit on a horse, was conveyed to the front in a wagon,
coming up with the army on July 8. He was just in time, for the next
day the troops forded the Monongahela and marched to attack the fort.
The splendid appearance of the soldiers as they crossed the river
roused Washington's enthusiasm; but he was not without misgivings.
Franklin had already warned Braddock against the danger of surprise,
and had been told with a sneer that while these savages might be
a formidable enemy to raw American militia, they could make no
impression on disciplined troops. Now at the last moment Washington
warned the general again and was angrily rebuked.

The troops marched on in ordered ranks, glittering and beautiful.
Suddenly firing was heard in the front, and presently the van was
flung back on the main body. Yells and war-whoops resounded on every
side, and an unseen enemy poured in a deadly fire. Washington begged
Braddock to throw his men into the woods, but all in vain. Fight in
platoons they must, or not at all. The result was that they did not
fight at all. They became panic-stricken, and huddled together,
overcome with fear, until at last when Braddock was mortally wounded
they broke in wild rout and fled. Of the regular troops, seven
hundred, and of the officers, who showed the utmost bravery, sixty-two
out of eighty-six, were killed or wounded. Two hundred Frenchmen and
six hundred Indians achieved this signal victory. The only thing
that could be called fighting on the English side was done by
the Virginians, "the raw American militia," who, spread out as
skirmishers, met their foes on their own ground, and were cut off
after a desperate resistance almost to a man.

Washington at the outset flung himself headlong into the fight. He
rode up and down the field, carrying orders and striving to rally "the
dastards," as he afterwards called the regular troops. He endeavored
to bring up the artillery, but the men would not serve the guns,
although to set an example he aimed and discharged one himself. All
through that dreadful carnage he rode fiercely about, raging with the
excitement of battle, and utterly exposed from beginning to end. Even
now it makes the heart beat quicker to think of him amid the smoke and
slaughter as he dashed hither and thither, his face glowing and his
eyes shining with the fierce light of battle, leading on his own
Virginians, and trying to stay the tide of disaster. He had two horses
shot under him and four bullets through his coat. The Indians thought
he bore a charmed life, while his death was reported in the colonies,
together with his dying speech, which, he dryly wrote to his brother,
he had not yet composed.

When the troops broke it was Washington who gathered the fugitives and
brought off the dying general. It was he who rode on to meet Dunbar,
and rallying the fugitives enabled the wretched remnants to take up
their march for the settlements. He it was who laid Braddock in the
grave four days after the defeat, and read over the dead the solemn
words of the English service. Wise, sensible, and active in the
advance, splendidly reckless on the day of battle, cool and collected
on the retreat, Washington alone emerged from that history of disaster
with added glory. Again he comes before us as, above all things,
the fighting man, hot-blooded and fierce in action, and utterly
indifferent to the danger which excited and delighted him. But the
earlier lesson had not been useless. He now showed a prudence and
wisdom in counsel which were not apparent in the first of his
campaigns, and he no longer thought that mere courage was
all-sufficient, or that any enemy could be despised. He was plainly
one of those who could learn. His first experience had borne good
fruit, and now he had been taught a series of fresh and valuable
lessons. Before his eyes had been displayed the most brilliant
European discipline, both in camp and on the march. He had studied
and absorbed it all, talking with veterans and hearing from them many
things that he could have acquired nowhere else. Once more had he
been taught, in a way not to be forgotten, that it is never well to
underrate one's opponent. He had looked deeper, too, and had seen what
the whole continent soon understood, that English troops were not
invincible, that they could be beaten by Indians, and that they were
after all much like other men. This was the knowledge, fatal in
after days to British supremacy, which Braddock's defeat brought to
Washington and to the colonists, and which was never forgotten. Could
he have looked into the future, he would have seen also in this
ill-fated expedition an epitome of much future history. The expedition
began with stupid contempt toward America and all things American, and
ended in ruin and defeat. It was a bitter experience, much heeded by
the colonists, but disregarded by England, whose indifference was paid
for at a heavy cost.

After the hasty retreat, Colonel Dunbar, stricken with panic, fled
onward to Philadelphia, abandoning everything, and Virginia was left
naturally in a state of great alarm. The assembly came together, and
at last, thoroughly frightened, voted abundant money, and ordered a
regiment of a thousand men to be raised. Washington, who had returned
to Mount Vernon ill and worn-out, was urged to solicit the command,
but it was not his way to solicit, and he declined to do so now.
August 14, he wrote to his mother: "If it is in my power to avoid
going to the Ohio again, I shall; but if the command is pressed upon
me by the general voice of the country, and offered upon such terms as
cannot be objected against, it would reflect dishonor on me to refuse
it." The same day he was offered the command of all the Virginian
forces on his own terms, and accepted. Virginia believed in
Washington, and he was ready to obey her call.

He at once assumed command and betook himself to Winchester, a general
without an army, but still able to check by his presence the existing
panic, and ready to enter upon the trying, dreary, and fruitless work
that lay before him. In April, 1757, he wrote: "I have been posted
then, for more than twenty months past, upon our cold and barren
frontiers, to perform, I think I may say, impossibilities; that is, to
protect from the cruel incursions of a crafty, savage enemy a line of
inhabitants, of more than three hundred and fifty miles in extent,
with a force inadequate to the task." This terse statement covers
all that can be said of the next three years. It was a long struggle
against a savage foe in front, and narrowness, jealousy, and stupidity
behind; apparently without any chance of effecting anything, or
gaining any glory or reward. Troops were voted, but were raised with
difficulty, and when raised were neglected and ill-treated by the
wrangling governor and assembly, which caused much ill-suppressed
wrath in the breast of the commander-in-chief, who labored day and
night to bring about better discipline in camp, and who wrote long
letters to Williamsburg recounting existing evils and praying for a
new militia law.

The troops, in fact, were got out with vast difficulty even under the
most stinging necessity, and were almost worthless when they came.
Of one "noble captain" who refused to come, Washington wrote: "With
coolness and moderation this great captain answered that his wife,
family, and corn were all at stake; so were those of his soldiers;
therefore it was impossible for him to come. Such is the example
of the officers; such the behavior of the men; and upon such
circumstances depends the safety of our country!" But while the
soldiers were neglected, and the assembly faltered, and the militia
disobeyed, the French and Indians kept at work on the long, exposed
frontier. There panic reigned, farmhouses and villages went up in
smoke, and the fields were reddened with slaughter at each fresh
incursion. Gentlemen in Williamsburg bore these misfortunes with
reasonable fortitude, but Washington raged against the abuses and the
inaction, and vowed that nothing but the imminent danger prevented his
resignation. "The supplicating tears of the women," he wrote, "and
moving petitions of the men melt me into such deadly sorrow that
I solemnly declare, if I know my own mind, I could offer myself
a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy, provided that would
contribute to the people's ease." This is one of the rare flashes
of personal feeling which disclose the real man, warm of heart and
temper, full of human sympathy, and giving vent to hot indignation in
words which still ring clear and strong across the century that has
come and gone.

Serious troubles, moreover, were complicated by petty annoyances. A
Maryland captain, at the head of thirty men, undertook to claim rank
over the Virginian commander-in-chief because he had held a king's
commission; and Washington was obliged to travel to Boston in order to
have the miserable thing set right by Governor Shirley. This affair
settled, he returned to take up again the old disheartening struggle,
and his outspoken condemnation of Dinwiddie's foolish schemes and of
the shortcomings of the government began to raise up backbiters
and malcontents at Williamsburg. "My orders," he said, "are dark,
doubtful, and uncertain; to-day approved, to-morrow condemned. Left
to act and proceed at hazard, accountable for the consequences, and
blamed without the benefit of defense." He determined nevertheless
to bear with his trials until the arrival of Lord Loudon, the new
commander-in-chief, from whom he expected vigor and improvement.
Unfortunately he was destined to have only fresh disappointment from
the new general, for Lord Loudon was merely one more incompetent man
added to the existing confusion. He paid no heed to the South, matters
continued to go badly in the North, and Virginia was left helpless. So
Washington toiled on with much discouragement, and the disagreeable
attacks upon him increased. That it should have been so is not
surprising, for he wrote to the governor, who now held him in much
disfavor, to the speaker, and indeed to every one, with a most galling
plainness. He was only twenty-five, be it remembered, and his high
temper was by no means under perfect control. He was anything but
diplomatic at that period of his life, and was far from patient, using
language with much sincerity and force, and indulging in a blunt irony
of rather a ferocious kind. When he was accused finally of getting up
reports of imaginary dangers, his temper gave way entirely. He wrote
wrathfully to the governor for justice, and added in a letter to
his friend, Captain Peachey: "As to Colonel C.'s gross and infamous
reflections on my conduct last spring, it will be needless, I dare
say, to observe further at this time than that the liberty which he
has been pleased to allow himself in sporting with my character is
little else than a comic entertainment, discovering at one view his
passionate fondness for your friend, his inviolable love of truth,
his unfathomable knowledge, and the masterly strokes of his wisdom in
displaying it. You are heartily welcome to make use of any letter or
letters which I may at any time have written to you; for although
I keep no copies of epistles to my friends, nor can remember the
contents of all of them, yet I am sensible that the narrations are
just, and that truth and honesty will appear in my writings; of which,
therefore, I shall not be ashamed, though criticism may censure my

Perhaps a little more patience would have produced better results,
but it is pleasant to find one man, in that period of stupidity and
incompetency, who was ready to free his mind in this refreshing way.
The only wonder is that he was not driven from his command. That they
insisted on keeping him there shows beyond everything that he
had already impressed himself so strongly on Virginia that the
authorities, although they smarted under his attacks, did not dare to
meddle with him. Dinwiddie and the rest could foil him in obtaining a
commission in the king's army, but they could not shake his hold upon
the people.

In the winter of 1758 his health broke down completely. He was so
ill that he thought that his constitution was seriously injured;
and therefore withdrew to Mount Vernon, where he slowly recovered.
Meantime a great man came at last to the head of affairs in England,
and inspired by William Pitt, fleets and armies went forth to conquer.
Reviving at the prospect, Washington offered his services to General
Forbes, who had come to undertake the task which Braddock had failed
to accomplish. Once more English troops appeared, and a large army
was gathered. Then the old story began again, and Washington, whose
proffered aid had been gladly received, chafed and worried all summer
at the fresh spectacle of delay and stupidity which was presented
to him. His advice was disregarded, and all the weary business of
building new roads through the wilderness was once more undertaken. A
detachment, sent forward contrary to his views, met with the fate of
Braddock, and as the summer passed, and autumn changed to winter, it
looked as if nothing would be gained in return for so much toil and
preparation. But Pitt had conquered the Ohio in Canada, news arrived
of the withdrawal of the French, the army pressed on, and, with
Washington in the van, marched into the smoking ruins of Fort
Duquesne, henceforth to be known to the world as Fort Pitt.

So closed the first period in Washington's public career. We have seen
him pass through it in all its phases. It shows him as an adventurous
pioneer, as a reckless frontier fighter, and as a soldier of great
promise. He learned many things in this time, and was taught much in
the hard school of adversity. In the effort to conquer Frenchmen and
Indians he studied the art of war, and at the same time he learned
to bear with and to overcome the dullness and inefficiency of the
government he served. Thus he was forced to practise self-control in
order to attain his ends, and to acquire skill in the management of
men. There could have been no better training for the work he was to
do in the after years, and the future showed how deeply he profited by
it. Let us turn now, for a moment, to the softer and pleasanter side
of life, and having seen what Washington was, and what he did as a
fighting man, let us try to know him in the equally important and far
more attractive domain of private and domestic life.



Lewis Willis, of Fredericksburg, who was at school with Washington,
used to speak of him as an unusually studious and industrious boy, but
recalled one occasion when he distinguished himself and surprised his
schoolmates by "romping with one of the largest girls."[1] Half a
century later, when the days of romping were long over and gone, a
gentleman writing of a Mrs. Hartley, whom Washington much admired,
said that the general always liked a fine woman.[2] It is certain that
from romping he passed rapidly to more serious forms of expressing
regard, for by the time he was fourteen he had fallen deeply in love
with Mary Bland of Westmoreland, whom he calls his "Lowland Beauty,"
and to whom he wrote various copies of verses, preserved amid the
notes of surveys, in his diary for 1747-48. The old tradition
identified the "Lowland Beauty" with Miss Lucy Grymes, perhaps
correctly, and there are drafts of letters addressed to "Dear Sally,"
which suggest that the mistake in identification might have arisen
from the fact that there were several ladies who answered to that
description. In the following sentence from the draft of a letter to a
masculine sympathizer, also preserved in the tell-tale diary of 1748,
there is certainly an indication that the constancy of the lover was
not perfect. "Dear Friend Robin," he wrote: "My place of residence at
present is at his Lordship's, where I might, were my heart disengaged,
pass my time very pleasantly, as there is a very agreeable young lady
in the same house, Colonel George Fairfax's wife's sister. But that
only adds fuel to the fire, as being often and unavoidably in company
with her revives my former passion for your Lowland Beauty; whereas
were I to live more retired from young women, I might in some measure
alleviate my sorrow by burying that chaste and troublesome passion in
oblivion; I am very well assured that this will be the only antidote
or remedy." Our gloomy young gentleman, however, did not take to
solitude to cure the pangs of despised love, but preceded to calm his
spirits by the society of this same sister-in-law of George Fairfax,
Miss Mary Cary. One "Lowland Beauty," Lucy Grymes, married Henry Lee,
and became the mother of "Legion Harry," a favorite officer and friend
of Washington in the Revolution, and the grandmother of Robert E. Lee,
the great soldier of the Southern Confederacy. The affair with Miss
Cary went on apparently for some years, fitfully pursued in the
intervals of war and Indian fighting, and interrupted also by matters
of a more tender nature. The first diversion occurred about 1752, when
we find Washington writing to William Fauntleroy, at Richmond, that he
proposed to come to his house to see his sister, Miss Betsy, and that
he hoped for a revocation of her former cruel sentence.[3] Miss Betsy,
however, seems to have been obdurate, and we hear no more of love
affairs until much later, and then in connection with matters of a
graver sort.

[Footnote 1: Quoted from the Willis MS. by Mr. Conway, in _Magazine of
American History_, March, 1887, p. 196.]

[Footnote 2: _Magazine of American History_, i. 324.]

[Footnote 3: _Historical Magazine_, 3d series, 1873. Letter
communicated by Fitzhugh Lee.]

[Illustration: Mary Cary]

When Captain Dagworthy, commanding thirty men in the Maryland
service, undertook in virtue of a king's commission to outrank the
commander-in-chief of the Virginian forces, Washington made up his
mind that he would have this question at least finally and properly
settled. So, as has been said, he went to Boston, saw Governor
Shirley, and had the dispute determined in his own favor. He made
the journey on horseback, and had with him two of his aides and two
servants. An old letter, luckily preserved, tells us how he looked,
for it contains orders to his London agents for various articles, sent
for perhaps in anticipation of this very expedition. In Braddock's
campaign the young surveyor and frontier soldier had been thrown among
a party of dashing, handsomely equipped officers fresh from London,
and their appearance had engaged his careful attention. Washington was
a thoroughly simple man in all ways, but he was also a man of
taste and a lover of military discipline. He had a keen sense of
appropriateness, a valuable faculty which stood him in good stead in
grave as well as trivial matters all through his career, and which in
his youth came out most strongly in the matter of manners and personal
appearance. He was a handsome man, and liked to be well dressed and to
have everything about himself or his servants of the best. Yet he
was not a mere imitator of fashions or devoted to fine clothes. The
American leggins and fringed hunting-shirt had a strong hold on his
affections, and he introduced them into Forbes's army, and again into
the army of the Revolution, as the best uniform for the backwoods
fighters. But he learned with Braddock that the dress of parade has as
real military value as that of service, and when he traveled northward
to settle about Captain Dagworthy, he felt justly that he now was
going on parade for the first time as the representative of his troops
and his colony. Therefore with excellent sense he dressed as befitted
the occasion, and at the same time gratified his own taste.

Thanks to these precautions, the little cavalcade that left Virginia
on February 4, 1756, must have looked brilliant enough as they rode
away through the dark woods. First came the colonel, mounted of course
on the finest of animals, for he loved and understood horses from the
time when he rode bareback in the pasture to those later days when he
acted as judge at a horse-race and saw his own pet colt "Magnolia"
beaten. In this expedition he wore, of course, his uniform of buff
and blue, with a white and scarlet cloak over his shoulders, and a
sword-knot of red and gold. His "horse furniture" was of the best
London make, trimmed with "livery lace," and the Washington arms were
engraved upon the housings. Close by his side rode his two aides,
likewise in buff and blue, and behind came his servants, dressed in
the Washington colors of white and scarlet and wearing hats laced with
silver. Thus accoutred, they all rode on together to the North.

The colonel's fame had gone before him, for the hero of Braddock's
stricken field and the commander of the Virginian forces was known by
reputation throughout the colonies. Every door flew open to him as he
passed, and every one was delighted to welcome the young soldier. He
was dined and wined and fêted in Philadelphia, and again in New York,
where he fell in love at apparently short notice with the heiress Mary
Philipse, the sister-in-law of his friend Beverly Robinson. Tearing
himself away from these attractions he pushed on to Boston, then
the most important city on the continent, and the head-quarters of
Shirley, the commander-in-chief. The little New England capital had at
that time a society which, rich for those days, was relieved from its
Puritan sombreness by the gayety and life brought in by the royal
officers. Here Washington lingered ten days, talking war and politics
with the governor, visiting in state the "great and general court,"
dancing every night at some ball, dining with and being fêted by the
magnates of the town. His business done, he returned to New York,
tarried there awhile for the sake of the fair dame, but came to no
conclusions, and then, like the soldier in the song, he gave his
bridle-rein a shake and rode away again to the South, and to the
harassed and ravaged frontier of Virginia.

How much this little interlude, pushed into a corner as it has been by
the dignity of history,--how much it tells of the real man! How the
statuesque myth and the priggish myth and the dull and solemn myth
melt away before it! Wise and strong, a bearer of heavy responsibility
beyond his years, daring in fight and sober in judgment, we have here
the other and the more human side of Washington. One loves to picture
that gallant, generous, youthful figure, brilliant in color and manly
in form, riding gayly on from one little colonial town to another,
feasting, dancing, courting, and making merry. For him the myrtle and
ivy were entwined with the laurel, and fame was sweetened by youth. He
was righteously ready to draw from life all the good things which
fate and fortune then smiling upon him could offer, and he took his
pleasure frankly, with an honest heart.

We know that he succeeded in his mission and put the captain of thirty
men in his proper place, but no one now can tell how deeply he was
affected by the charms of Miss Philipse. The only certain fact is that
he was able not long after to console himself very effectually. Riding
away from Mount Vernon once more, in the spring of 1758, this time to
Williamsburg with dispatches, he stopped at William's Ferry to dine
with his friend Major Chamberlayne, and there he met Martha Dandridge,
the widow of Daniel Parke Custis. She was young, pretty, intelligent,
and an heiress, and her society seemed to attract the young soldier.
The afternoon wore away, the horses came to the door at the appointed
time, and after being walked back and forth for some hours were
returned to the stable. The sun went down, and still the colonel
lingered. The next morning he rode away with his dispatches, but on
his return he paused at the White House, the home of Mrs. Custis, and
then and there plighted his troth with the charming widow. The wooing
was brief and decisive, and the successful lover departed for the
camp, to feel more keenly than ever the delays of the British officers
and the shortcomings of the colonial government. As soon as Fort
Duquesne had fallen he hurried home, resigned his commission in the
last week of December, and was married on January 6, 1759. It was a
brilliant wedding party which assembled on that winter day in the
little church near the White House. There were gathered Francis
Fauquier, the gay, free-thinking, high-living governor, gorgeous in
scarlet and gold; British officers, redcoated and gold-laced, and all
the neighboring gentry in the handsomest clothes that London credit
could furnish. The bride was attired in silk and satin, laces and
brocade, with pearls on her neck and in her ears; while the bridegroom
appeared in blue and silver trimmed with scarlet, and with gold
buckles at his knees and on his shoes. After the ceremony the bride
was taken home in a coach and six, her husband riding beside her,
mounted on a splendid horse and followed by all the gentlemen of the

[Illustration: Mary Morris born Mary Philipse]

The sunshine and glitter of the wedding-day must have appeared to
Washington deeply appropriate, for he certainly seemed to have all
that heart of man could desire. Just twenty-seven, in the first flush
of young manhood, keen of sense and yet wise in experience, life
must have looked very fair and smiling. He had left the army with a
well-earned fame, and had come home to take the wife of his choice and
enjoy the good-will and respect of all men. While away on his last
campaign he had been elected a member of the House of Burgesses, and
when he took his seat on removing to Williamsburg, three months after
his marriage, Mr. Robinson, the speaker, thanked him publicly in
eloquent words for his services to the country. Washington rose to
reply, but he was so utterly unable to talk about himself that he
stood before the House stammering and blushing, until the speaker
said, "Sit down, Mr. Washington; your modesty equals your valor, and
that surpasses the power of any language I possess." It is an old
story, and as graceful as it is old, but it was all very grateful to
Washington, especially as the words of the speaker bodied forth the
feelings of Virginia. Such an atmosphere, filled with deserved respect
and praise, was pleasant to begin with, and then he had everything
else too.

He not only continued to sit in the House year after year and help to
rule Virginia, but he served on the church vestry, and so held in his
hands the reins of local government. He had married a charming
woman, simple, straightforward, and sympathetic, free from gossip or
pretense, and as capable in practical matters as he was himself. By
right of birth a member of the Virginian aristocracy, he had widened
and strengthened his connections through his wife. A man of handsome
property by the death of Lawrence Washington's daughter, he had become
by his marriage one of the richest men of the country. Acknowledged
to be the first soldier on the continent, respected and trusted in
public, successful and happy in private life, he had attained before
he was thirty to all that Virginia could give of wealth, prosperity,
and honor, a fact of which he was well aware, for there never breathed
a man more wisely contented than George Washington at this period.

He made his home at Mount Vernon, adding many acres to the estate, and
giving to it his best attention. It is needless to say that he was
successful, for that was the ease with everything he undertook. He
loved country life, and he was the best and most prosperous planter in
Virginia, which was really a more difficult achievement than the mere
statement implies. Genuinely profitable farming in Virginia was not
common, for the general system was a bad one. A single great staple,
easily produced by the reckless exhaustion of land, and varying widely
in the annual value of crops, bred improvidence and speculation.
Everything was bought upon long credits, given by the London
merchants, and this, too, contributed largely to carelessness and
waste. The chronic state of a planter in a business way was one of
debt, and the lack of capital made his conduct of affairs extravagant
and loose. With all his care and method Washington himself was often
pinched for ready money, and it was only by his thoroughness and
foresight that he prospered and made money while so many of his
neighbors struggled with debt and lived on in easy luxury, not knowing
what the morrow might bring forth.

A far more serious trouble than bad business methods was one which was
little heeded at the moment, but which really lay at the foundation of
the whole system of society and business. This was the character of
the labor by which the plantations were worked. Slave labor is well
known now to be the most expensive and the worst form of labor that
can be employed. In the middle of the eighteenth century, however, its
evils were not appreciated, either from an economical or a moral point
of view. This is not the place to discuss the subject of African
slavery in America. But it is important to know Washington's opinions
in regard to an institution which was destined to have such a powerful
influence upon the country, and it seems most appropriate to consider
those opinions at the moment when slaves became a practical factor in
his life as a Virginian planter.

Washington accepted the system as he found it, as most men accept the
social arrangements to which they are born. He grew up in a world
where slavery had always existed, and where its rightfulness had never
been questioned. Being on the frontier, occupied with surveying and
with war, he never had occasion to really consider the matter at all
until he found himself at the head of large estates, with his own
prosperity dependent on the labor of slaves. The first practical
question, therefore, was how to employ this labor to the best
advantage. A man of his clear perceptions soon discovered the defects
of the system, and he gave great attention to feeding and clothing
his slaves, and to their general management. Parkinson[1] says in a
general way that Washington treated his slaves harshly, spoke to them
sharply, and maintained a military discipline, to which he attributed
the General's rare success as a planter. There can be no doubt of
the success, and the military discipline is probably true, but the
statement as to harshness is unsupported by any other authority.
Indeed, Parkinson even contradicts it himself, for he says elsewhere
that Washington never bought or sold a slave, a proof of the highest
and most intelligent humanity; and he adds in his final sketch of the
General's character, that he "was incapable of wrong-doing, but did to
all men as he would they should do to him. Therefore it is not to be
supposed that he would injure the negro." This agrees with what we
learn from all other sources. Humane by nature, he conceived a great
interest and pity for these helpless beings, and treated them with
kindness and forethought. In a word, he was a wise and good master,
as well as a successful one, and the condition of his slaves was
as happy, and their labor as profitable, as was possible to such a

[Footnote 1: _Tour in America_, 1798-1800.]

So the years rolled by; the war came and then the making of the
government, and Washington's thoughts were turned more and more, as
was the case with all the men of his time in that era of change and
of new ideas, to the consideration of human slavery in its moral,
political, and social aspects. To trace the course of his opinions
in detail is needless. It is sufficient to summarize them, for the
results of his reflection and observation are more important than the
processes by which they were reached. Washington became convinced that
the whole system was thoroughly bad, as well as utterly repugnant to
the ideas upon which the Revolution was fought and the government of
the United States founded. With a prescience wonderful for those days
and on that subject, he saw that slavery meant the up-growth in the
United States of two systems so radically hostile, both socially and
economically, that they could lead only to a struggle for political
supremacy, which in its course he feared would imperil the Union. For
this reason he deprecated the introduction of the slavery question
into the debates of the first Congress, because he realized its
character, and he did not believe that the Union or the government
at that early day could bear the strain which in this way would be
produced. At the same time he felt that a right solution must be found
or inconceivable evils would ensue. The inherent and everlasting wrong
of the system made its continuance, to his mind, impossible. While
it existed, he believed that the laws which surrounded it should be
maintained, because he thought that to violate these only added one
wrong to another. He also doubted, as will be seen in a later chapter,
where his conversation with John Bernard is quoted, whether the
negroes could be immediately emancipated with safety either to
themselves or to the whites, in their actual condition of ignorance,
illiteracy, and helplessness. The plan which he favored, and which,
it would seem, was his hope and reliance, was first the checking
of importation, followed by a gradual emancipation, with proper
compensation to the owners and suitable preparation and education for
the slaves. He told the clergymen Asbury and Coke, when they visited
him for that purpose, that he was in favor of emancipation, and was
ready to write a letter to the assembly to that effect.[1] He wished
fervently that such a spirit might take possession of the people of
the country, but he wrote to Lafayette that he despaired of seeing it.
When he died he did all that lay within his power to impress his views
upon his countrymen by directing that all his slaves should be set
free on the death of his wife. His precepts and his example in this
grave matter went unheeded for many years by the generations which
came after him. But now that slavery is dead, to the joy of all men,
it is well to remember that on this terrible question Washington's
opinions were those of a humane man, impatient of wrong, and of a
noble and far-seeing statesman, watchful of the evils that threatened
his country.[2]

[Footnote 1: _Magazine of American History_, 1880, p. 158.]

[Footnote 2: For some expressions of Washington's opinions on slavery,
see Sparks, viii. 414, ix. 159-163, and x. 224.]

After this digression let us return to the Virginian farmer, whose
mind was not disturbed as yet by thoughts of the destiny of the United
States, or considerations of the rights of man, but who was much
exercised by the task of making an honest income out of his estates.
To do this he grappled with details as firmly as he did with the
general system under which all plantations in that day were carried
on. He understood every branch of farming; he was on the alert for
every improvement; he rose early, worked steadily, gave to everything
his personal supervision, kept his own accounts with wonderful
exactness, and naturally enough his brands of flour went unquestioned
everywhere, his credit was high, and he made money--so far as it
was possible under existing conditions. Like Shakespeare, as Bishop
Blougram has it, he

  "Saved money, spent it, owned the worth of things."

He had no fine and senseless disregard for money or the good things of
this world, but on the contrary saw in them not the value attached to
them by vulgar minds, but their true worth. He was a solid, square,
evenly-balanced man in those days, believing that whatever he did was
worth doing well. So he farmed, as he fought and governed, better than
anybody else.

While thus looking after his own estates at home, he went further
afield in search of investments, keeping a shrewd eye on the western
lands, and buying wisely and judiciously whenever he had the
opportunity. He also constituted himself now, as in a later time, the
champion of the soldiers, for whom he had the truest sympathy and
affection, and a large part of the correspondence of this period is
devoted to their claims for the lands granted them by the assembly.
He distinguished carefully among them, however, those who were
undeserving, and to the major of the regiment, who had been excluded
from the public thanks on account of cowardice at the Great Meadows,
he wrote as follows: "Your impertinent letter was delivered to me
yesterday. As I am not accustomed to receive such from any man, nor
would have taken the same language from you personally without letting
you feel some marks of my resentment, I would advise you to be
cautious in writing me a second of the same tenor. But for your
stupidity and sottishness you might have known, by attending to the
public gazette, that you had your full quantity of ten thousand acres
of land allowed you. But suppose you had really fallen short, do you
think your superlative merit entitles you to greater indulgence than
others?... All my concern is that I ever engaged in behalf of so
ungrateful a fellow as you are." The writer of this letter, be it said
in passing, was the man whom Mr. Weems and others tell us was knocked
down before his soldiers, and then apologized to his assailant. It may
be suspected that it was well for the recipient of this letter that
he did not have a personal interview with its author, and it may
be doubted if he ever sought one subsequently. Just, generous, and
magnanimous to an extraordinary degree, Washington had a dangerous
temper, held well under control, but blazing out now and again against
injustice, insolence, or oppression. He was a peaceful man, leading a
peaceful life, but the fighting spirit only slumbered, and it
would break out at wrong of any sort, in a way which was extremely
unpleasant and threatening to those who aroused it.

Apart from lands and money and the management of affairs, public and
private, there were many other interests of varied nature which all
had their share of Washington's time and thought. He was a devoted
husband, and gave to his stepchildren the most affectionate care. He
watched over and protected them, and when the daughter died, after a
long and wasting illness, in 1773, he mourned for her as if she
had been his own, with all the tenderness of a deep and reserved
affection. The boy, John Custis, he made his friend and companion from
the beginning, and his letters to the lad and about him are wise and
judicious in the highest degree. He spent much time and thought on the
question of education, and after securing the best instructors took
the boy to New York and entered him at Columbia College in 1773. Young
Custis, however, did not remain there long, for he had fallen in love,
and the following year was married to Eleanor Calvert, not without
some misgivings on the part of Washington, who had observed his ward's
somewhat flighty disposition, and who gave a great deal of anxious
thought to his future. At home as abroad he was an undemonstrative
man, but he had abundance of that real affection which labors for
those to whom it goes out more unselfishly and far more effectually
than that which bubbles and boils upon the surface like a shallow,
noisy brook.

From the suggestions that he made in regard to young Custis, it is
evident that Washington valued and respected education, and that he
had that regard for learning for its own sake which always exists
in large measure in every thoughtful man. He read well, even if his
active life prevented his reading much, as we can see by his vigorous
English, and by his occasional allusions to history. From his London
orders we see, too, that everything about his house must have denoted
that its possessor had refinement and taste. His intense sense
of propriety and unfailing instinct for what was appropriate are
everywhere apparent. His dress, his furniture, his harnesses, the
things for the children, all show the same fondness for simplicity,
and yet a constant insistence that everything should be the best of
its kind. We can learn a good deal about any man by the ornaments of
his house, and by the portraits which hang on his walls; for these
dumb things tell us whom among the great men of earth the owner
admires, and indicate the tastes he best loves to gratify. When
Washington first settled with his wife at Mount Vernon, he ordered
from Europe the busts of Alexander the Great, Charles XII. of Sweden,
Julius Cæsar, Frederick of Prussia, Marlborough, and Prince Eugene,
and in addition he asked for statuettes of "two wild beasts." The
combination of soldier and statesman is the predominant admiration,
then comes the reckless and splendid military adventurer, and lastly
wild life and the chase. There is no mistaking the ideas and fancies
of the man who penned this order which has drifted down to us from the

But as Washington's active life was largely out of doors, so too were
his pleasures. He loved the fresh open-air existence of the woods
and fields, and there he found his one great amusement. He shot and
fished, but did not care much for these pursuits, for his hobby was
hunting, which gratified at once his passion for horses and dogs and
his love for the strong excitement of the chase, when dashed with just
enough danger to make it really fascinating. He showed in his sport
the same thoroughness and love of perfection that he displayed in
everything else. His stables were filled with the best horses that
Virginia could furnish. There were the "blooded coach-horses" for Mrs.
Washington's carriage, "Magnolia," a full-blooded Arabian, used by
his owner for the road, the ponies for the children, and finally, the
high-bred hunters Chinkling and Valiant, Ajax and Blueskin, and the
rest, all duly set down in the register in the handwriting of the
master himself. His first visit in the morning was to the stables;
the next to the kennels to inspect and criticise the hounds, also
methodically registered and described, so that we can read the names
of Vulcan and Ringwood, Singer and Truelove, Music and Sweetlips, to
which the Virginian woods once echoed nearly a century and a half ago.
His hounds were the subject of much thought, and were so constantly
and critically drafted as to speed, keenness, and bottom, that when in
full cry they ran so closely bunched that tradition says, in classic
phrase, they could have been covered with a blanket. The hounds met
three times a week in the season, usually at Mount Vernon, sometimes
at Belvoir. They would get off at daybreak, Washington in the midst of
his hounds, splendidly mounted, generally on his favorite Blueskin, a
powerful iron-gray horse of great speed and endurance. He wore a blue
coat, scarlet waistcoat, buckskin breeches, and a velvet cap. Closely
followed by his huntsman and the neighboring gentlemen, with the
ladies, headed, very likely, by Mrs. Washington in a scarlet habit,
he would ride to the appointed covert and throw in. There was no
difficulty in finding, and then away they would go, usually after a
gray fox, sometimes after a big black fox, rarely to be caught. Most
of the country was wild and unfenced, rough in footing, and offering
hard and dangerous going for the horses, but Washington always made it
a rule to stay with his hounds. Cautious or timid riders, if they were
so minded, could gallop along the wood roads with the ladies, and
content themselves with glimpses of the hunt, but the master rode at
the front. The fields, it is to be feared, were sometimes small, but
Washington hunted even if he had only his stepson or was quite alone.

His diaries abound with allusions to the sport. "Went a-hunting with
Jacky Custis, and catched a fox after three hours chase; found it in
the creek." "Mr. Bryan Fairfax, Mr. Grayson, and Phil. Alexander came
home by sunrise. Hunted and catched a fox with these. Lord Fairfax,
his brother, and Colonel Fairfax, all of whom, with Mr. Fairfax and
Mr. Wilson of England, dined here." Again, November 26 and 29, "Hunted
again with the same party." "1768, Jan. 8th. Hunting again with same
company. Started a fox and run him 4 hours. Took the hounds off at
night." "Jan. 15. Shooting." "16. At home all day with cards; it
snowing." "23. Rid to Muddy Hole and directed paths to be cut for
foxhunting." "Feb. 12. Catched 2 foxes." "Feb. 13. Catched 2 more
foxes." "Mar. 2. Catched fox with bob'd tail and cut ears after
7 hours chase, in which most of the dogs were worsted." "Dec. 5.
Fox-hunting with Lord Fairfax and his brother and Colonel Fairfax.
Started a fox and lost it. Dined at Belvoir and returned in the

[Footnote 1: MS. Diaries in State Department.]

So the entries run on, for he hunted almost every day in the season,
usually with success, but always with persistence. Like all true
sportsmen Washington had a horror of illicit sport of any kind, and
although he shot comparatively little, he was much annoyed by a
vagabond who lurked in the creeks and inlets on his estate, and
slaughtered his canvas-back ducks. Hearing the report of a gun one
morning, he rode through the bushes and saw his poaching friend just
shoving off in a canoe. The rascal raised his gun and covered his
pursuer, whereupon Washington, the cold-blooded and patient person
so familiar in the myths, dashed his horse headlong into the water,
seized the gun, grasped the canoe, and dragging it ashore pulled the
man out of the boat and beat him soundly. If the man had yielded at
once he would probably have got off easily enough, but when he put
Washington's life in imminent peril, the wild fighting spirit flared
up as usual.

The hunting season was of course that of the most lavish hospitality.
There was always a great deal of dining about, but Mount Vernon was
the chief resort, and its doors, ever open, were flung far back when
people came for a meet, or gathered to talk over the events of a good
run. Company was the rule and solitude the exception. When only the
family were at dinner, the fact was written down in the diary with
great care as an unusual event, for Washington was the soul of
hospitality, and although he kept early hours, he loved society and a
houseful of people. Profoundly reserved and silent as to himself,
a lover of solitude so far as his own thoughts and feelings were
concerned, he was far from being a solitary man in the ordinary
acceptation of the word. He liked life and gayety and conversation, he
liked music and dancing or a game of cards when the weather was bad,
and he enjoyed heartily the presence of young people and of his own
friends. So Mount Vernon was always full of guests, and the master
noted in his diary that although he owned more than a hundred cows he
was obliged, nevertheless, to buy butter, which suggests an experience
not unknown to gentlemen farmers of any period, and also that company
was never lacking in that generous, open house overlooking the

Beyond the bounds of his own estate he had also many occupations and
pleasures. He was a member of the House of Burgesses, diligent in his
attention to the work of governing the colony. He was diligent also in
church affairs, and very active in the vestry, which was the seat of
local government in Virginia. We hear of him also as the manager
of lotteries, which were a common form of raising money for local
purposes, in preference to direct taxation. In a word, he was
thoroughly public-spirited, and performed all the small duties which
his position demanded in the same spirit that he afterwards brought
to the command of armies and to the government of the nation. He had
pleasure too, as well as business, away from Mount Vernon. He liked
to go to his neighbors' houses and enjoy their hospitality as they
enjoyed his. We hear of him at the courthouse on court days, where all
the country-side gathered to talk and listen to the lawyers and hear
the news, and when he went to Williamsburg his diary tells us of a
round of dinners, beginning with the governor, of visits to the club,
and of a regular attendance at the theatre whenever actors came to the
little capital. Whether at home or abroad, he took part in all the
serious pursuits, in all the interests, and in every reasonable
pleasure offered by the colony.

Take it for all in all, it was a manly, wholesome, many-sided life. It
kept Washington young and strong, both mentally and physically. When
he was forty he flung the iron bar, at some village sports, to a point
which no competitor could approach. There was no man in all Virginia
who could ride a horse with such a powerful and assured seat.
There was no one who could journey farther on foot, and no man at
Williamsburg who showed at the governor's receptions such a commanding
presence, or who walked with such a strong and elastic step. As with
the body so with the mind. He never rusted. A practical carpenter and
smith, he brought the same quiet intelligence and firm will to the
forging of iron or the felling and sawing of trees that he had
displayed in fighting France. The life of a country gentleman did not
dull or stupefy him, or lead him to gross indulgences. He remained
well-made and athletic, strong and enduring, keen in perception and in
sense, and warm in his feelings and affections. Many men would have
become heavy and useless in these years of quiet country life, but
Washington simply ripened, and, like all slowly maturing men, grew
stronger, abler, and wiser in the happy years of rest and waiting
which intervened between youth and middle age.

Meantime, while the current of daily life flowed on thus gently at
Mount Vernon, the great stream of public events poured by outside. It
ran very calmly at first, after the war, and then with a quickening
murmur, which increased to an ominous roar when the passage of the
Stamp Act became known in America. Washington was always a constant
attendant at the assembly, in which by sheer force of character, and
despite his lack of the talking and debating faculty, he carried more
weight than any other member. He was present on May 29, 1765, when
Patrick Henry introduced his famous resolutions and menaced the king's
government in words which rang through the continent. The resolutions
were adopted, and Washington went home, with many anxious thoughts,
to discuss the political outlook with his friend and neighbor George
Mason, one of the keenest and ablest men in Virginia. The utter
folly of the policy embodied in the Stamp Act struck Washington very
forcibly. With that foresight for which he was so remarkable, he
perceived what scarcely any one else even dreamt of, that persistence
in this course must surely lead to a violent separation from the
mother-country, and it is interesting to note in this, the first
instance when he was called upon to consider a political question of
great magnitude, his clearness of vision and grasp of mind. In what he
wrote there is no trace of the ambitious schemer, no threatening nor
blustering, no undue despondency nor excited hopes. But there is a
calm understanding of all the conditions, an entire freedom from
self-deception, and the power of seeing facts exactly as they were,
which were all characteristic of his intellectual strength, and to
which we shall need to recur again and again.

The repeal of the Stamp Act was received by Washington with sober but
sincere pleasure. He had anticipated "direful" results and "unhappy
consequences" from its enforcement, and he freely said that those who
were instrumental in its repeal had his cordial thanks. He was no
agitator, and had not come forward in this affair, so he now retired
again to Mount Vernon, to his farming and hunting, where he remained,
watching very closely the progress of events. He had marked the
dangerous reservation of the principle in the very act of repeal; he
observed at Boston the gathering strength of what the wise ministers
of George III. called sedition; he noted the arrival of British troops
in the rebellious Puritan town; and he saw plainly enough, looming in
the background, the final appeal to arms. He wrote to Mason (April 5,
1769), that "at a time when our lordly masters in Great Britain will
be satisfied with nothing less than the deprivation of American
freedom, something should be done to avert the stroke and maintain the
liberty which we have derived from our ancestors. But the manner of
doing it, to answer the purpose effectually, is the point in question.
That no man should scruple or hesitate a moment to use arms in defense
of so valuable a blessing is clearly my opinion. Yet arms, I would beg
leave to add, should be the last resource, the _dernier ressort_." He
then urged the adoption of the only middle course, non-importation,
but he had not much hope in this expedient, although an honest desire
is evident that it may prove effectual.

When the assembly met in May, they received the new governor, Lord
Botetourt, with much cordiality, and then fell to passing spirited
and sharp-spoken resolutions declaring their own rights and defending
Massachusetts. The result was a dissolution. Thereupon the burgesses
repaired to the Raleigh tavern, where they adopted a set of
non-importation resolutions and formed an association. The resolutions
were offered by Washington, and were the result of his quiet country
talks with Mason. When the moment for action arrived, Washington came
naturally to the front, and then returned quietly to Mount Vernon,
once more to go about his business and watch the threatening political
horizon. Virginia did not live up to this first non-importation
agreement, and formed another a year later. But Washington was not in
the habit of presenting resolutions merely for effect, and there
was nothing of the actor in his composition. His resolutions meant
business, and he lived up to them rigidly himself. Neither tea nor
any of the proscribed articles were allowed in his house. Most of
the leaders did not realize the seriousness of the situation, but
Washington, looking forward with clear and sober gaze, was in grim
earnest, and was fully conscious that when he offered his resolutions
the colony was trying the last peaceful remedy, and that the next step
would be war.

Still he went calmly about his many affairs as usual, and gratified
the old passion for the frontier by a journey to Pittsburgh for the
sake of lands and soldiers' claims, and thence down the Ohio and into
the wilderness with his old friends the trappers and pioneers. He
visited the Indian villages as in the days of the French mission, and
noted in the savages an ominous restlessness, which seemed, like the
flight of birds, to express the dumb instinct of an approaching storm.
The clouds broke away somewhat under the kindly management of Lord
Botetourt, and then gathered again more thickly on the accession of
his successor, Lord Dunmore. With both these gentlemen Washington was
on the most friendly terms. He visited them often, and was consulted
by them, as it behooved them to consult the strongest man within the
limits of their government. Still he waited and watched, and scanned
carefully the news from the North. Before long he heard that
tea-chests were floating in Boston harbor, and then from across the
water came intelligence of the passage of the Port Bill and other
measures destined to crush to earth the little rebel town.

When the Virginia assembly met again, they proceeded to congratulate
the governor on the arrival of Lady Dunmore, and then suddenly, as
all was flowing smoothly along, there came a letter through the
corresponding committee which Washington had helped to establish,
telling of the measures against Boston. Everything else was thrown
aside at once, a vigorous protest was entered on the journal of the
House, and June 1, when the Port Bill was to go into operation, was
appointed a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. The first result
was prompt dissolution of the assembly. The next was another meeting
in the long room of the Raleigh tavern, where the Boston bill
was denounced, non-importation renewed, and the committee of
correspondence instructed to take steps for calling a general
congress. Events were beginning to move at last with perilous
rapidity. Washington dined with Lord Dunmore on the evening of that
day, rode with him, and appeared at her ladyship's ball the next
night, for it was not his way to bite his thumb at men from whom he
differed politically, nor to call the motives of his opponents in
question. But when the 1st of June arrived, he noted in his diary that
he fasted all day and attended the appointed services. He always meant
what he said, being of a simple nature, and when he fasted and prayed
there was something ominously earnest about it, something that his
excellency the governor, who liked the society of this agreeable
man and wise counselor, would have done well to consider and draw
conclusions from, and which he probably did not heed at all. He might
well have reflected, as he undoubtedly failed to do, that when men
of the George Washington type fast and pray on account of political
misdoings, it is well for their opponents to look to it carefully.

Meantime Boston had sent forth appeals to form a league among the
colonies, and thereupon another meeting was held in the Raleigh
tavern, and a letter was dispatched advising the burgesses to consider
this matter of a general league and take the sense of their respective
counties. Virginia and Massachusetts had joined hands now, and they
were sweeping the rest of the continent irresistibly forward with
them. As for Washington, he returned to Mount Vernon and at once set
about taking the sense of his county, as he had agreed. Before doing
so he had some correspondence with his old friend Bryan Fairfax. The
Fairfaxes naturally sided with the mother-country, and Bryan was much
distressed by the course of Virginia, and remonstrated strongly, and
at length by letter, against violent measures. Washington replied
to him: "Does it not appear as clear as the sun in its meridian
brightness that there is a regular, systematic plan formed to fix the
right and practice of taxation on us? Does not the uniform conduct of
Parliament for some years past confirm this? Do not all the debates,
especially those just brought to us in the House of Commons, on the
side of government expressly declare that America must be taxed in
aid of the British funds, and that she has no longer resources within
herself? Is there anything to be expected from petitioning after this?
Is not the attack upon the liberty and property of the people of
Boston, before restitution of the loss to the India Company was
demanded, a plain and self-evident proof of what they are aiming at?
Do not the subsequent bills (now I dare say acts) for depriving the
Massachusetts Bay of its charter, and for transporting offenders into
other colonies, or to Great Britain for trial, where it is impossible
from the nature of the thing that justice can be obtained, convince us
that the administration is determined to stick at nothing to carry
its point? Ought we not, then, to put our virtue and fortitude to the
severest test?" He was prepared, he continued, for anything except
confiscating British debts, which struck him as dishonorable. These
were plain but pregnant questions, but what we mark in them, and
in all his letters of this time, is the absence of constitutional
discussion, of which America was then full. They are confined to a
direct presentation of the broad political question, which underlay
everything. Washington always went straight to the mark, and he now
saw, through all the dust of legal and constitutional strife, that
the only real issue was whether America was to be allowed to govern
herself in her own way or not. In the acts of the ministry he
perceived a policy which aimed at substantial power, and he believed
that such a policy, if insisted on, could have but one result.

The meeting of Fairfax County was held in due course, and Washington
presided. The usual resolutions for self-government and against
the vindictive Massachusetts measures were adopted. Union and
non-importation were urged; and then the congress, which they
advocated, was recommended to address a petition and remonstrance to
the king, and ask him to reflect that "from our sovereign there can
be but one appeal." Everything was to be tried, everything was to be
done, but the ultimate appeal was never lost sight of where Washington
appeared, and the final sentence of these Fairfax County resolves is
very characteristic of the leader in the meeting. Two days later he
wrote to the worthy and still remonstrating Bryan Fairfax, repeating
and enlarging his former questions, and adding: "Has not General
Gage's conduct since his arrival, in stopping the address of his
council, and publishing a proclamation more becoming a Turkish bashaw
than an English governor, declaring it treason to associate in any
manner by which the commerce of Great Britain is to be affected,--has
not this exhibited an unexampled testimony of the most despotic system
of tyranny that ever was practiced in a free government?... Shall we
after this whine and cry for relief, when we have already tried it in
vain? Or shall we supinely sit and see one province after another fall
a sacrifice to despotism?" The fighting spirit of the man was rising.
There was no rash rushing forward, no ignorant shouting for war, no
blinking of the real issue, but a foresight that nothing could dim,
and a perception of facts which nothing could confuse. On August 1
Washington was at Williamsburg, to represent his county in the
meeting of representatives from all Virginia. The convention passed
resolutions like the Fairfax resolves, and chose delegates to a
general congress. The silent man was now warming into action. He "made
the most eloquent speech that ever was made," and said, "I will raise
a thousand men, subsist them at my own expense, and march them to the
relief of Boston." He was capable, it would seem, of talking to the
purpose with some fire and force, for all he was so quiet and so
retiring. When there was anything to say, he could say it so that it
stirred all who listened, because they felt that there was a mastering
strength behind the words. He faced the terrible issue solemnly and
firmly, but his blood was up, the fighting spirit in him was aroused,
and the convention chose him as one of Virginia's six delegates to
the Continental Congress. He lingered long enough to make a few
preparations at Mount Vernon. He wrote another letter to Fairfax,
interesting to us as showing the keenness with which he read in the
meagre news-reports the character of Gage and of the opposing people
of Massachusetts. Then he started for the North to take the first step
on the long and difficult path that lay before him.



In the warm days of closing August, a party of three gentlemen rode
away from Mount Vernon one morning, and set out upon their long
journey to Philadelphia. One cannot help wondering whether a tender
and somewhat sad remembrance did not rise in Washington's mind, as he
thought of the last time he had gone northward, nearly twenty years
before. Then, he was a light-hearted young soldier, and he and his
aides, albeit they went on business, rode gayly through the forests,
lighting the road with the bright colors they wore and with the
glitter of lace and arms, while they anticipated all the pleasures of
youth in the new lands they were to visit. Now, he was in the prime of
manhood, looking into the future with prophetic eyes, and sober as was
his wont when the shadow of coming responsibility lay dark upon his
path. With him went Patrick Henry, four years his junior, and Edmund
Pendleton, now past threescore. They were all quiet and grave enough,
no doubt; but Washington, we may believe, was gravest of all, because,
being the most truthful of men to himself as to others, he saw more
plainly what was coming. So they made their journey to the North, and
on the memorable 5th of September they met with their brethren from
the other colonies in Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia.

The Congress sat fifty-one days, occupied with debates and discussion.
Few abler, more honest, or more memorable bodies of men have ever
assembled to settle the fate of nations. Much debate, great and
earnest in all directions, resulted in a declaration of colonial
rights, in an address to the king, in another to the people of Canada,
and a third to the people of Great Britain; masterly state papers,
seldom surpassed, and extorting even then the admiration of England.
In these debates and state papers Washington took no part that is now
apparent on the face of the record. He was silent in the Congress, and
if he was consulted, as he unquestionably was by the committees, there
is no record of it now. The simple fact was that his time had not
come. He saw men of the most acute minds, liberal in education,
patriotic in heart, trained in law and in history, doing the work
of the moment in the best possible way. If anything had been done
wrongly, or had been left undone, Washington would have found his
voice quickly enough, and uttered another of the "most eloquent
speeches ever made," as he did shortly before in the Virginia
convention. He could speak in public when need was, but now there was
no need and nothing to arouse him. The work of Congress followed
the line of policy adopted by the Virginia convention, and that had
proceeded along the path marked out in the Fairfax resolves, so that
Washington could not be other than content. He occupied his own time,
as we see by notes in his diary, in visiting the delegates from
the other colonies, and in informing himself as to their ideas and
purposes, and those of the people whom they represented. He was
quietly working for the future, the present being well taken care of.
Yet this silent man, going hither and thither, and chatting pleasantly
with this member or that, was in some way or other impressing himself
deeply on all the delegates, for Patrick Henry said: "If you speak
of solid information and sound judgment, Colonel Washington is
unquestionably the greatest man on the floor."

We have a letter, written at just this time, which shows us how
Washington felt, and we see again how his spirit rose as he saw more
and more clearly that the ultimate issue was inevitable. The letter is
addressed to Captain Mackenzie, a British officer at Boston, and an
old friend. "Permit me," he began, "with the freedom of a friend (for
you know I always esteemed you), to express my sorrow that fortune
should place you in a service that must fix curses to the latest
posterity upon the contrivers, and, if success (which, by the by, is
impossible) accompanies it, execrations upon all those who have been
instrumental in the execution." This was rather uncompromising talk
and not over peaceable, it must be confessed. He continued: "Give me
leave to add, and I think I can announce it as a fact, that it is not
the wish or intent of that government [Massachusetts], or any other
upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set up for
independence; but this you may at the same time rely on, that none
of them will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights and
privileges which are essential to the happiness of every free state,
and without which life, liberty, and property are rendered totally
insecure.... Again give me leave to add as my opinion that more blood
will be spilled on this occasion, if the ministry are determined
to push matters to extremity, than history has ever yet furnished
instances of in the annals of North America, and such a vital wound
will be given to the peace of this great country, as time itself
cannot cure or eradicate the remembrance of." Washington was not a
political agitator like Sam Adams, planning with unerring intelligence
to bring about independence. On the contrary, he rightly declared that
independence was not desired. But although he believed in exhausting
every argument and every peaceful remedy, it is evident that he felt
that there now could be but one result, and that violent separation
from the mother country was inevitable. Here is where he differed from
his associates and from the great mass of the people, and it is to
this entire veracity of mind that his wisdom and foresight were so
largely due, as well as his success when the time came for him to put
his hand to the plough.

When Congress adjourned, Washington returned to Mount Vernon, to the
pursuits and pleasures that he loved, to his family and farm, and to
his horses and hounds, with whom he had many a good run, the last that
he was to enjoy for years to come. He returned also to wait and
watch as before, and to see war rapidly gather in the east. When the
Virginia convention again assembled, resolutions were introduced to
arm and discipline men, and Henry declared in their support that
an "appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts" was all that was left.
Washington said nothing, but he served on the committee to draft a
plan of defense, and then fell to reviewing the independent companies
which were springing up everywhere. At the same time he wrote to his
brother John, who had raised a troop, that he would accept the command
of it if desired, as it was his "full intention to devote his life and
fortune in the cause we are engaged in, if needful." At Mount Vernon
his old comrades of the French war began to appear, in search of
courage and sympathy. Thither, too, came Charles Lee, a typical
military adventurer of that period, a man of English birth and of
varied service, brilliant, whimsical, and unbalanced. There also came
Horatio Gates, likewise British, and disappointed with his prospects
at home; less adventurous than Lee, but also less brilliant, and not
much more valuable.

Thus the winter wore away; spring opened, and toward the end of April
Washington started again for the North, much occupied with certain
tidings from Lexington and Concord which just then spread over the
land. He saw all that it meant plainly enough, and after noting the
fact that the colonists fought and fought well, he wrote to George
Fairfax in England: "Unhappy it is to reflect that a brother's sword
has been sheathed in a brother's breast, and that the once happy and
peaceful plains of America are either to be drenched in blood or
inhabited by slaves. Sad alternative. But can a virtuous man hesitate
in his choice?" Congress, it would seem, thought there was a good deal
of room for hesitation, both for virtuous men and others, and after
the fashion of their race determined to do a little more debating and
arguing, before taking any decisive step. After much resistance and
discussion, a second "humble and dutiful petition" to the king was
adopted, and with strange contradiction a confederation was formed at
the same time, and Congress proceeded to exercise the sovereign powers
thus vested in them. The most pressing and troublesome question before
them was what to do with the army surrounding Boston, and with the
actual hostilities there existing.

Washington, for his part, went quietly about as before, saying
nothing and observing much, working hard as chairman of the military
committees, planning for defense, and arranging for raising an army.
One act of his alone stands out for us with significance at this
critical time. In this second Congress he appeared habitually on the
floor in his blue and buff uniform of a Virginia colonel. It was his
way of saying that the hour for action had come, and that he at least
was ready for the fight whenever called upon.

Presently he was summoned. Weary of waiting, John Adams at last
declared that Congress must adopt the army and make Washington, who at
this mention of his name stepped out of the room, commander-in-chief.
On June 15, formal motions were made to this effect and unanimously
adopted, and the next day Washington appeared before Congress and
accepted the trust. His words were few and simple. He expressed his
sense of his own insufficiency for the task before him, and said that
as no pecuniary consideration could have induced him to undertake the
work, he must decline all pay or emoluments, only looking to Congress
to defray his expenses. In the same spirit he wrote to his soldiers
in Virginia, to his brother, and finally, in terms at once simple
and pathetic, to his wife. There was no pretense about this, but the
sternest reality of self-distrust, for Washington saw and measured as
did no one else the magnitude of the work before him. He knew that he
was about to face the best troops of Europe, and he had learned by
experience that after the first excitement was over he would be
obliged to rely upon a people who were brave and patriotic, but also
undisciplined, untrained, and unprepared for war, without money,
without arms, without allies or credit, and torn by selfish local
interests. Nobody else perceived all this as he was able to with his
mastery of facts, but he faced the duty unflinchingly. He did not put
it aside because he distrusted himself, for in his truthfulness he
could not but confess that no other American could show one tithe
of his capacity, experience, or military service. He knew what was
coming, knew it, no doubt, when he first put on his uniform, and he
accepted instantly.

John Adams in his autobiography speaks of the necessity of choosing a
Southern general, and also says there were objectors to the selection
of Washington even among the Virginia delegates. That there were
political reasons for taking a Virginian cannot be doubted. But the
dissent, even if it existed, never appeared on the surface, excepting
in the case of John Hancock, who, with curious vanity, thought that he
ought to have this great place. When Washington's name was proposed
there was no murmur of opposition, for there was no man who could for
one moment be compared with him in fitness. The choice was inevitable,
and he himself felt it to be so. He saw it coming; he would fain have
avoided the great task, but no thought of shrinking crossed his mind.
He saw with his entire freedom from constitutional subtleties that an
absolute parliament sought to extend its power to the colonies. To
this he would not submit, and he knew that this was a question which
could be settled only by one side giving way, or by the dread appeal
to arms. It was a question of fact, hard, unrelenting fact, now to be
determined by battle, and on him had fallen the burden of sustaining
the cause of his country. In this spirit he accepted his commission,
and rode forth to review the troops. He was greeted with loud acclaim
wherever he appeared. Mankind is impressed by externals, and those
who gazed upon Washington in the streets of Philadelphia felt their
courage rise and their hearts grow strong at the sight of his virile,
muscular figure as he passed before them on horseback, stately,
dignified, and self-contained. The people looked upon him, and were
confident that this was a man worthy and able to dare and do all

On June 21 he set forth accompanied by Lee and Schuyler, and with a
brilliant escort. He had ridden but twenty miles when he was met by
the news of Bunker Hill. "Did the militia fight?" was the immediate
and characteristic question; and being told that they did fight, he
exclaimed, "Then the liberties of the country are safe." Given the
fighting spirit, Washington felt he could do anything. Full of this
important intelligence he pressed forward to Newark, where he was
received by a committee of the provincial congress, sent to conduct
the commander-in-chief to New York. There he tarried long enough to
appoint Schuyler to the charge of the military affairs in that colony,
having mastered on the journey its complicated social and political
conditions. Pushing on through Connecticut he reached Watertown, where
he was received by the provincial congress of Massachusetts, on July
2, with every expression of attachment and confidence. Lingering less
than an hour for this ceremony, he rode on to the headquarters at
Cambridge, and when he came within the lines the shouts of the
soldiers and the booming of cannon announced his arrival to the
English in Boston.

The next day he rode forth in the presence of a great multitude, and
the troops having been drawn up before him, he drew his sword beneath
the historical elm-tree, and took command of the first American army.
"His excellency," wrote Dr. Thatcher in his journal, "was on horseback
in company with several military gentlemen. It was not difficult to
distinguish him from all others. He is tall and well proportioned, and
his personal appearance truly noble and majestic." "He is tall and of
easy and agreeable address," the loyalist Curwen had remarked a few
weeks before; while Mrs. John Adams, warm-hearted and clever, wrote
to her husband after the general's arrival: "Dignity, ease, and
complacency, the gentleman and the soldier, look agreeably blended in
him. Modesty marks every line and feature of his face. Those lines of
Dryden instantly occurred to me,--

  'Mark his majestic fabric! He's a temple
  Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine;
  His soul's the deity that lodges there;
  Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.'"

Lady, lawyer, and surgeon, patriot and tory, all speak alike, and as
they wrote so New England felt. A slave-owner, an aristocrat, and a
churchman, Washington came to Cambridge to pass over the heads
of native generals to the command of a New England army, among a
democratic people, hard-working and simple in their lives, and
dissenters to the backbone, who regarded episcopacy as something
little short of papistry and quite equivalent to toryism. Yet the
shout that went up from soldiers and people on Cambridge common on
that pleasant July morning came from the heart and had no jarring
note. A few of the political chiefs growled a little in later days at
Washington, but the soldiers and the people, high and low, rich and
poor, gave him an unstinted loyalty. On the fields of battle and
throughout eight years of political strife the men of New England
stood by the great Virginian with a devotion and truth in which was no
shadow of turning. Here again we see exhibited most conspicuously
the powerful personality of the man who was able thus to command
immediately the allegiance of this naturally cold and reserved people.
What was it that they saw which inspired them at once with so much
confidence? They looked upon a tall, handsome man, dressed in plain
uniform, wearing across his breast a broad blue band of silk, which
some may have noticed as the badge and symbol of a certain solemn
league and covenant once very momentous in the English-speaking world.
They saw his calm, high bearing, and in every line of face and figure
they beheld the signs of force and courage. Yet there must have been
something more to call forth the confidence then so quickly given, and
which no one ever long withheld. All felt dimly, but none the less
surely, that here was a strong, able man, capable of rising to the
emergency, whatever it might be, capable of continued growth and
development, clear of head and warm of heart; and so the New England
people gave to him instinctively their sympathy and their faith, and
never took either back.

The shouts and cheers died away, and then Washington returned to his
temporary quarters in the Wadsworth house, to master the task before
him. The first great test of his courage and ability had come, and he
faced it quietly as the excitement caused by his arrival passed by. He
saw before him, to use his own words, "a mixed multitude of people,
under very little discipline, order, or government." In the language
of one of his aides:[1] "The entire army, if it deserved the name, was
but an assemblage of brave, enthusiastic, undisciplined, country lads;
the officers in general quite as ignorant of military life as the
troops, excepting a few elderly men, who had seen some irregular
service among the provincials under Lord Amherst." With this force,
ill-posted and very insecurely fortified, Washington was to drive the
British from Boston. His first step was to count his men, and it took
eight days to get the necessary returns, which in an ordinary army
would have been furnished in an hour. When he had them, he found that
instead of twenty thousand, as had been represented, but fourteen
thousand soldiers were actually present for duty. In a short time,
however, Mr. Emerson, the chaplain, noted in his diary that it
was surprising how much had been done, that the lines had been so
extended, and the works so shrewdly built, that it was morally
impossible for the enemy to get out except in one place purposely left
open. A little later the same observer remarked: "There is a great
overturning in the camp as to order and regularity; new lords, new
laws. The Generals Washington and Lee are upon the lines every day.
The strictest government is taking place, and great distinction is
made between officers and soldiers." Bodies of troops scattered here
and there by chance were replaced by well-distributed forces, posted
wisely and effectively in strong intrenchments. It is little wonder
that the worthy chaplain was impressed, and now, seeing it all from
every side, we too can watch order come out of chaos and mark the
growth of an army under the guidance of a master-mind and the steady
pressure of an unbending will.

[Footnote 1: John Trumbull, _Reminiscences_, p. 18.]

Then too there was no discipline, for the army was composed of raw
militia, who elected their officers and carried on war as they
pleased. In a passage suppressed by Mr. Sparks, Washington said:
"There is no such thing as getting officers of this stamp to carry
orders into execution--to curry favor with the men (by whom they were
chosen, and on whose smile they may possibly think that they may again
rely) seems to be one of the principal objects of their attention.
I have made a pretty good slam amongst such kind of officers as the
Massachusetts government abounds in, since I came into this camp,
having broke one colonel and two captains for cowardly behavior in
the action on Bunker Hill, two captains for drawing more pay and
provisions than they had men in their company, and one for being
absent from his post when the enemy appeared there and burnt a house
just by it. Besides these I have at this time one colonel, one major,
one captain, and two subalterns under arrest for trial. In short, I
spare none, and yet fear it will not all do, as these people seem to
be too attentive to everything but their own interests." This may
be plain and homely in phrase, but it is not stilted, and the quick
energy of the words shows how the New England farmers and fishermen
were being rapidly brought to discipline. Bringing the army into
order, however, was but a small part of his duties. It is necessary
to run over all his difficulties, great and small, at this time, and
count them up, in order to gain a just idea of the force and capacity
of the man who overcame them.

Washington, in the first place, was obliged to deal not only with his
army, but with the general congress and the congress of the province.
He had to teach them, utterly ignorant as they were of the needs and
details of war, how to organize and supply their armies. There was no
commissary department, there were no uniforms, no arrangements for
ammunition, no small arms, no cannon, no resources to draw upon for
all these necessaries of war. Little by little he taught Congress
to provide after a fashion for these things, little by little he
developed what he needed, and by his own ingenuity, and by seizing
alertly every suggestion from others, he supplied for better or worse
one deficiency after another. He had to deal with various governors
and various colonies, each with its prejudices, jealousies, and
shortcomings. He had to arrange for new levies from a people unused
to war, and to settle with infinite anxiety and much wear and tear of
mind and body, the conflict as to rank among officers to whom he could
apply no test but his own insight. He had to organize and stimulate
the arming of privateers, which, by preying on British commerce, were
destined to exercise such a powerful influence on the fate of the war.
It was neither showy nor attractive, such work as this, but it was
very vital, and it was done.

By the end of July the army was in a better posture of defense;
and then at the beginning of the next month, as the prospect was
brightening, it was suddenly discovered that there was no gunpowder.
An undrilled army, imperfectly organized, was facing a disciplined
force and had only some nine rounds in the cartridge-boxes. Yet there
is no quivering in the letters from headquarters. Anxiety and strain
of nerve are apparent; but a resolute determination rises over all,
supported by a ready fertility of resource. Couriers flew over the
country asking for powder in every town and in every village. A vessel
was even dispatched to the Bermudas to seize there a supply of powder,
of which the general, always listening, had heard. Thus the immediate
and grinding pressure was presently relieved, but the staple of war
still remained pitifully and perilously meagre all through the winter.

Meantime, while thus overwhelmed with the cares immediately about him,
Washington was watching the rest of the country. He had a keen eye
upon Johnson and his Indians in the valley of the Mohawk; he followed
sharply every movement of Tryon and the Tories in New York; he refused
with stern good sense to detach troops to Connecticut and Long Island,
knowing well when to give and when to say No, a difficult monosyllable
for the new general of freshly revolted colonies. But if he would not
detach in one place, he was ready enough to do so in another. He sent
one expedition by Lake Champlain, under Montgomery, to Montreal, and
gave Arnold picked troops to march through the wilds of Maine and
strike Quebec. The scheme was bold and brilliant, both in conception
and in execution, and came very near severing Canada forever from the
British crown. A chapter of little accidents, each one of which proved
as fatal as it was unavoidable, a moment's delay on the Plains of
Abraham, and the whole campaign failed; but there was a grasp of
conditions, a clearness of perception, and a comprehensiveness about
the plan, which stamp it as the work of a great soldier, who saw
besides the military importance, the enormous political value held out
by the chance of such a victory.

The daring, far-reaching quality of this Canadian expedition was much
more congenial to Washington's temper and character than the wearing
work of the siege. All that man could do before Boston was done, and
still Congress expected the impossible, and grumbled because without
ships he did not secure the harbor. He himself, while he inwardly
resented such criticism, chafed under the monotonous drudgery of the
intrenchments. He was longing, according to his nature, to fight, and
was, it must be confessed, quite ready to attempt the impossible in
his own way. Early in September he proposed to attack the town in
boats and by the neck of land at Roxbury, but the council of officers
unanimously voted against him. A little more than a month later he
planned another attack, and was again voted down by his officers.
Councils of war never fight, it is said, and perhaps in this case
it was well that such was their habit, for the schemes look rather
desperate now. To us they serve to show the temper of the man, and
also his self-control in this respect at the beginning of the war, for
Washington became ready enough afterwards to override councils when he
was wholly free from doubt himself.

Thus the planning of campaigns, both distant and near, went on, and at
the same time the current of details, difficult, vital, absolute in
demanding prompt and vigorous solution, went on too. The existence of
war made it necessary to fix our relations with our enemies, and that
these relations should be rightly settled was of vast moment to our
cause, struggling for recognition. The first question was the matter
of prisoners, and on August 11 Washington wrote to Gage:--

"I understand that the officers engaged in the cause of liberty and
their country, who by the fortune of war have fallen into your hands,
have been thrown indiscriminately into a common gaol appropriated
for felons; that no consideration has been had for those of the most
respectable rank, when languishing with wounds and sickness; and that
some have been even amputated in this unworthy situation.

"Let your opinion, sir, of the principle which actuates them be what
it may, they suppose that they act from the noblest of all principles,
a love of freedom and their country. But political principles, I
conceive, are foreign to this point. The obligations arising from the
rights of humanity and claims of rank are universally binding and
extensive, except in case of retaliation. These, I should have hoped,
would have dictated a more tender treatment of those individuals whom
chance or war had put in your power. Nor can I forbear suggesting
its fatal tendency to widen that unhappy breach which you, and those
ministers under whom you act, have repeatedly declared your wish is to
see forever closed.

"My duty now makes it necessary to apprise you, that for the future I
shall regulate all my conduct towards those gentlemen who are or may
be in our possession, exactly by the rule you shall observe towards
those of ours now in your custody.

"If severity and hardship mark the line of your conduct, painful as it
may be to me, your prisoners will feel its effects. But if kindness
and humanity are shown to ours, I shall with pleasure consider those
in our hands only as unfortunate, and they shall receive from me that
treatment to which the unfortunate are ever entitled."

This is a letter worthy of a little study. The affair does not look
very important now, but it went then to the roots of things; for this
letter would go out to the world, and America and the American cause
would be judged by their leader. A little bluster or ferocity, any
fine writing, or any absurdity, and the world would have sneered,
condemned, or laughed. But no man could read this letter and fail to
perceive that here was dignity and force, justice and sense, with just
a touch of pathos and eloquence to recommend it to the heart. Men
might differ with the writer, but they could neither laugh at him nor
set him aside.

Gage replied after his kind. He was an inconsiderable person, dull
and well meaning, intended for the command of a garrison town,
and terribly twisted and torn by the great events in which he was
momentarily caught. His masters were stupid and arrogant, and he
imitated them with perfect success, except that arrogance with him
dwindled to impertinence. He answered Washington's letter with denials
and recriminations, lectured the American general on the political
situation, and talked about "usurped authority," "rebels,"
"criminals," and persons destined to the "cord." Washington, being a
man of his word, proceeded to put some English prisoners into jail,
and then wrote a second note, giving Gage a little lesson in manners,
with the vain hope of making him see that gentlemen did not scold
and vituperate because they fought. He restated his case calmly
and coolly, as before, informed Gage that he had investigated the
counter-charge of cruelty and found it without any foundation, and
then continued: "You advise me to give free operation to truth, and
to punish misrepresentation and falsehood. If experience stamps value
upon counsel, yours must have a weight which few can claim. You best
can tell how far the convulsion, which has brought such ruin on both
countries, and shaken the mighty empire of Britain to its foundation,
may be traced to these malignant causes.

"You affect, sir, to despise all rank not derived from the same source
with your own. I cannot conceive one more honorable than that which
flows from the uncorrupted choice of a brave and free people, the
purest source and original fountain of all power. Far from making it a
plea for cruelty, a mind of true magnanimity and enlarged ideas would
comprehend and respect it."

Washington had grasped instinctively the general truth that Englishmen
are prone to mistake civility for servility, and become offensive,
whereas if they are treated with indifference, rebuke, or even
rudeness, they are apt to be respectful and polite. He was obliged to
go over the same ground with Sir William Howe, a little later, and
still more sharply; and this matter of prisoners recurred, although at
longer and longer intervals, throughout the war. But as the British
generals saw their officers go to jail, and found that their impudence
and assumption were met by keen reproofs, they gradually comprehended
that Washington was not a man to be trifled with, and that in him
was a pride and dignity out-topping theirs and far stronger, because
grounded on responsibility borne and work done, and on the deep sense
of a great and righteous cause.

It was probably a pleasure and a relief to give to Gage and Sir
William Howe a little instruction in military behavior and general
good manners, but there was nothing save infinite vexation in dealing
with the difficulties arising on the American side of the line. As the
days shortened and the leaves fell, Washington saw before him a New
England winter, with no clothing and no money for his troops. Through
long letters to Congress, and strenuous personal efforts, these
wants were somehow supplied. Then the men began to get restless and
homesick, and both privates and officers would disappear to their
farms, which Washington, always impatient of wrongdoing, styled "base
and pernicious conduct," and punished accordingly. By and by the terms
of enlistment ran out and the regiments began to melt away even before
the proper date. Recruiting was carried on slowly and with difficulty,
new levies were tardy in coming in, and Congress could not be
persuaded to stop limited enlistments. Still the task was done. The
old army departed and a new one arose in its place, the posts were
strengthened and ammunition secured.

Among these reinforcements came some Virginia riflemen, and it must
have warmed Washington's heart to see once more these brave and hardy
fighters in the familiar hunting shirt and leggins. They certainly
made him warm in a very different sense by getting into a
rough-and-tumble fight one winter's day with some Marblehead
fishermen. The quarrel was at its height, when suddenly into the brawl
rode the commander-in-chief. He quickly dismounted, seized two of the
combatants, shook them, berated them, if tradition may be trusted,
for their local jealousies, and so with strong arm quelled the
disturbance. He must have longed to take more than one colonial
governor or magnate by the throat and shake him soundly, as he did his
soldiers from the woods of Virginia and the rocks of Marblehead, for
to his temper there was nothing so satisfying as rapid and decisive
action. But he could not quell governors and assemblies in this way,
and yet he managed them and got what he wanted with a patience and
tact which it must have been in the last degree trying to him to
practice, gifted as he was with a nature at once masterful and

Another trial was brought about by his securing and sending out
privateers which did good service. They brought in many valuable
prizes which caused infinite trouble, and forced Washington not only
to be a naval secretary, but also made him a species of admiralty
judge. He implored the slow-moving Congress to relieve him from this
burden, and suggested a plan which led to the formation of special
committees and was the origin of the Federal judiciary of the United
States. Besides the local jealousies and the personal jealousies, and
the privateers and their prizes, he had to meet also the greed and
selfishness as well of the money-making, stock-jobbing spirit which
springs up rankly under the influence of army contracts and large
expenditures among a people accustomed to trade and unused to war.
Washington wrote savagely of these practices, but still, despite all
hindrances and annoyances, he kept moving straight on to his object.

In the midst of his labors, harassed and tried in all ways, he was
assailed as usual by complaint and criticism. Some of it came to him
through his friend and aide, Joseph Reed, to whom he wrote in reply
one of the noblest letters ever penned by a great man struggling with
adverse circumstances and wringing victory from grudging fortune. He
said that he was always ready to welcome criticism, hear advice, and
learn the opinion of the world. "For as I have but one capital object
in view, I could wish to make my conduct coincide with the wishes of
mankind, as far as I can consistently; I mean, without departing from
that great line of duty which, though hid under a cloud for some
time, from a peculiarity of circumstances, may, nevertheless, bear
a scrutiny." Thus he held fast to "the great line of duty," though
bitterly tried the while by the news from Canada, where brilliant
beginnings were coming to dismal endings, and cheered only by the
arrival of his wife, who drove up one day in her coach and four, with
the horses ridden by black postilions in scarlet and white liveries,
much to the amazement, no doubt, of the sober-minded New England folk.

Light, however, finally began to break on the work about him. Henry
Knox, sent out for that purpose, returned safely with the guns
captured at Ticonderoga, and thus heavy ordnance and gunpowder were
obtained. By the middle of February the harbor was frozen over, and
Washington arranged to cross the ice and carry Boston by storm.
Again he was held back by his council, but this time he could not be
stopped. If he could not cross the ice he would go by land. He had
been slowly but surely advancing his works all winter, and now he
determined on a decisive stroke. On the evening of Monday, March
4, under cover of a heavy bombardment which distracted the enemy's
attention, he marched a large body of troops to Dorchester Heights
and began to throw up redoubts. The work went forward rapidly, and
Washington rode about all night encouraging the men. The New England
soldiers had sorely tried his temper, and there were many severe
attacks and bitter criticisms upon them in his letters, which were
suppressed or smoothed over for the most part by Mr. Sparks, but
which have come to light since, as is sometimes the case with facts.
Gradually, however, the General had come to know his soldiers better,
and six months later he wrote to Lund Washington, praising his
northern troops in the highest terms. Even now he understood them as
never before, and as he watched them on that raw March night, working
with the energy and quick intelligence of their race, he probably felt
that the defects were superficial, but the virtues, the tenacity, and
the courage were lasting and strong.

When day dawned, and the British caught sight of the formidable works
which had sprung up in the night, there was a great excitement and
running hither and thither in the town. Still the men on the heights
worked on, and still Washington rode back and forth among them. He was
stirred and greatly rejoiced at the coming of the fight, which he now
believed inevitable, and as always, when he was deeply moved, the
hidden springs of sentiment and passion were opened, and he reminded
his soldiers that it was the anniversary of the Boston massacre, and
appealed to them by the memories of that day to prepare for battle
with the enemy. As with the Huguenots at Ivry,--

  "Remember St. Bartholomew was passed from man to man."

But the fighting never came. The British troops were made ready, then
a gale arose and they could not cross the bay. The next day it
rained in torrents, and the next day it was too late. The American
intrenchments frowned threateningly above the town, and began to send
in certain ominous messengers in the shape of shot and shell. The
place was now so clearly untenable that Howe determined to evacuate
it. An informal request to allow the troops to depart unmolested was
not answered, but Washington suspended his fire and the British made
ready to withdraw. Still they hesitated and delayed, until Washington
again advanced his works, and on this hint they started in earnest, on
March 17, amid confusion, pillage, and disorder, leaving cannon and
much else behind them, and seeking refuge in their ships.

All was over, and the town was in the hands of the Americans. In
Washington's own words, "To maintain a post within musket-shot of the
enemy for six months together, without powder, and at the same time
to disband one army and recruit another within that distance of
twenty-odd British regiments, is more, probably, than ever was
attempted." It was, in truth, a gallant feat of arms, carried through
by the resolute will and strong brain of one man. The troops on
both sides were brave, but the British had advantages far more than
compensating for a disparity of numbers, always slight and often
more imaginary than real. They had twelve thousand men, experienced,
disciplined, equipped, and thoroughly supplied. They had the best arms
and cannon and gunpowder. They commanded the sea with a strong fleet,
and they were concentrated on the inside line, able to strike with
suddenness and overwhelming force at any point of widely extended
posts. Washington caught them with an iron grip and tightened it
steadily until, in disorderly haste, they took to their boats without
even striking a blow. Washington's great abilities, and the incapacity
of the generals opposed to him, were the causes of this result. If
Robert Clive, for instance, had chanced to have been there the end
might possibly have been the same, but there would have been some
bloody fighting before that end was reached. The explanation of the
feeble abandonment of Boston lies in the stupidity of the English
government, which had sown the wind and then proceeded to handle the
customary crop with equal fatuity.

There were plenty of great men in England, but they were not
conducting her government or her armies. Lord Sandwich had declared
in the House of Lords that all "Yankees were cowards," a simple and
satisfactory statement, readily accepted by the governing classes, and
flung in the teeth of the British soldiers as they fell back twice
from the bloody slopes of Bunker Hill. Acting on this pleasant idea,
England sent out as commanders of her American army a parcel of
ministerial and court favorites, thoroughly second-rate men, to whom
was confided the task of beating one of the best soldiers and hardest
fighters of the century. Despite the enormous material odds in favor
of Great Britain, the natural result of matching the Howes and Gages
and Clintons against George Washington ensued, and the first lesson
was taught by the evacuation of Boston.

Washington did not linger over his victory. Even while the British
fleet still hung about the harbor he began to send troops to New York
to make ready for the next attack. He entered Boston in order to see
that every precaution was taken against the spread of the smallpox,
and then prepared to depart himself. Two ideas, during his first
winter of conflict, had taken possession of his mind, and undoubtedly
influenced profoundly his future course. One was the conviction that
the struggle must be fought out to the bitter end, and must bring
either subjugation or complete independence. He wrote in February:
"With respect to myself, I have never entertained an idea of an
accommodation, since I heard of the measures which were adopted in
consequence of the Bunker's Hill fight;" and at an earlier date he
said: "I hope my countrymen (of Virginia) will rise superior to any
losses the whole navy of Great Britain can bring on them, and that the
destruction of Norfolk and threatened devastation of other places
will have no other effect than to unite the whole country in one
indissoluble band against a nation which seems to be lost to every
sense of virtue and those feelings which distinguish a civilized
people from the most barbarous savages." With such thoughts he
sought to make Congress appreciate the probable long duration of the
struggle, and he bent every energy to giving permanency to his army,
and decisiveness to each campaign. The other idea which had grown in
his mind during the weary siege was that the Tories were thoroughly
dangerous and deserved scant mercy. In his second letter to Gage he
refers to them, with the frankness which characterized him when he
felt strongly, as "execrable parricides," and he made ready to
treat them with the utmost severity at New York and elsewhere. When
Washington was aroused there was a stern and relentless side to his
character, in keeping with the force and strength which were his chief
qualities. His attitude on this point seems harsh now when the
old Tories no longer look very dreadful and we can appreciate the
sincerity of conviction which no doubt controlled most of them. But
they were dangerous then, and Washington, with his honest hatred of
all that seemed to him to partake of meanness or treason, proposed to
put them down and render them harmless, being well convinced, after
his clear-sighted fashion, that war was not peace, and that mildness
to domestic foes was sadly misplaced.

His errand to New England was now done and well done. His victory was
won, everything was settled at Boston; and so, having sent his army
forward, he started for New York, to meet the harder trials that still
awaited him.



After leaving Boston, Washington proceeded through Rhode Island and
Connecticut, pushing troops forward as he advanced, and reached New
York on April 13. There he found himself plunged at once into the same
sea of difficulties with which he had been struggling at Boston, the
only difference being that these were fresh and entirely untouched.
The army was inadequate, and the town, which was the central point
of the colonies, as well as the great river at its side, was wholly
unprotected. The troops were in large measure raw and undrilled, the
committee of safety was hesitating, the Tories were virulent and
active, corresponding constantly with Tryon, who was lurking in a
British man-of-war, while from the north came tidings of retreat
and disaster. All these harassing difficulties crowded upon the
commander-in-chief as soon as he arrived. To appreciate him it is
necessary to understand these conditions and realize their weight and
consequence, albeit the details seem petty. When we comprehend the
difficulties, then we can see plainly the greatness of the man who
quietly and silently took them up and disposed of them. Some he
scotched and some he killed, but he dealt with them all after a
fashion sufficient to enable him to move steadily forward. In his
presence the provincial committee suddenly stiffened and grew strong.
All correspondence with Tryon was cut off, the Tories were repressed,
and on Long Island steps were taken to root out "these abominable
pests of society," as the commander-in-chief called them in his
plain-spoken way. Then forts were built, soldiers energetically
recruited and drilled, arrangements made for prisoners, and despite
all the present cares anxious thought was given to the Canada
campaign, and ideas and expeditions, orders, suggestions, and
encouragement were freely furnished to the dispirited generals and
broken forces of the north.

One matter, however, overshadowed all others. Nearly a year before,
Washington had seen that there was no prospect or possibility of
accommodation with Great Britain. It was plain to his mind that the
struggle was final in its character and would be decisive. Separation
from the mother country, therefore, ought to come at once, so that
public opinion might be concentrated, and above all, permanency ought
to be given to the army. These ideas he had been striving to impress
upon Congress, for the most part less clearsighted than he was as to
facts, and as the months slipped by his letters had grown constantly
more earnest and more vehement. Still Congress hesitated, and at last
Washington went himself to Philadelphia and held conferences with
the principal men. What he said is lost, but the tone of Congress
certainly rose after his visit. The aggressive leaders found their
hands so much strengthened that little more than a month later they
carried through a declaration of independence, which was solemnly and
gratefully proclaimed to the army by the general, much relieved to
have got through the necessary boat-burning, and to have brought
affairs, military and political, on to the hard ground of actual fact.

Soon after his return from Philadelphia, he received convincing
proof that his views in regard to the Tories were extremely sound.
A conspiracy devised by Tryon, which aimed apparently at the
assassination of the commander-in-chief, and which had corrupted his
life-guards for that purpose, was discovered and scattered before it
had fairly hardened into definite form. The mayor of the city and
various other persons were seized and thrown into prison, and one of
the life-guards, Thomas Hickey by name, who was the principal tool in
the plot, was hanged in the presence of a large concourse of people.
Washington wrote a brief and business-like account of the affair to
Congress, from which one would hardly suppose that his own life had
been aimed at. It is a curious instance of his cool indifference to
personal danger. The conspiracy had failed, that was sufficient for
him, and he had other things besides himself to consider. "We expect
a bloody summer in New York and Canada," he wrote to his brother, and
even while the Canadian expedition was coming to a disastrous close,
and was bringing hostile invasion instead of the hoped-for conquest,
British men-of-war were arriving daily in the harbor, and a large army
was collecting on Staten Island. The rejoicings over the Declaration
of Independence had hardly died away, when the vessels of the enemy
made their way up the Hudson without check from the embryo forts, or
the obstacles placed in the stream.

July 12 Lord Howe arrived with more troops, and also with ample
powers to pardon and negotiate. Almost immediately he tried to open
a correspondence with Washington, but Colonel Reed, in behalf of the
General, refused to receive the letter addressed to "Mr. Washington."
Then Lord Howe sent an officer to the American camp with a second
letter, addressed to "George Washington, Esq., etc., etc." The bearer
was courteously received, but the letter was declined. "The etc., etc.
implies everything," said the Englishman. It may also mean "anything,"
Washington replied, and added that touching the pardoning power of
Lord Howe there could be no pardon where there was no guilt, and where
no forgiveness was asked. As a result of these interviews, Lord Howe
wrote to England that it would be well to give Mr. Washington his
proper title. A small question, apparently, this of the form of
address, especially to a lover of facts, and yet it was in reality
of genuine importance. To the world Washington represented the young
republic, and he was determined to extort from England the first
acknowledgment of independence by compelling her to recognize the
Americans as belligerents and not rebels. Washington cared as little
for vain shows as any man who ever lived, but he had the highest sense
of personal dignity, and of the dignity of his cause and country.
Neither should be allowed to suffer in his hands. He appreciated the
effect on mankind of forms and titles, and with unerring judgment
he insisted on what he knew to be of real value. It is one of the
earliest examples of the dignity and good taste which were of such
inestimable value to his country.

He had abundant occasion also for the employment of these same
qualities, coupled with unwearied patience and tact, in dealing with
his own men. The present army was drawn from a wider range than that
which had taken Boston, and sectional jealousies and disputes, growing
every day more hateful to the commander-in-chief, sprang up rankly.
The men of Maryland thought those of Connecticut ploughboys; the
latter held the former to be fops and dandies. These and a hundred
other disputes buzzed and whirled about Washington, stirring his
strong temper, and exercising his sternest self-control in the
untiring effort to suppress them and put them to death. "It
requires," John Adams truly said, "more serenity of temper, a deeper
understanding, and more courage than fell to the lot of Marlborough,
to ride in this whirlwind." Fortunately these qualities were all
there, and with them an honesty of purpose and an unbending directness
of character to which Anne's great general was a stranger.

Meantime, while the internal difficulties were slowly diminished, the
forces of the enemy rapidly increased. First it became evident that
attacks were not feasible. Then the question changed to a mere choice
of defenses. Even as to this there was great and harassing doubt, for
the enemy, having command of the water, could concentrate and attack
at any point they pleased. Moreover, the British had thirty thousand
of the best disciplined and best equipped troops that Europe could
furnish, while Washington had some twenty thousand men, one fourth of
whom were unfit for duty, and with the remaining three fourths, raw
recruits for the most part, he was obliged to defend an extended line
of posts, without cavalry, and with no means for rapid concentration.
Had he been governed solely by military considerations he would have
removed the inhabitants, burned New York, and drawing his forces
together would have taken up a secure post of observation. To have
destroyed the town, however, not only would have frightened the timid
and the doubters, and driven them over to the Tories, but would have
dispirited the patriots not yet alive to the exigencies of war, and
deeply injured the American cause. That Washington well understood the
need of such action is clear, both from the current rumors that the
town was to be burned, and from his expressed desire to remove the
women and children from New York. But political considerations
overruled the military necessity, and he spared the town. It was bad
enough to be thus hampered, but he was even more fettered in other
ways, for he could not even concentrate his forces and withdraw to the
Highlands without a battle, as he was obliged to fight in order to
sustain public feeling, and thus he was driven on to almost sure
defeat. With Brooklyn Heights in the hands of the enemy New York was
untenable, and yet it was obvious that to hold Brooklyn when the enemy
controlled the sea was inviting defeat. Yet Washington under the
existing conditions had no choice except to fight on Long Island and
to say that he hoped to make a good defense.

Everything, too, as the day of battle drew near, seemed to make
against him. On August 22 the enemy began to land on Long Island,
where Greene had drawn a strong line of redoubts behind the village of
Brooklyn, to defend the heights which commanded New York, and had made
every arrangement to protect the three roads through the wooded hills,
about a mile from the intrenchments. Most unfortunately, and just at
the critical moment, Greene was taken down with a raging fever, so
that when Washington came over on the 24th he found much confusion in
the camps, which he repressed as best he could, and then prepared for
the attack. Greene's illness, however, had caused some oversights
which were unknown to the commander-in-chief, and which, as it turned
out, proved fatal.

After indecisive skirmishing for two or three days, the British
started early on the morning of the 26th. They had nine thousand men
and were well informed as to the country. Advancing through woodpaths
and lanes, they came round to the left flank of the Americans. One
of the roads through the hills was unguarded, the others feebly
protected. The result is soon told. The Americans, out-generaled and
out-flanked, were taken by surprise and surrounded, Sullivan and
his division were cut off, and then Lord Stirling. There was some
desperate fighting, and the Americans showed plenty of courage, but
only a few forced their way out. Most of them were killed or taken
prisoners, the total loss out of some five thousand men reaching as
high as two thousand.

From the redoubts, whither he had come at the sound of the firing,
Washington watched the slaughter and disaster in grim silence. He saw
the British troops, flushed with victory, press on to the very edge
of his works and then withdraw in obedience to command. The British
generals had their prey so surely, as they believed, that they
mercifully decided not to waste life unnecessarily by storming the
works in the first glow of success. So they waited during that
night and the two following days, while Washington strengthened his
intrenchments, brought over reinforcements, and prepared for the
worst. On the 29th it became apparent that there was a movement in the
fleet, and that arrangements were being made to take the Americans in
the rear and wholly cut them off. It was an obvious and sensible plan,
but the British overlooked the fact that while they were lingering,
summing up their victory, and counting the future as assured, there
was a silent watchful man on the other side of the redoubts who for
forty-eight hours never left the lines, and who with a great capacity
for stubborn fighting could move, when the stress came, with the
celerity and stealth of a panther.

Washington swiftly determined to retreat. It was a desperate
undertaking, and a lesser man would have hesitated and been lost. He
had to transport nine thousand men across a strait of strong tides and
currents, and three quarters of a mile in width. It was necessary to
collect the boats from a distance, and do it all within sight and
hearing of the enemy. The boats were obtained, a thick mist settled
down on sea and land, the water was calm, and as the night wore away,
the entire army with all its arms and baggage was carried over,
Washington leaving in the last boat. At daybreak the British awoke,
but it was too late. They had fought a successful battle, they had had
the American army in their grasp, and now all was over. The victory
had melted away, and, as a grand result, they had a few hundred
prisoners, a stray boat with three camp-followers, and the deserted
works in which they stood. To grasp so surely the happy chance of wind
and weather and make such a retreat as this was a feat of arms as
great as most victories, and in it we see, perhaps as plainly as
anywhere, the nerve and quickness of the man who conducted it. It is
true, it was the only chance of salvation, but the great man is he who
is entirely master of his opportunity, even if he have but one.

The outlook, nevertheless, was, as Washington wrote, "truly
distressing." The troops were dispirited, and the militia began to
disappear, as they always did after a defeat. Congress would not
permit the destruction of the city, different interests pulled in
different directions, conflicting opinions distracted the councils
of war, and, with utter inability to predict the enemy's movements,
everything led to halfway measures and to intense anxiety, while Lord
Howe tried to negotiate with Congress, and the Americans waited for
events. Washington, looking beyond the confusion of the moment, saw
that he had gained much by delay, and had his own plan well defined.
He wrote: "We have not only delayed the operations of the campaign
till it is too late to effect any capital incursion into the country,
but have drawn the enemy's forces to one point.... It would be
presumption to draw out our young troops into open ground against
their superiors both in number and discipline, and I have never spared
the spade and pickaxe." Every one else, however, saw only past defeat
and present peril.

The British ships gradually made their way up the river, until it
became apparent that they intended to surround and cut off the
American army. Washington made preparations to withdraw, but
uncertainty of information came near rendering his precautions futile.
September 15 the men-of-war opened fire, and troops were landed near
Kip's Bay. The militia in the breastworks at that point had been
at Brooklyn and gave way at once, communicating their panic to two
Connecticut regiments. Washington, galloping down to the scene of
battle, came upon the disordered and flying troops. He dashed in among
them, conjuring them to stop, but even while he was trying to rally
them they broke again on the appearance of some sixty or seventy of
the enemy, and ran in all directions. In a tempest of anger Washington
drew his pistols, struck the fugitives with his sword, and was only
forced from the field by one of his officers seizing the bridle of his
horse and dragging him away from the British, now within a hundred
yards of the spot.

Through all his trials and anxieties Washington always showed the
broadest and most generous sympathy. When the militia had begun to
leave him a few days before, although he despised their action and
protested bitterly to Congress against their employment, yet in his
letters he displayed a keen appreciation of their feelings, and saw
plainly every palliation and excuse. But there was one thing which
he could never appreciate nor realize. It was from first to last
impossible for him to understand how any man could refuse to fight, or
could think of running away. When he beheld rout and cowardly panic
before his very eyes, his temper broke loose and ran uncontrolled. His
one thought then was to fight to the last, and he would have thrown
himself single-handed on the enemy, with all his wisdom and prudence
flung to the winds. The day when the commander held his place merely
by virtue of personal prowess lay far back in the centuries, and no
one knew it better than Washington. But the old fighting spirit awoke
within him when the clash of arms sounded in his ears, and though we
may know the general in the tent and in the council, we can only know
the man when he breaks out from all rules and customs, and shows the
rage of battle, and the indomitable eagerness for the fray, which lie
at the bottom of the tenacity and courage that carried the war for
independence to a triumphant close.

The rout and panic over, Washington quickly turned to deal with the
pressing danger. With coolness and quickness he issued his orders, and
succeeded in getting his army off, Putnam's division escaping most
narrowly. He then took post at King's Bridge, and began to strengthen
and fortify his lines. While thus engaged, the enemy advanced, and
on the 16th Washington suddenly took the offensive and attacked the
British light troops. The result was a sharp skirmish, in which the
British were driven back with serious loss, and great bravery was
shown by the Connecticut and Virginia troops, the two commanding
officers being killed. This affair, which was the first gleam of
success, encouraged the troops, and was turned to the best account by
the general. Still a successful skirmish did not touch the essential
difficulties of the situation, which then as always came from
within, rather than without. To face and check twenty-five thousand
well-equipped and highly disciplined soldiers Washington had now some
twelve thousand men, lacking in everything which goes to make an army,
except mere individual courage and a high average of intelligence.
Even this meagre force was an inconstant and diminishing quantity,
shifting, uncertain, and always threatening dissolution.

The task of facing and fighting the enemy was enough for the ablest
of men; but Washington was obliged also to combat and overcome the
inertness and dullness born of ignorance, and to teach Congress how to
govern a nation at war. In the hours "allotted to sleep," he sat in
his headquarters, writing a letter, with "blots and scratches," which
told Congress with the utmost precision and vigor just what was
needed. It was but one of a long series of similar letters, written
with unconquerable patience and with unwearied iteration, lighted here
and there by flashes of deep and angry feeling, which would finally
strike home under the pressure of defeat, and bring the patriots of
the legislature to sudden action, always incomplete, but still action
of some sort. It must have been inexpressibly dreary work, but quite
as much was due to those letters as to the battles. Thinking for other
people, and teaching them what to do, is at best an ungrateful duty,
but when it is done while an enemy is at your throat, it shows a grim
tenacity of purpose which is well worth consideration.

In this instance the letter of September 24, read in the light of the
battles of Long Island and Kip's Bay, had a considerable effect. The
first steps were taken to make the army national and permanent, to
raise the pay of officers, and to lengthen enlistments. Like most of
the war measures of Congress, they were too late for the immediate
necessity, but they helped the future. Congress, moreover, then felt
that all had been done that could be demanded, and relapsed once more
into confidence. "The British force," said John Adams, chairman of the
board of war, "is so divided, they will do no great matter this
fall." But Washington, facing hard facts, wrote to Congress with his
unsparing truth on October 4: "Give me leave to say, sir, (I say it
with due deference and respect, and my knowledge of the facts, added
to the importance of the cause and the stake I hold in it, must
justify the freedom,) that your affairs are in a more unpromising way
than you seem to apprehend. Your army, as I mentioned in my last, is
on the eve of its political dissolution. True it is, you have voted
a larger one in lieu of it; but the season is late; and there is a
material difference between voting battalions and raising men."

The campaign as seen from the board of war and from the Plains of
Harlem differed widely. It is needless to say now which was correct;
every one knows that the General was right and Congress wrong, but
being in the right did not help Washington, nor did he take petty
pleasure in being able to say, "I told you how it would be." The
hard facts remained unchanged. There was the wholly patriotic but
slumberous, and for fighting purposes quite inefficient Congress still
to be waked up and kept awake, and to be instructed. With painful
and plain-spoken repetition this work was grappled with and done
methodically, and like all else as effectively as was possible.

Meanwhile the days slipped along, and Washington waited on the Harlem
Plains, planning descents on Long Island, and determining to make a
desperate stand where he was, unless the situation decidedly changed.
Then the situation did change, as neither he nor any one else
apparently had anticipated. The British warships came up the Hudson
past the forts, brushing aside our boasted obstructions, destroying
our little fleet, and getting command of the river. Then General Howe
landed at Frog's Point, where he was checked for the moment by the
good disposition of Heath, under Washington's direction. These two
events made it evident that the situation of the American army was
full of peril, and that retreat was again necessary. Such certainly
was the conclusion of the council of war, on the 16th, acting this
time in agreement with their chief. Six days Howe lingered on Frog's
Point, bringing up stores or artillery or something; it matters little
now why he tarried. Suffice it that he waited, and gave six days to
his opponent. They were of little value to Howe, but they were
of inestimable worth to Washington, who employed them in getting
everything in readiness, in holding his council of war, and then on
the 17th in moving deliberately off to very strong ground at White
Plains. On his way he fought two or three slight, sharp, and
successful skirmishes with the British. Sir William followed closely,
but with much caution, having now a dull glimmer in his mind that at
the head of the raw troops in front of him was a man with whom it was
not safe to be entirely careless.

On the 28th, Howe came up to Washington's position, and found the
Americans quite equal in numbers, strongly intrenched, and awaiting
his attack with confidence. He hesitated, doubted, and finally feeling
that he must do something, sent four thousand men to storm Chatterton
Hill, an outlying post, where some fourteen hundred Americans were
stationed. There was a short, sharp action, and then the Americans
retreated in good order to the main army, having lost less than half
as many men as their opponents. With caution now much enlarged, Howe
sent for reinforcements, and waited two days. The third day it rained,
and on the fourth Howe found that Washington had withdrawn to a higher
and quite impregnable line of hills, where he held all the passes in
the rear and awaited a second attack. Howe contemplated the situation
for two or three days longer, and then broke camp and withdrew to
Dobbs Ferry to secure Fort Washington, which treachery offered him as
an easy and inviting prize. Such were the great results of the victory
of Long Island, two wasted months, and the American army still

Howe was resolved that his campaign should not be utterly fruitless,
and therefore directed his attention to the defenses of the Hudson,
and here he met with better success. Congress, in its military wisdom,
had insisted that these forts must and could be held. So thought the
generals, and so most especially, and most unluckily, did Greene.
Washington, with his usual accurate and keen perception, saw, from the
time the men-of-war came up the Hudson, and, now that the British
army was free, more clearly than ever, that both forts ought to be
abandoned. Sure of his ground, he overruled Congress, but was so far
influenced by Greene that he gave to that officer discretionary orders
as to withdrawal. This was an act of weakness, as he afterwards
admitted, for which he bitterly reproached himself, never confusing or
glossing over his own errors, but loyal there, as elsewhere, to facts.
An attempt was made to hold both forts, and both were lost, as he
had foreseen. From Fort Lee the garrison withdrew in safety. Fort
Washington, with its plans all in Howe's hands through the treachery
of William Demont, the adjutant of Colonel Magaw, was carried by
storm, after a severe struggle. Twenty-six hundred men and all the
munitions of war fell into the hands of the enemy. It was a serious
and most depressing loss, and was felt throughout the continent.

Meantime Washington had crossed info the Jerseys, and, after the loss
of Fort Lee, began to retreat before the British, who, flushed with
victory, now advanced rapidly under Lord Cornwallis. The crisis of his
fate and of the Revolution was upon him. His army was melting away.
The militia had almost all disappeared, and regiments whose term of
enlistment had expired were departing daily. Lee, who had a division
under his command, was ordered to come up, but paid no attention,
although the orders were repeated almost every day for a month. He
lingered, and loitered, and excused himself, and at last was taken
prisoner. This disposed of him for a time very satisfactorily, but
meanwhile he had succeeded in keeping his troops from Washington,
which was a most serious misfortune.

On December 2 Washington was at Princeton with three thousand ragged
men, and the British close upon his heels. They had him now surely
in their grip. There could be no mistake this time, and there was
therefore no need of a forced march. But they had not yet learned that
to Washington even hours meant much, and when, after duly resting,
they reached the Delaware, they found the Americans on the other side,
and all the boats destroyed for a distance of seventy miles.

It was winter now, the short gray days had come, and with them
piercing cold and storms of sleet and ice. It seemed as if the
elements alone would finally disperse the feeble body of men still
gathered about the commander-in-chief. Congress had sent him blank
commissions and orders to recruit, which were well meant, but were not
practically of much value. As Glendower could call spirits from the
vasty deep, so they, with like success, sought to call soldiers from
the earth in the midst of defeat, and in the teeth of a North American
winter. Washington, baffling pursuit and flying from town to town,
left nothing undone. North and south went letters and appeals for men,
money, and supplies. Vain, very vain, it all was, for the most part,
but still it was done in a tenacious spirit. Lee would not come, the
Jersey militia would not turn out, thousands began to accept Howe's
amnesty, and signs of wavering were apparent in some of the Middle
States. Philadelphia was threatened, Newport was in the hands of the
enemy, and for ninety miles Washington had retreated, evading ruin
again and again only by the width of a river. Congress voted not
to leave Philadelphia,--a fact which their General declined to
publish,--and then fled.

No one remained to face the grim realities of the time but Washington,
and he met them unmoved. Not a moment passed that he did not seek in
some way to effect something. Not an hour went by that he did not turn
calmly from fresh and ever renewed disappointment to work and action.

By the middle of December Howe felt satisfied that the American army
would soon dissolve, and leaving strong detachments in various posts
he withdrew to New York. His premises were sound, and his conclusions
logical, but he made his usual mistake of overlooking and
underestimating the American general. No sooner was it known that
he was on his way to New York than Washington, at the head of his
dissolving army, resolved to take the offensive and strike an outlying
post. In a letter of December 14, the day after Howe began to move, we
catch the first glimpse of Trenton. It was a bold spirit which, in the
dead of winter, with a broken army, no prospect of reinforcements, and
in the midst of a terror-stricken people, could thus resolve with
some four thousand men to attack an army thoroughly appointed, and
numbering in all its divisions twenty-five thousand soldiers.

It is well to pause a moment and look at that situation, and at the
overwhelming difficulties which hemmed it in, and then try to realize
what manner of man he was who rose superior to it, and conquered it.
Be it remembered, too, that he never deceived himself, and never for
one instant disguised the truth. Two years later he wrote that at this
supreme moment, in what were called "the dark days of America," he was
never despondent; and this was true enough, for despair was not in his
nature. But no delusions lent him courage. On the 18th he wrote to his
brother "that if every nerve was not strained to recruit this new army
the game was pretty nearly up;" and added, "You can form no idea of
the perplexity of my situation. No man, I believe, ever had a greater
choice of difficulties, and less means to extricate himself from them.
However, under a full persuasion of the justice of our cause, I cannot
entertain an idea that it will finally sink, though it may remain
for some time under a cloud." There is no complaint, no boasting, no
despair in this letter. We can detect a bitterness in the references
to Congress and to Lee, but the tone of the letter is as calm as a May
morning, and it concludes with sending love and good wishes to the
writer's sister and her family.

Thus in the dreary winter Washington was planning and devising and
sending hither and thither for men, and never ceased through it all
to write urgent and ever sharper letters and keep a wary eye upon the
future. He not only wrote strongly, but he pledged his own estate and
exceeded his powers in desperate efforts to raise money and men. On
the 20th he wrote to Congress: "It may be thought that I am going a
good deal out of the line of my duty to adopt these measures, or to
advise thus freely. A character to lose, an estate to forfeit, the
inestimable blessings of liberty at stake, and a life devoted, must be
my excuse." Even now across the century these words come with a grave
solemnity to our ears, and we can feel as he felt when he alone saw
that he stood on the brink of a great crisis. It is an awful thing to
know that the life of a nation is at stake, and this thought throbs in
his words, measured and quiet as usual, but deeply fraught with much
meaning to him and to the world.

By Christmas all was ready, and when the Christian world was rejoicing
and feasting, and the British officers in New York and in the New
Jersey towns were reveling and laughing, Washington prepared to
strike. His whole force, broken into various detachments, was less
than six thousand men. To each division was assigned, with provident
forethought, its exact part. Nothing was overlooked, nothing omitted;
and then every division commander failed, for good reason or bad, to
do his duty. Gates was to march from Bristol with two thousand
men, Ewing was to cross at Trenton, Putnam was to come up from
Philadelphia, Griffin was to make a diversion against Donop. When
the moment came, Gates, disapproving the scheme, was on his way
to Congress, and Wilkinson, with his message, found his way to
headquarters by following the bloody tracks of the barefooted
soldiers. Griffin abandoned New Jersey and fled before Donop. Putnam
would not even attempt to leave Philadelphia, and Ewing made no effort
to cross at Trenton. Cadwalader, indeed, came down from Bristol,
but after looking at the river and the floating ice, gave it up as

But there was one man who did not hesitate nor give up, nor halt on
account of floating ice. With twenty-four hundred hardy veterans,
Washington crossed the Delaware. The night was bitter cold and the
passage difficult. When they landed, and began their march of nine
miles to Trenton, a fierce storm of sleet drove in their faces.
Sullivan; marching by the river, sent word that the arms of his men
were wet. "Then tell your general," said Washington, "to use the
bayonet, for the town must be taken." In broad daylight they came to
the town. Washington, at the front and on the right of the line, swept
down the Pennington road, and as he drove in the pickets he heard the
shouts of Sullivan's men, as, with Stark leading the van, they charged
in from the river. A company of yägers and the light dragoons slipped
away, there was a little confused fighting in the streets, Colonel
Rahl fell, mortally wounded, his Hessians threw down their arms, and
all was over. The battle had been fought and won, and the Revolution
was saved.


Taking his thousand prisoners with him, Washington recrossed the
Delaware to his old position. Had all done their duty, as he had
planned, the British hold on New Jersey would have been shattered. As
it was, it was only loosened. Congress, aroused at last, had invested
Washington with almost dictatorial powers; but the time for action was
short. The army was again melting away, and only by urgent appeals
were some veterans retained, and enough new men gathered to make a
force of five thousand men. With this army Washington prepared to
finish what he had begun.

Trenton struck alarm and dismay into the British, and Cornwallis, with
seven thousand of the best troops, started from New York to redeem
what had been lost. Leaving three regiments at Princeton, he pushed
hotly after Washington, who fell back behind the Assunpink River,
skirmishing heavily and successfully. When Cornwallis reached the
river he found the American army drawn up on the other side awaiting
him. An attack on the bridge was repulsed, and the prospect looked
uninviting. Some officers urged an immediate assault; but night was
falling, and Cornwallis, sure of the game, decided to wait till
the morrow. He, too, forgot that he was facing an enemy who never
overlooked a mistake, and never waited an hour. With quick decision
Washington left his camp-fires burning on the river bank, and taking
roundabout roads, which he had already reconnoitred, marched on to
Princeton. By sunrise he was in the outskirts of the town. Mercer,
detached with some three hundred men, fell in with Mawhood's regiment,
and a sharp action ensued. Mercer was mortally wounded, and his men
gave way just as the main army came upon the field. The British
charged, and as the raw Pennsylvanian troops in the van wavered,
Washington rode to the front, and reining his horse within thirty
yards of the British, ordered his men to advance. The volleys of
musketry left him unscathed, the men stood firm, the other divisions
came rapidly into action, and the enemy gave way in all directions.
The two other British regiments were driven through the town and
routed. Had there been cavalry they would have been entirely cut off.
As it was, they were completely broken, and in this short but bloody
action they lost five hundred men in killed, wounded, and prisoners.
It was too late to strike the magazines at Brunswick, as Washington
had intended, and so he withdrew once more with his army to the high
lands to rest and recruit.

His work was done, however. The country, which had been supine, and
even hostile, rose now, and the British were attacked, surprised, and
cut off in all directions, until at last they were shut up in the
immediate vicinity of New York. The tide had been turned, and
Washington had won the precious breathing-time which was all he

Frederick the Great is reported to have said that this was the most
brilliant campaign of the century. It certainly showed all the
characteristics of the highest strategy and most consummate
generalship. With a force numerically insignificant as compared with
that opposed to him, Washington won two decisive victories, striking
the enemy suddenly with superior numbers at each point of attack.
The Trenton campaign has all the quality of some of the last battles
fought by Napoleon in France before his retirement to Elba. Moreover,
these battles show not only generalship of the first order, but great
statesmanship. They display that prescient knowledge which recognizes
the supreme moment when all must be risked to save the state. By
Trenton and Princeton Washington inflicted deadly blows upon the
enemy, but he did far more by reviving the patriotic spirit of the
country fainting under the bitter experience of defeat, and by sending
fresh life and hope and courage throughout the whole people.

It was the decisive moment of the war. Sooner or later the American
colonies were sure to part from the mother-country, either peaceably
or violently. But there was nothing inevitable in the Revolution of
1776, nor was its end at all certain. It was in the last extremities
when the British overran New Jersey, and if it had not been for
Washington that particular revolution would have most surely failed.
Its fate lay in the hands of the general and his army; and to the
strong brain growing ever keener and quicker as the pressure became
more intense, to the iron will gathering a more relentless force
as defeat thickened, to the high, unbending character, and to the
passionate and fighting temper of Washington, we owe the brilliant
campaign which in the darkest hour turned the tide and saved the cause
of the Revolution.



After the "two lucky strokes at Trenton and Princeton," as he himself
called them, Washington took up a strong position at Morristown and
waited. His plan was to hold the enemy in check, and to delay all
operations until spring. It is easy enough now to state his purpose,
and it looks very simple, but it was a grim task to carry it out
through the bleak winter days of 1777. The Jerseys farmers, spurred by
the sufferings inflicted upon them by the British troops, had turned
out at last in deference to Washington's appeals, after the victories
of Trenton and Princeton, had harassed and cut off outlying parties,
and had thus straitened the movements of the enemy. But the main army
of the colonies, on which all depended, was in a pitiable state. It
shifted its character almost from day to day. The curse of short
enlistments, so denounced by Washington, made itself felt now with
frightful effect. With the new year most of the continental troops
departed, while others to replace them came in very slowly, and
recruiting dragged most wearisomely. Washington was thus obliged, with
temporary reinforcements of raw militia, to keep up appearances; and
no commander ever struggled with a more trying task. At times it
looked as if the whole army would actually disappear, and more than
once Washington expected that the week's or the month's end would find
him with not more than five hundred men. At the beginning of March he
had about four thousand men, a few weeks later only three thousand raw
troops, ill-fed, ill-clad, ill-shod, ill-armed, and almost unpaid.
Over against him was Howe, with eleven thousand men in the field, and
still more in the city of New York, well disciplined and equipped,
well-armed, well-fed, and furnished with every needful supply. The
contrast is absolutely grotesque, and yet the force of one man's
genius and will was such that this excellent British army was hemmed
in and kept in harmless quiet by their ragged opponents.

Washington's plan, from the first, was to keep the field at all
hazards, and literally at all hazards did he do so. Right and left
his letters went, day after day, calling with pathetic but dignified
earnestness for men and supplies. In one of these epistles, to
Governor Cooke of Rhode Island, written in January, to remonstrate
against raising troops for the State only, he set forth his intentions
in a few words. "You must be sensible," he said, "that the season is
fast approaching when a new campaign will open; nay, the former is not
yet closed; nor do I intend it shall be, unless the enemy quits the
Jerseys." To keep fighting all the time, and never let the fire of
active resistance flicker or die out, was Washington's theory of the
way to maintain his own side and beat the enemy. If he could not fight
big battles, he would fight small ones; if he could not fight little
battles, he would raid and skirmish and surprise; but fighting of some
sort he would have, while the enemy attempted to spread over a State
and hold possession of it. We can see the obstacles now, but we can
only wonder how they were sufficiently overcome to allow anything to
be done.

Moreover, besides the purely physical difficulties in the lack of men,
money, and supplies, there were others of a political and personal
kind, which were even more wearing and trying, but which,
nevertheless, had to be dealt with also, in some fashion. In order to
sustain the courage of the people Washington was obliged to give out,
and to allow it to be supposed, that he had more men than was really
the case, and so Congress and various wise and well-meaning persons
grumbled because he did not do more and fight more battles. He never
deceived Congress, but they either could not or would not understand
the actual situation. In March he wrote to Robert Morris: "Nor is it
in my power to make Congress fully sensible of the real situation
of our affairs, and that it is with difficulty, if I may use the
expression, that I can by every means in my power keep the life and
soul of this army together. In a word, when they are at a distance,
they think it is but to say, _Presto, begone_, and everything is done.
They seem not to have any conception of the difficulty and perplexity
attending those who are to execute." It was so easy to see what they
would like to have done, and so simple to pass a resolve to that
effect, that Congress never could appreciate the reality of the
difficulty and the danger until the hand of the enemy was almost at
their throats. They were not even content with delay and neglect, but
interfered actively at times, as in the matter of the exchange of
prisoners, where they made unending trouble for Washington, and showed
themselves unable to learn or to keep their hands off after any amount
of instruction.

In January Washington issued a proclamation requiring those
inhabitants who had subscribed to Howe's declaration to come in within
thirty days and take the oath of allegiance to the United States. If
they failed to do so they were to be treated as enemies. The measure
was an eminently proper one, and the proclamation was couched in the
most moderate language. It was impossible to permit a large class
of persons to exist on the theory that they were peaceful American
citizens and also subjects of King George. The results of such conduct
were in every way perilous and intolerable, and Washington was
determined that he would divide the sheep from the goats, and know
whom he was defending and whom attacking. Yet for this wise and
necessary action he was called in question in Congress and accused of
violating civil rights and the resolves of Congress itself. Nothing
was actually done about it, but such an incident shows from a single
point the infinite tact and resolution required in waging war under a
government whose members were unable to comprehend what was meant, and
who could not see that until they had beaten England it was hardly
worth while to worry about civil rights, which in case of defeat would
speedily cease to exist altogether.

Another fertile source of trouble arose from questions of rank.
Members of Congress, in making promotions and appointments, were
more apt to consider local claims than military merit, and they also
allowed their own personal prejudices to affect their action in
this respect far too much. Thence arose endless heart-burnings
and jealousies, followed by resignations and the loss of valuable
officers. Congress, having made the appointments, would go cheerfully
about its business, while the swarm of grievances thus let loose would
come buzzing about the devoted head of the commander-in-chief. He
could not adjourn, but was compelled to quiet rivalries, allay
irritated feelings, and ride the storm as best he might. It was all
done, however, in one way or another: by personal appeals, and by
letters full of dignity, patriotism, and patience, which are very
impressive and full of meaning for students of character, even in this
day and generation.

Then again, not content with snarling up our native appointments,
Congress complicated matters still more dangerously by its treatment
of foreigners. The members of Congress were colonists, and the fact
that they had shaken off the yoke of the mother country did not in the
least alter their colonial and perfectly natural habit of regarding
with enormous respect Englishmen and Frenchmen, and indeed anybody who
had had the good fortune to be born in Europe. The result was that
they distributed commissions and gave inordinate rank to the many
volunteers who came over the ocean, actuated by various motives, but
all filled with a profound sense of their own merits. It is only fair
to Congress to say that the American agents abroad were even more to
blame in this respect. Silas Deane especially scattered promises of
commissions with a lavish hand, and Congress refused to fulfill many
of the promises thus made in its name. Nevertheless, Congress was far
too lax, and followed too closely the example of its agents. Some of
these foreigners were disinterested men and excellent soldiers, who
proved of great value to the American cause. Many others were mere
military adventurers, capable of being turned to good account,
perhaps, but by no means entitled to what they claimed and in most
instances received.

The ill-considered action of Congress and of our agents abroad in
this respect was a source of constantly recurring troubles of a very
serious nature. Native officers, who had borne the burden and heat of
the day, justly resented being superseded by some stranger, unable
to speak the language, who had landed in the States but a few days
before. As a result, resignations were threatened which, if carried
out, would affect the character of the army very deeply. Then again,
the foreigners themselves, inflated by the eagerness of our agents and
by their reception at the hands of Congress, would find on joining the
army that they could get no commands, chiefly because there were none
to give. They would then become dissatisfied with their rank and
employment, and bitter complaints and recriminations would ensue.
All these difficulties, of course, fell most heavily upon the
commander-in-chief, who was heartily disgusted with the whole
business. Washington believed from the beginning, and said over and
over again in various and ever stronger terms, that this was an
American war and must be fought by Americans. In no other way, and
by no other persons, did he consider that it could be carried to any
success worth having. He saw of course the importance of a French
alliance, and deeply desired it, for it was a leading element in the
solution of the political and military situation; but alliance with
a foreign power was one thing, and sporadic military volunteers were
another. Washington had no narrow prejudices against foreigners,
for he was a man of broad and liberal mind, and no one was more
universally beloved and respected by the foreign officers than he; but
he was intensely American in his feelings, and he would not admit for
an instant that the American war for independence could be righteously
fought or honestly won by others than Americans. He was well aware
that foreign volunteers had a value and use of which he largely and
gratefully availed himself; but he was exasperated and alarmed by the
indiscriminate and lavish way in which Congress and our agents abroad
gave rank and office to them. "Hungry adventurers," he called them in
one letter, when driven beyond endurance by the endless annoyances
thus forced upon him; and so he pushed their pretensions aside,
and managed, on the whole, to keep them in their proper place. The
operation was delicate, difficult, and unpleasant, for it seemed to
savor of ingratitude. But Washington was never shaken for an instant
in his policy, and while he checked the danger, he showed in many
instances, like Lafayette and Steuben, that he could appreciate and
use all that was really valuable in the foreign contingent.

The service rendered by Washington in this matter has never been
justly understood or appreciated. If he had not taken this position,
and held it with an absolute firmness which bordered on harshness, we
should have found ourselves in a short time with an army of American
soldiers officered by foreigners, many of them mere mercenaries,
"hungry adventurers," from France, Poland or Hungary, from Germany,
Ireland or England. The result of such a combination would have been
disorganization and defeat. That members of Congress and some of our
representatives in Europe did not see the danger, and that they were
impressed by the foreign officers who came among them, was perfectly
natural. Men are the creatures of the time in which they live, and
take their color from the conditions which surround them, as the
chameleon does from the grass or leaves in which it hides. The rulers
and lawmakers of 1776 could not cast off their provincial awe of
the natives of England and Europe as they cast off their political
allegiance to the British king. The only wonder is that there should
have been even one man so great in mind and character that he could
rise at a single bound from the level of a provincial planter to the
heights of a great national leader. He proved himself such in all
ways, but in none more surely than in his ability to consider all men
simply as men, and, with a judgment that nothing could confuse, to
ward off from his cause and country the dangers inherent in colonial
habits of thought and action, so menacing to a people struggling for
independence. We can see this strong, high spirit of nationality
running through Washington's whole career, but it never did better
service than when it stood between the American army and undue favor
to foreign volunteers.

Among other disagreeable and necessary truths, Washington had told
Congress that Philadelphia was in danger, that Howe probably meant to
occupy it, and that it would be nearly impossible to prevent his doing
so. This warning being given and unheeded, he continued to watch his
antagonist, doing so with increased vigilance, as signs of activity
began to appear in New York. Toward the end of May he broke up his
cantonments, having now about seven thousand men, and took a strong
position within ten miles of Brunswick. Here he waited, keeping
an anxious eye on the Hudson in case he should be mistaken in his
expectations, and should find that the enemy really intended to go
north to meet Burgoyne instead of south to capture Philadelphia.

Washington's doubts were soon to be resolved and his expectations
fulfilled. May 31, a fleet of a hundred sail left New York, and
couriers were at once sent southward to warn the States of the
possibility of a speedy invasion. About the same time transports
arrived with more German mercenaries, and Howe, thus reinforced,
entered the Jerseys. Washington determined to decline battle, and if
the enemy pushed on and crossed the Delaware, to hang heavily on their
rear, while the militia from the south were drawn up to Philadelphia.
He adopted this course because he felt confident that Howe would never
cross the Delaware and leave the main army of the Americans behind
him. His theory proved correct. The British advanced and retreated,
burned houses and villages and made feints, but all in vain.
Washington baffled them at every point, and finally Sir William
evacuated the Jerseys entirely and withdrew to New York and Staten
Island, where active preparations for some expedition were at once
begun. Again came anxious watching, with the old fear that Howe meant
to go northward and join the now advancing Burgoyne. The fear was
groundless. On July 23 the British fleet set sail from New York,
carrying between fifteen and eighteen thousand men. Not deceived by
the efforts to make him think that they aimed at Boston, but still
fearing that the sailing might be only a ruse and the Hudson the real
object after all, Washington moved cautiously to the Delaware, holding
himself ready to strike in either direction. On the 31st he heard that
the enemy were at the Capes. This seemed decisive; so he sent in
all directions for reinforcements, moved the main army rapidly to
Germantown, and prepared to defend Philadelphia. The next news was
that the fleet had put to sea again, and again messengers went north
to warn Putnam to prepare for the defense of the Hudson. Washington
himself was about to re-cross the Delaware, when tidings arrived that
the fleet had once more appeared at the Capes, and after a few more
days of doubt the ships came up the Chesapeake and anchored.

Washington thought the "route a strange one," but he knew now that he
was right in his belief that Howe aimed at Philadelphia. He therefore
gathered his forces and marched south to meet the enemy, passing
through the city in order to impress the disaffected and the timid
with the show of force. It was a motley array that followed him. There
was nothing uniform about the troops except their burnished arms and
the sprigs of evergreen in their hats. Nevertheless Lafayette, who had
just come among them, thought that they looked like good soldiers, and
the Tories woke up sharply to the fact that there was a large body of
men known as the American army, and that they had a certain obvious
fighting capacity visible in their appearance. Neither friends nor
enemies knew, however, as they stood on the Philadelphia sidewalks
and watched the troops go past, that the mere fact of that army's
existence was the greatest victory of skill and endurance which
the war could show, and that the question of success lay in its

Leaving Philadelphia, Washington pushed on to the junction of the
Brandywine and Christiana Creek, and posted his men along the heights.
August 25, Howe landed at the Head of Elk, and Washington threw out
light parties to drive in cattle, carry off supplies, and annoy the
enemy. This was done, on the whole, satisfactorily, and after some
successful skirmishing on the part of the Americans, the two armies
on the 5th of September found themselves within eight or ten miles of
each other. Washington now determined to risk a battle in the field,
despite his inferiority in every way. He accordingly issued a
stirring proclamation to the soldiers, and then fell back behind the
Brandywine, to a strong position, and prepared to contest the passage
of the river.

Early on September 11, the British advanced to Chad's Ford, where
Washington was posted with the main body, and after some skirmishing
began to cannonade at long range. Meantime Cornwallis, with the main
body, made a long détour of seventeen miles, and came upon the right
flank and rear of the Americans. Sullivan, who was on the right, had
failed to guard the fords above, and through lack of information was
practically surprised. Washington, on rumors that the enemy were
marching toward his right, with the instinct of a great soldier was
about to cross the river in his front and crush the enemy there, but
he also was misled and kept back by false reports. When the truth was
known, it was too late. The right wing had been beaten and flung back,
the enemy were nearly in the rear, and were now advancing in earnest
in front. All that man could do was done. Troops were pushed forward
and a gallant stand was made at various points; but the critical
moment had come and gone, and there was nothing for it but a hasty
retreat, which came near degenerating into a rout.

The causes of this complete defeat, for such it was, are easily seen.
Washington had planned his battle and chosen his position well. If he
had not been deceived by the first reports, he even then would have
fallen upon and overwhelmed the British centre before they could
have reached his right wing. But the Americans, to begin with, were
outnumbered. They had only eleven thousand effective men, while the
British brought fifteen of their eighteen thousand into action. Then
the Americans suffered, as they constantly did, from misinformation,
and from an absence of system in learning the enemy's movements.
Washington's attack was fatally checked in this way, and Sullivan
was surprised from the same causes, as well as from his own culpable
ignorance of the country beyond him, which was the reason of his
failure to guard the upper fords. The Americans lost, also, by the
unsteadiness of new troops when the unexpected happens, and when
the panic-bearing notion that they are surprised and likely to be
surrounded comes upon them with a sudden shock.

This defeat was complete and severe, and it was followed in a few days
by that of Wayne, who narrowly escaped utter ruin. Yet through all
this disaster we can see the advance which had been made since the
equally unfortunate and very similar battle on Long Island. Then, the
troops seemed to lose heart and courage, the army was held together
with difficulty, and could do nothing but retreat. Now, in the few
days which Howe, as usual, gave his opponent with such fatal effect to
himself, Washington rallied his army, and finding them in excellent
spirits marched down the Lancaster road to fight again. On the eve of
battle a heavy storm came on, which so injured the arms and munitions
that with bitter disappointment he was obliged to withdraw; but
nevertheless it is plain how much this forward movement meant. At the
moment, however, it looked badly enough, especially after the defeat
of Wayne, for Howe pressed forward, took possession of Philadelphia,
and encamped the main body of his army at Germantown.

Meantime Washington, who had not in the least given up his idea of
fighting again, recruited his army, and having a little more than
eight thousand men, determined to try another stroke at the British,
while they were weakened by detachments. On the night of October 3 he
started, and reached Germantown at daybreak on the 4th. At first the
Americans swept everything before them, and flung the British back
in rout and confusion. Then matters began to go wrong, as is always
likely to happen when, as in this case, widely separated and yet
accurately concerted action is essential to success. Some of the
British threw themselves into a stone house, and instead of leaving
them there under guard, the whole army stopped to besiege, and a
precious half hour was lost. Then Greene and Stephen were late in
coming up, having made a circuit, and although when they arrived all
seemed to go well, the Americans were seized with an inexplicable
panic, and fell back, as Wayne truly said, in the very moment of
victory. One of those unlucky accidents, utterly unavoidable, but
always dangerous to extensive combinations, had a principal effect on
the result. The morning was very misty, and the fog, soon thickened by
the smoke, caused confusion, random firing, and, worst of all, that
uncertainty of feeling and action which something or nothing converted
into a panic. Nevertheless, the Americans rallied quickly this time,
and a good retreat was made, under the lead of Greene, until safety
was reached. The action, while it lasted, had been very sharp, and the
losses on both sides were severe, the Americans suffering most.

Washington, as usual when matters went ill, exposed himself
recklessly, to the great alarm of his generals, but all in vain. He
was deeply disappointed, and expressed himself so at first, for he saw
that the men had unaccountably given way when they were on the edge
of victory. The underlying cause was of course, as at Long Island
and Brandywine, the unsteadiness of raw troops, and Washington felt
rightly, after the first sting had passed, that he had really achieved
a great deal. Congress applauded the attempt, and when the smoke of
the battle had cleared away, men generally perceived that its having
been fought at all was in reality the important fact. It made also
a profound impression upon the French cabinet. Eagerly watching the
course of events, they saw the significance of the fact that an army
raised within a year could fight a battle in the open field, endure
a severe defeat, and then take the offensive and make a bold and
well-planned attack, which narrowly missed being overwhelmingly
successful. To the observant and trained eyes of Europe, the defeat
at Germantown made it evident that there was fighting material among
these untrained colonists, capable of becoming formidable; and that
there was besides a powerful will and directing mind, capable on
its part of bringing this same material into the required shape and
condition. To dispassionate onlookers, England's grasp on her colonies
appeared to be slipping away very rapidly. Washington himself saw the
meaning of it all plainly enough, for it was but the development of
his theory of carrying on the war.

There is no indication, however, that England detected, in all that
had gone on since her army landed at the Head of Elk, anything more
than a couple of natural defeats for the rebels. General Howe was
sufficiently impressed to draw in his troops, and keep very closely
shut up in Philadelphia, but his country was not moved at all. The
fact that it had taken forty-seven days to get their army from the
Elk River to Philadelphia, and that in that time they had fought two
successful battles and yet had left the American army still active
and menacing, had no effect upon the British mind. The English were
thoroughly satisfied that the colonists were cowards and were sure to
be defeated, no matter what the actual facts might be. They regarded
Washington as an upstart militia colonel, and they utterly failed to
comprehend that they had to do with a great soldier, who was able to
organize and lead an army, overcome incredible difficulties, beat and
outgeneral them, bear defeat, and then fight again. They were unable
to realize that the mere fact that such a man could be produced and
such an army maintained meant the inevitable loss of colonies three
thousand miles away. Men there were in England, undoubtedly, like
Burke and Fox, who felt and understood the significance of these
things, but the mass of the people, as well as the aristocracy, the
king, and the cabinet, would have none of them. Rude contempt for
other people is a warming and satisfying feeling, no doubt, and the
English have had unquestionably great satisfaction from its free
indulgence. No one should grudge it to them, least of all Americans.
It is a comfort for which they have paid, so far as this country is
concerned, by the loss of their North American colonies, and by a few
other settlements with the United States at other and later times.

But although Washington and his army failed to impress England, events
had happened in the north, during this same summer, which were so
sharp-pointed that they not only impressed the English people keenly
and unpleasantly, but they actually penetrated the dull comprehension
of George III. and his cabinet. "Why," asked an English lady of an
American naval officer, in the year of grace 1887--"why is your ship
named the Saratoga?" "Because," was the reply, "at Saratoga an English
general and an English army of more than five thousand men surrendered
to an American army and laid down their arms." Although apparently
neglected now in the general scheme of British education, Saratoga
was a memorable event in the summer of 1777, and the part taken by
Washington in bringing about the great result has never, it would
seem, been properly set forth. There is no need to trace here the
history of that campaign, but it is necessary to show how much was
done by the commander-in-chief, five hundred miles away, to win the
final victory.

In the winter of 1776-77 reports came that a general and an army were
to be sent to Canada to invade the colonies from the north by way
of Lake Champlain. The news does not seem to have made a very deep
impression generally, nor to have been regarded as anything beyond
the ordinary course of military events. But there was one man,
fortunately, who in an instant perceived the full significance of this
movement. Washington saw that the English had at last found an idea,
or, at least, a general possessed of one. So long as the British
confined themselves to fighting one or two battles, and then, taking
possession of a single town, were content to sit down and pass their
winter in good quarters, leaving the colonists in undisturbed control
of all the rest of the country, there was nothing to be feared. The
result of such campaigning as this could not be doubtful for a moment
to any clear-sighted man. But when a plan was on foot, which, if
successful, meant the control of the lakes and the Hudson, and of a
line of communication from the north to the great colonial seaport,
the case was very different. Such a campaign as this would cause
the complete severance of New England, the chief source for men and
supplies, from the rest of the colonies. It promised the mastery, not
of a town, but of half a dozen States, and this to the American cause
probably would be ruin.

So strongly and clearly did Washington feel all this that his
counter-plan was at once ready, and before people had fairly grasped
the idea that there was to be a northern invasion, he was sending,
early in March, urgent letters to New England to rouse up the militia
and have them in readiness to march at a moment's notice. To Schuyler,
in command of the northern department, he began now to write
constantly, and to unfold the methods which must be pursued in order
to compass the defeat of the invaders. His object was to delay the
army of Burgoyne by every possible device, while steadily avoiding a
pitched battle. Then the militia and hardy farmers of New England and
New York were to be rallied, and were to fall upon the flank and
rear of the British, harass them constantly, cut off their outlying
parties, and finally hem them in and destroy them. If the army and
people of the North could only be left undisturbed, it is evident from
his letters that Washington felt no doubt as to the result in that

But the North included only half the conditions essential to success.
The grave danger feared by Washington was that Howe would understand
the situation, and seeing his opportunity, would throw everything else
aside, and marching northward with twenty thousand men, would make
himself master of the Hudson, effect a junction with Burgoyne at
Albany, and so cut the colonies in twain. From all he could learn,
and from his knowledge of his opponents' character, Washington felt
satisfied that Howe intended to capture Philadelphia, advancing,
probably, through the Jerseys. Yet, despite his well-reasoned judgment
on this point, it seemed so incredible that any soldier could fail to
see that decisive victory lay in the north, and in a junction with
Burgoyne, that Washington could not really and fully believe in such
fatuity until he knew that Howe was actually landing at the Head
of Elk. This is the reason for the anxiety displayed in the
correspondence of that summer, for the changing and shifting
movements, and for the obvious hesitation of opinion, so unusual with
Washington at any time. Be it remembered, moreover, that it was an
awful doubt which went to bed and got up and walked with him through
all those long nights and days. If Howe, the dull and lethargic,
should awake from his dream of conquering America by taking now and
again an isolated town, and should break for the north with twenty
thousand men, the fortunes of the young republic would come to their
severest test.

In that event, Washington knew well enough what he meant to do. He
would march his main army to the Hudson, unite with the strong body
of troops which he kept there constantly, contest every inch of the
country and the river with Howe, and keep him at all hazards from
getting to Albany. But he also knew well that if this were done the
odds would be fearfully against him, for Howe would then not only
outnumber him very greatly, but there would be ample time for the
British to act, and but a short distance to be covered. We can
imagine, therefore, his profound sense of relief when he found that
Howe and his army were really south of Philadelphia, after a waste of
many precious weeks. He could now devote himself single-hearted to the
defense of the city, for distance and time were at last on his side,
and all that remained was to fight Howe so hard and steadily that
neither in victory nor defeat would he remember Burgoyne. Pitt said
that he would conquer Canada on the plains of Germany, and Burgoyne
was compelled to surrender in large measure by the campaign of
Washington in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

If we study carefully Washington's correspondence during that eventful
summer, grouping together that relating to the northern campaign, and
comparing it with that which dealt with the affairs of his own army,
all that has just been said comes out with entire clearness, and it is
astonishing to see how exactly events justified his foresight. If
he could only hold Howe in the south, he was quite willing to trust
Burgoyne to the rising of the people and to the northern wilderness.
Every effort he made was in this direction, beginning, as has been
said, by his appeals to the New England governors in March. Schuyler,
on his part, was thoroughly imbued with Washington's other leading
idea, that the one way to victory was by retarding the enemy. At the
outset everything went utterly and disastrously wrong. Washington
counted on an obstinate struggle, and a long delay at Ticonderoga, for
he had not been on the ground, and could not imagine that our officers
would fortify everything but the one commanding point.

The loss of the forts appalled the country and disappointed
Washington, but did not shake his nerve for an instant. He wrote to
Schuyler: "This stroke is severe indeed, and has distressed us much.
But notwithstanding things at present have a dark and gloomy aspect,
I hope a spirited opposition will check the progress of General
Burgoyne's army, and that the confidence derived from his success will
hurry him into measures that will, in their consequences, be favorable
to us. We should never despair; our situation has before been
unpromising, and has changed for the better; so I trust it will again.
If new difficulties arise we must only put forth new exertions, and
proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times." Even after this
seemingly crushing defeat he still felt sure of Burgoyne, so long as
he was unsupported. Suiting the action to the word, he again bent
every nerve to rouse New England and get out her militia. When he was
satisfied that Howe was landing below Philadelphia, the first thing he
did was to send forth the same cry in the same quarter, to bring out
more men against Burgoyne. He showed, too, the utmost generosity
toward the northern army, sending thither all the troops he could
possibly spare, and even parting with his favorite corps of Morgan's
riflemen. Despite his liberality, the commanders in the north
were unreasonable in their demands, and when they asked too much,
Washington flatly declined to send more men, for he would not weaken
himself unduly, and he knew what they did not see, that the fate of
the northern invasion turned largely on his own ability to cope with

The blame for the loss of the forts fell of course upon Schuyler,
who was none too popular in Congress, and who with St. Clair was
accordingly made a scape-goat. Congress voted that Washington should
appoint a new commander, and the New England delegates visited him to
urge the selection of Gates. This task Washington refused to perform,
alleging as a reason that the northern department had always been
considered a separate command, and that he had never done more than
advise. These reasons do not look very weighty or very strong, and it
is not quite clear what the underlying motive was. Washington never
shrank from responsibility, and he knew very well that he could pick
out the best man more unerringly than Congress. But he also saw
that Congress favored Gates, whom he would not have chosen, and he
therefore probably felt that it was more important to have some one
whom New England believed in and approved than a better soldier who
would have been unwelcome to her representatives. It is certain that
he would not have acted thus, had he thought that generalship was an
important element in the problem; but he relied on a popular uprising,
and not on the commander, to defeat Burgoyne. He may have thought,
too, that it was a mistake to relieve Schuyler, who was working in the
directions which he had pointed out, and who, if not a great soldier,
was a brave, high-minded, and sensible man, devoted to his chief and
to the country. It was Schuyler indeed who, by his persistent labor in
breaking down bridges, tearing up roads, and felling trees, while he
gathered men industriously in all directions, did more than any one
else at that moment to prepare the way for an ultimate victory.

Whatever his feelings may have been in regard to the command of the
northern department, Washington made no change in his own course after
Gates had been appointed. He knew that Gates was at least harmless,
and not likely to block the natural course of events. He therefore
felt free to press his own policy without cessation, and without
apprehension. He took care that Lincoln and Arnold should be there to
look after the New England militia, and he wrote to Governor Clinton,
in whose energy and courage he had great confidence, to rouse up the
men of New York. He suggested the points of attack, and at every
moment advised and counseled and watched, holding all the while a firm
grip on Howe. Slowly and surely the net, thus painfully set, tightened
round Burgoyne. The New Englanders whipped one division at Bennington,
and the New Yorkers shattered another at Oriskany and Fort Schuyler.
The country people turned out in defense of their invaded homes and
poured into the American camp. Burgoyne struggled and advanced,
fought and retreated. Gates, stupid, lethargic, and good-natured, did
nothing, but there was no need of generalship; and Arnold was there,
turbulent and quarrelsome, but full of daring; and Morgan, too,
equally ready; and they and others did all the necessary fighting.

Poor Burgoyne, a brave gentleman, if not a great general, had
the misfortune to be a clever man in the service of a stupid
administration, and he met the fate usually meted out under such
circumstances to men of ideas. Howe went off to the conquest of
Philadelphia, Clinton made a brief burning and plundering raid up the
river, and the northern invasion, which really had meaning, was left
to its fate. It was a hard fate, but there was no escape. Outnumbered,
beaten, and caught, Burgoyne surrendered. If there had been a
fighting-man at the head of the American army, the British would have
surrendered as prisoners of war, and not on conditions. Schuyler, we
may be sure, whatever his failings, would never have let them off
so easily. But it was sufficient as it was. The wilderness, and the
militia of New York and New England swarming to the defense of their
homes, had done the work. It all fell out just as Washington had
foreseen and planned, and England, despising her enemy and their
commander, saw one of her armies surrender, and might have known, if
she had had the wit, that the colonies were now lost forever. The
Revolution had been saved at Trenton; it was established at Saratoga.
In the one case it was the direct, in the other the indirect, work of

Poor Gates, with his dull brain turning under the impression that this
crowning mercy had been his own doing, lost his head, forgot that
there was a commander-in-chief, and sending his news to Congress, left
Washington to find out from chance rumors, and a tardy letter from
Putnam, that Burgoyne had actually surrendered. This gross slight,
however, had deeper roots than the mere exultation of victory acting
on a heavy and common mind. It represented a hostile feeling which
had been slowly increasing for some time, which had been carefully
nurtured by those interested in its growth, and which blossomed
rapidly in the heated air of military triumph. From the outset it had
been Washington's business to fight the enemy, manage the army,
deal with Congress, and consider in all its bearings the political
situation at home and abroad; but he was now called upon to meet a
trouble outside the line of duty, and to face attacks from within,
which, ideally speaking, ought never to have existed, but which, in
view of our very fallible humanity, were certain to come sooner or
later. Much domestic malice Washington was destined to encounter in
the later years of political strife, but this was the only instance in
his military career where enmity came to overt action and open speech.
The first and the last of its kind, this assault upon him has much
interest, for a strong light is thrown upon his character by studying
him, thus beset, and by seeing just how he passed through this most
trying and disagreeable of ordeals.

The germ of the difficulties was to be found where we should expect
it, in the differences between the men of speech and the man of
action, between the lawmakers and the soldier. Washington had been
obliged to tell Congress a great many plain and unpleasant truths.
It was part of his duty, and he did it accordingly. He was always
dignified, calm, and courteous, but he had an alarmingly direct way
with him, especially when he was annoyed. He was simple almost to
bluntness, but now and then would use a grave irony which must
have made listening ears tingle. Congress was patriotic and
well-intentioned, and on the whole stood bravely by its general,
but it was unversed in war, very impatient, and at times wildly
impracticable. Here is a letter which depicts the situation, and the
relation between the general and his rulers, with great clearness.
March 14, 1777, Washington wrote to the President: "Could I accomplish
the important objects so eagerly wished by Congress,--'confining the
enemy within their present quarters, preventing their getting
supplies from the country, and totally subduing them before they are
reinforced,'--I should be happy indeed. But what prospect or hope can
there be of my effecting so desirable a work at this time?"

We can imagine how exasperating such requests and suggestions must
have been. It was very much as if Congress had said: "Good General,
bring in the Atlantic tides and drown the enemy; or pluck the moon
from the sky and give it to us, as a mark of your loyalty." Such
requests are not soothing to any man struggling his best with great
anxieties, and with a host of petty cares. Washington, nevertheless,
kept his temper, and replied only by setting down a few hard facts
which answered the demands of Congress in a final manner, and with all
the sting of truth. Thus a little irritation had been generated
in Congress against the general, and there were some members who
developed a good deal of pronounced hostility. Sam Adams, a born
agitator and a trained politician, unequaled almost in our history as
an organizer and manager of men, able, narrow, coldly fierce, the man
of the town meeting and the caucus, had no possibility of intellectual
sympathy with the silent, patient, hard-gripping soldier, hemmed with
difficulties, but ever moving straight forward to his object, with
occasional wild gusts of reckless fighting passion. John Adams, too,
brilliant of speech and pen, ardent, patriotic, and high-minded,
was, in his way, out of touch with Washington. Although he moved
Washington's appointment, he began almost immediately to find fault
with him, an exercise to which he was extremely prone. Inasmuch as he
could see how things ought to be done, he could not understand
why they were not done in that way at once, for he had a fine
forgetfulness of other people's difficulties, as is the case with most
of us. The New England representatives generally took their cue from
these two, especially James Lovell, who carried his ideas into action,
and obtained a little niche in the temple of fame by making
himself disagreeably conspicuous in the intrigue against the
commander-in-chief, when it finally developed.

There were others, too, outside New England who were discontented, and
among them Richard Henry Lee, from the General's own State. He was
evidently critical and somewhat unfriendly at this time, although the
reasons for his being so are not now very distinct. Then there was Mr.
Clark of New Jersey, an excellent man, who thought the General was
invading popular rights; and to him others might be added who vaguely
felt that things ought to be better than they were. This party,
adverse to Washington, obtained the appointment of Gates to the
northern department, under whom the army won a great victory, and they
were correspondingly happy. John Adams wrote his wife that one
cause of thanksgiving was that the tide had not been turned by the
commander-in-chief and southern troops, for the adulation would have
been intolerable; and that a man may be wise and virtuous and not a

Here, so far as the leading and influential men were concerned, the
matter would have dropped, probably; but there were lesser men like
Lovell who were much encouraged by the surrender of Burgoyne, and who
thought that they now might supplant Washington with Gates. Before
long, too, they found in the army itself some active and not
over-scrupulous allies. The most conspicuous figure among the military
malcontents was Gates himself, who, although sluggish in all things,
still had a keen eye for his own advancement. He showed plainly how
much his head had been turned by the victory at Saratoga when he
failed to inform Washington of the fact, and when he afterward delayed
sending back troops until he was driven to it by the determined energy
of Hamilton, who was sent to bring him to reason. Next in importance
to Gates was Thomas Mifflin, an ardent patriot, but a rather
light-headed person, who espoused the opposition to Washington for
causes now somewhat misty, but among which personal vanity played no
inconsiderable part. About these two leaders gathered a certain number
of inferior officers of no great moment then or since.

The active and moving spirit in the party, however, was one Conway, an
Irish adventurer, who made himself so prominent that the whole affair
passed into history bearing his name, and the "Conway cabal" has
obtained an enduring notoriety which its hero never acquired by any
public services. Conway was one of the foreign officers who had gained
the favor of Congress and held the rank of brigadier-general, but this
by no means filled the measure of his pretensions, and when De Kalb
was made a major-general Conway immediately started forward with
claims to the same rank. He received strong support from the factious
opposition, and there was so much stir that Washington sharply
interfered, for to his general objection to these lavish gifts of
excessive rank was added an especial distrust in this particular
case. In his calm way he had evidently observed Conway, and with his
unerring judgment of men had found him wanting. "I may add," he wrote
to Lee, "and I think with truth, that it will give a fatal blow to
the existence of the army. Upon so interesting a subject I must speak
plainly. General Conway's merit then as an officer, and his importance
in this army, exist more in his own imagination than in reality."
This plain talk soon reached Conway, drove him at once into furious
opposition, and caused him to impart to the faction a cohesion and
vigor which they had before lacked. Circumstances favored them. The
victory at Saratoga gave them something tangible to go upon, and the
first move was made when Gates failed to inform Washington of the
surrender, and then held back the troops sent for so urgently by the
commander-in-chief, who had sacrificed so much from his own army to
secure that of the north.

At this very moment, indeed, when Washington was calling for troops,
he was struggling with the utmost tenacity to hold control of the
Delaware. He made every arrangement possible to maintain the forts,
and the first assaults upon them were repulsed with great slaughter,
the British in the attack on Fort Mercer losing Count Donop, the
leader, and four hundred men. Then came a breathing space, and then
the attacks were renewed, supported by vessels, and both forts were
abandoned after the works had been leveled to the ground by the
enemy's fire. Meanwhile Hamilton, sent to the north, had done his
work; Gates had been stirred, and Putnam, well-meaning but stubborn,
had been sharply brought to his bearings. Reinforcements had come, and
Washington meditated an attack on Philadelphia. There was a good deal
of clamor for something brilliant and decisive, for both the army and
the public were a little dizzy from the effects of Saratoga, and with
sublime blindness to different conditions, could not see why the same
performance should not be repeated to order everywhere else. To oppose
this wish was trying, doubly trying to a man eager to fight, and with
his full share of the very human desire to be as successful as his
neighbor. It required great nerve to say No; but Washington did not
lack that quality, and as general and statesman he reconnoitred the
enemy's works, weighed the chances, said No decisively, and took up an
almost impregnable position at White Marsh. Thereupon Howe announced
that he would drive Washington beyond the mountains, and on December
4 he approached the American lines with this highly proper purpose.
There was some skirmishing along the foot of the hills of an
unimportant character, and on the third day Washington, in high
spirits, thought an attack would be made, and rode among the soldiers
directing and encouraging them. Nothing came of it, however, but more
skirmishing, and the next day Howe marched back to Philadelphia. He
had offered battle in all ways, he had invited action; but again, with
the same pressure both from his own spirit and from public opinion,
Washington had said No. On his own ground he was more than ready to
fight Howe, but despite the terrible temptation he would fight on no
other. Not the least brilliant exploit of Wellington was the retreat
to the shrewdly prepared lines of Torres Vedras, and one of the most
difficult successes of Washington was his double refusal to fight as
the year 1777 drew to a close.

Like most right and wise things, Washington's action looks now, a
century later, so plainly sensible that it is hard to imagine how any
one could have questioned it; and one cannot, without a great effort,
realize the awful strain upon will and temper involved in thus
refusing battle. If the proposed attack on Philadelphia had failed, or
if our army had come down from the hills and been beaten in the fields
below, no American army would have remained. The army of the north, of
which men were talking so proudly, had done its work and dispersed.
The fate of the Revolution rested where it had been from the
beginning, with Washington and his soldiers. Drive them beyond the
mountains and there was no other army to fall back upon. On their
existence everything hinged, and when Howe got back to Philadelphia,
there they were still existent, still coherent, hovering on his flank,
cooping him up in his lines, and leaving him master of little more
than the ground his men encamped upon, and the streets his sentinels
patrolled. When Franklin was told in Paris that Howe had taken
Philadelphia, his reply was, "Philadelphia has taken Howe."

But, with the exception of Franklin, contemporary opinion in the month
of December, 1777, was very different from that of to-day, and the
cabal had been at work ever since the commander-in-chief had stepped
between Conway and the exorbitant rank he coveted. Washington, indeed,
was perfectly aware of what was going on. He was quiet and dignified,
impassive and silent, but he knew when men, whether great or small,
were plotting against him, and he watched them with the same keenness
as he did Howe and the British.

In the midst of his struggle to hold the Delaware forts, and of his
efforts to get back his troops from the north, a story came to him
that arrested his attention. Wilkinson, of Gates's staff, had come to
Congress with the news of the surrender. He had been fifteen days on
the road and three days getting his papers in order, and when it was
proposed to give him a sword, Roger Sherman suggested that they had
better "give the lad a pair of spurs." This thrust and some delay
seem to have nettled Wilkinson, who was swelling with importance, and
although he was finally made a brigadier-general, he rode off to the
north much ruffled. In later years Wilkinson was secretive enough; but
in his hot youth he could not hold his tongue, and on his way back to
Gates he talked. What he said was marked and carried to headquarters,
and on November 9 Washington wrote to Conway:--

    "A letter which I received last night contained the following
    paragraph,--'In a letter from General Conway to General Gates he
    says, "_Heaven has determined to save your country, or a weak
    general and bad counsellors would have ruined it_" I am, sir, your
    humble servant,'" etc.

This curt note fell upon Conway with stunning effect. It is said that
he tried to apologize, and he certainly resigned. As for Gates, he
fell to writing letters filled with expressions of wonder as to who
had betrayed him, and writhed most pitiably under the exposure.
Washington's replies are models of cold dignity, and the calm
indifference with which he treated the whole matter, while holding
Gates to the point with relentless grasp, is very interesting. The
cabal was seriously shaken by this sudden blow. It must have dawned
upon them dimly that they might have mistaken their man, and that the
silent soldier was perhaps not so easy to dispose of by an intrigue as
they had fancied. Nevertheless, they rallied, and taking advantage of
the feeling in Congress created by Burgoyne's surrender, they set to
work to get control of military matters. The board of war was enlarged
to five, with Gates at its head and Mifflin a member, and, thus
constituted, it proceeded to make Conway inspector-general, with the
rank of major-general. This, after Conway's conduct, was a direct
insult to Washington, and marks the highest point attained by his

In Congress, too, they became more active, and John Jay said that
there was in that body a party bitterly hostile to Washington. We know
little of the members of that faction now, for they never took the
trouble to refer to the matter in after years, and did everything that
silence could do to have it all forgotten. But the party existed none
the less, and significant letters have come down to us, one of them
written by Lovell, and two anonymous, addressed respectively to
Patrick Henry and to Laurens, then president, which show a bitter and
vindictive spirit, and breathe but one purpose. The same thought is
constantly reiterated, that with a good general the northern army had
won a great victory, and that the main army, if commanded in the same
way, would do likewise. The plan was simple and coherent. The cabal
wished to drive Washington out of power and replace him with Gates.
With this purpose they wrote to Henry and Laurens; with this purpose
they made Conway inspector-general.

When they turned from intrigue to action, however, they began to fail.
One of their pet schemes was the conquest of Canada, and with
this object Lafayette was sent to the lakes, only to find that no
preparations had been made, because the originators of the idea were
ignorant and inefficient. The expedition promptly collapsed and was
abandoned, with much instruction in consequence to Congress and
people. Under their control the commissariat also went hopelessly to
pieces, and a committee of Congress proceeded to Valley Forge and
found that in this direction, too, the new managers had grievously
failed. Then the original Conway letter, uncovered so unceremoniously
by Washington, kept returning to plague its author. Gates's
correspondence went on all through the winter, and with every letter
Gates floundered more and more, and Washington's replies grew more
and more freezing and severe. Gates undertook to throw the blame on
Wilkinson, who became loftily indignant and challenged him. The two
made up their quarrel very soon in a ludicrous manner, but Wilkinson
in the interval had an interview with Washington, which revealed an
amount of duplicity and perfidy on the part of the cabal, so shocking
to the former's sensitive nature, that he resigned his secretaryship
of the board of war on account, as he frankly said, of the treachery
and falsehood of Gates. Such a quarrel of course hurt the cabal, but
it was still more weakened by Gates himself, whose only idea seemed
to be to supersede Washington by slighting him, refusing troops, and
declining to propose his health at dinner,--methods as unusual as they
were feeble.

The cabal, in fact, was so weak in ability and character that the
moment any responsibility fell upon its members it was certain to
break down, but the absolutely fatal obstacle to its schemes was the
man it aimed to overthrow. The idea evidently was that Washington
could be driven to resign. They knew that they could not get either
Congress or public opinion to support them in removing him, but they
believed that a few well-placed slights and insults would make him
remove himself. It was just here that they made their mistake.
Washington, as they were aware, was sensitive and high-spirited to
the last degree, and he had no love for office, but he was not one of
those weaklings who leave power and place in a pet because they are
criticised and assailed. He was not ambitious in the ordinary personal
sense, but he had a passion for success. Whether it was breaking a
horse, or reclaiming land, or fighting Indians, or saving a state,
whatever he set his hand to, that he carried through to the end. With
him there never was any shadow of turning back. When, without any
self-seeking, he was placed at the head of the Revolution, he made
up his mind that he would carry it through everything to victory, if
victory were possible. Death or a prison could stop him, but neither
defeat nor neglect, and still less the forces of intrigue and cabal.

When he wrote to his brother announcing Burgoyne's surrender, he had
nothing to say of the slight Gates put upon him, but merely added in
a postscript, "I most devoutly congratulate my country and every
well-wisher to the cause on this signal stroke of Providence." This
was his tone to every one, both in private and public. His complaint
of not being properly notified he made to Gates alone, and put it in
the form of a rebuke. He knew of the movement against him from the
beginning, but apparently the first person he confided in was Conway,
when he sent him the brief note of November 9. Even after the cabal
was fully developed, he wrote about it only once or twice, when
compelled to do so, and there is no evidence that he ever talked about
it except, perhaps, to a few most intimate friends. In a letter to
Patrick Henry he said that he was obliged to allow a false impression
as to his strength to go abroad, and that he suffered in consequence;
and he added, with a little touch of feeling, that while the
yeomanry of New York and New England poured into the camp of Gates,
outnumbering the enemy two to one, he could get no aid of that sort
from Pennsylvania, and still marvels were demanded of him.

Thus he went on his way through the winter, silent except when obliged
to answer some friend, and always ready to meet his enemies. When
Conway complained to Congress of his reception at camp, Washington
wrote the president that he was not given to dissimulation, and that
he certainly had been cold in his manner. He wrote to Lafayette that
slander had been busy, and that he had urged his officers to be
cool and dispassionate as to Conway, adding, "I have no doubt that
everything happens for the best, that we shall triumph over all our
misfortunes, and in the end be happy; when, my dear Marquis, if you
will give me your company in Virginia, we will laugh at our past
difficulties and the folly of others." But though he wrote thus
lightly to his friends, he followed Gates sternly enough, and kept
that gentleman occupied as he drove him from point to point. Among
other things he touched upon Conway's character with sharp irony,
saying, "It is, however, greatly to be lamented that this adept in
military science did not employ his abilities in the progress of the
campaign, in pointing out those wise measures which were calculated to
give us 'that degree of success we could reasonably expect.'"

Poor Gates did not find these letters pleasant reading, and one more
curt note, on February 24, finished the controversy. By that time the
cabal was falling to pieces, and in a little while was dispersed.
Wilkinson's resignation was accepted, Mifflin was put under
Washington's orders, and Gates was sent to his command in the north.
Conway resigned one day in a pet, and found his resignation accepted
and his power gone with unpleasant suddenness. He then got into a
quarrel with General Cadwalader on account of his attacks on the
commander-in-chief. The quarrel ended in a duel. Conway was badly
wounded, and thinking himself dying, wrote a contrite note of apology
to Washington, then recovered, left the country, and disappeared from
the ken of history. Thus domestic malice and the "bitter party" in
Congress failed and perished. They had dashed themselves in vain
against the strong man who held firmly both soldiers and people.
"While the public are satisfied with my endeavors, I mean not to
shrink from the cause." So Washington wrote to Gordon as the cabal
was coming to an end, and in that spirit he crushed silently and
thoroughly the faction that sought to thwart his purpose, and drive
him from office by sneers, slights, and intrigues.

These attacks upon him came at the darkest moment of his military
career. Defeated at Brandywine and Germantown, he had been forced from
the forts after a desperate struggle, had seen Philadelphia and the
river fall completely into the hands of the enemy, and, bitterest of
all, he had been obliged to hold back from another assault on the
British lines, and to content himself with baffling Howe when that
gentleman came out and offered battle. Then the enemy withdrew to
their comfortable quarters, and he was left to face again the harsh
winter and the problem of existence. It was the same ever recurring
effort to keep the American army, and thereby the American Revolution,
alive. There was nothing in this task to stir the blood and rouse the
heart. It was merely a question of grim tenacity of purpose and of the
ability to comprehend its overwhelming importance. It was not a work
that appealed to or inspirited any one, and to carry it through to a
successful issue rested with the commander-in-chief alone.

In the frost and snow he withdrew to Valley Forge, within easy
striking distance of Philadelphia. He had literally nothing to rely
upon but his own stern will and strong head. His soldiers, steadily
dwindling in numbers, marked their road to Valley Forge by the blood
from their naked feet. They were destitute and in rags. When they
reached their destination they had no shelter, and it was only by the
energy and ingenuity of the General that they were led to build huts,
and thus secure a measure of protection against the weather. There
were literally no supplies, and the Board of War failed completely to
remedy the evil. The army was in such straits that it was obliged
to seize by force the commonest necessaries. This was a desperate
expedient and shocked public opinion, which Washington, as a
statesman, watched and cultivated as an essential element of success
in his difficult business. He disliked to take extreme measures, but
there was nothing else to be done when his men were starving, when
nearly three thousand of them were unfit for duty because "barefoot
and otherwise naked," and when a large part of the army were obliged
to sit up all night by the fires for warmth's sake, having no blankets
with which to cover themselves if they lay down. With nothing to eat,
nothing to burn, nothing wherewith to clothe themselves, wasting away
from exposure and disease, we can only wonder at the forbearance which
stayed the hand of violent seizure so long. Yet, as Washington had
foreseen, there was even then an outcry against him. Nevertheless, his
action ultimately did more good than harm in the very matter of public
opinion, for it opened men's eyes, and led to some tardy improvements
and some increased effort.

Worse even than this criticism was the remonstrance of the legislature
of Pennsylvania against the going into winter-quarters. They expected
Washington to keep the open field, and even to attack the British,
with his starving, ragged army, in all the severity of a northern
winter. They had failed him at every point and in every promise, in
men, clothing, and supplies. They were not content that he covered
their State and kept the Revolution alive among the huts of Valley
Forge. They wished the impossible. They asked for the moon, and then
cried out because it was not given to them. It was a stupid, unkind
thing to do, and Washington answered their complaints in a letter to
the president of Congress. After setting forth the shortcomings of the
Pennsylvanians in the very plainest of plain English, he said: "But
what makes this matter still more extraordinary in my eye is that
these very gentlemen should think a winter's campaign, and the
covering of these States from the invasion of an enemy, so easy and
practicable a business. I can answer those gentlemen, that it is a
much easier and less distressing thing to draw remonstrances in a
comfortable room, by a good fireside, than to occupy a cold, bleak
hill, and sleep under frost and snow, without clothes or blankets.
However, although they seem to have little feeling for the naked and
distressed soldiers, I feel superabundantly for them, and from my soul
I pity those miseries which it is neither in my power to relieve or

This was not a safe man for the gentlemen of Pennsylvania to cross too
far, nor could they swerve him, with all his sense of public opinion,
one jot from what he meant to do. In the stern rebuke, and in the
deep pathos of these sentences, we catch a glimpse of the silent and
self-controlled man breaking out for a moment as he thinks of his
faithful and suffering men. Whatever happened, he would hold them
together, for in this black time we detect the fear which haunted
him, that the people at large might give way. He was determined on
independence. He felt a keen hatred against England for her whole
conduct toward America, and this hatred was sharpened by the efforts
of the English to injure him personally by forged letters and other
despicable contrivances. He was resolved that England should never
prevail, and his language in regard to her has a fierceness of tone
which is full of meaning. He was bent, also, on success, and if under
the long strain the people should weaken or waver, he was determined
to maintain the army at all hazards.

So, while he struggled against cold and hunger and destitution,
while he contended with faction at home and lukewarmness in the
administration of the war, even then, in the midst of these trials, he
was devising a new system for the organization and permanence of his
forces. Congress meddled with the matter of prisoners and with the
promotion of officers, and he argued with and checked them, and still
pressed on in his plans. He insisted that officers must have better
provision, for they had begun to resign. "You must appeal to their
interest as well as to their patriotism," he wrote, "and you must give
them half-pay and full pay in proper measure." "You must follow the
same policy with the men," he said; "you must have done with short
enlistments. In a word, gentlemen, you must give me an army,
a lasting, enduring, continental army, for therein lies
independence."[1] It all comes out now, through the dust of details
and annoyances, through the misery and suffering of that wretched
winter, through the shrill cries of ignorance and hostility,--the
great, clear, strong policy which meant to substitute an army for
militia, and thereby secure victory and independence. It is the burden
of all his letters to the governors of States, and to his officers
everywhere. "I will hold the army together," he said, "but you on all
sides must help me build it up."[1]

[Footnote 1: These two quotations are not literal, of course, but give
the substance of many letters.]

Thus with much strenuous labor and many fervent appeals he held his
army together in some way, and slowly improved it. His system began to
be put in force, his reiterated lessons were coming home to Congress,
and his reforms and suggestions were in some measure adopted. Under
the sound and trained guidance of Baron Steuben a drill and discipline
were introduced, which soon showed marked results. Greene succeeded
Mifflin as quartermaster-general, and brought order out of chaos. The
Conway cabal went to pieces, and as spring opened Washington began to
see light once more. To have held on through that winter was a great
feat, but to have built up and improved the army at such a time was
much more wonderful. It shows a greatness of character and a force of
will rarer than military genius, and enables us to understand better,
perhaps, than almost any of his victories, why it was that the success
of the Revolution lay in such large measure in the hands of one man.

After Howe's withdrawal from the Jerseys in the previous year, a
contemporary wrote that Washington was left with the remnants of an
army "to scuffle for liberty." The winter had passed, and he was
prepared to scuffle again. On May 11 Sir Henry Clinton relieved Sir
William Howe at Philadelphia, and the latter took his departure in
a blaze of mock glory and resplendent millinery, known as the
Mischianza, a fit close to a career of failure, which he was too dull
to appreciate. The new commander was more active than his predecessor,
but no cleverer, and no better fitted to cope with Washington. It was
another characteristic choice on the part of the British ministry, who
could never muster enough intellect to understand that the Americans
would fight, and that they were led by a really great soldier. The
coming of Clinton did not alter existing conditions.

Expecting a movement by the enemy, Washington sent Lafayette forward
to watch Philadelphia. Clinton and Howe, eager for a victory before
departure, determined to cut him off, and by a rapid movement nearly
succeeded in so doing. Timely information, presence of mind, and
quickness alone enabled the young Frenchman to escape, narrowly but
completely. Meantime, a cause for delay, that curse of the British
throughout the war, supervened. A peace commission, consisting of the
Earl of Carlisle, William Eden, and Governor Johnstone, arrived. They
were excellent men, but they came too late. Their propositions three
years before would have been well enough, but as it was they were
worse than nothing. Coolly received, they held a fruitless interview
with a committee of Congress, tried to bribe and intrigue, found that
their own army had been already ordered to evacuate Philadelphia
without their knowledge, and finally gave up their task in
angry despair, and returned to England to join in the chorus of
fault-finding which was beginning to sound very loud in ministerial

Meanwhile, Washington waited and watched, puzzled by the delay, and
hoping only to harass Sir Henry with militia on the march to New York.
But as the days slipped by, the Americans grew stronger, while the
British had been weakened by wholesale desertions. When he finally
started, he had with him probably sixteen to seventeen thousand men,
while the Americans had apparently at least thirteen thousand, nearly
all continental troops.[1] Under these circumstances, Washington
determined to bring on a battle. He was thwarted at the outset by his
officers, as was wont to be the case. Lee had returned more whimsical
than ever, and at the moment was strongly adverse to an attack, and
was full of wise saws about building a bridge of gold for the flying
enemy. The ascendancy which, as an English officer, he still retained
enabled him to get a certain following, and the councils of war
which were held compared unfavorably, as Hamilton put it, with the
deliberations of midwives. Washington was harassed of course by all
this, but he did not stay his purpose, and as soon as he knew that
Clinton actually had marched, he broke camp at Valley Forge and
started in pursuit. There were more councils of an old-womanish
character, but finally Washington took the matter into his own
hands, and ordered forth a strong detachment to attack the British
rear-guard. They set out on the 25th, and as Lee, to whom the command
belonged, did not care to go, Lafayette was put in charge. As soon as
Lafayette had departed, however, Lee changed his mind, and insisted
that all the detachments in front, amounting to five thousand men,
formed a division so large that it was unjust not to give him the
command. Washington, therefore, sent him forward next day with two
additional brigades, and then Lee by seniority took command on the
27th of the entire advance.

[Footnote 1: The authorities are hopelessly conflicting as to the
numbers on both sides. The British returns on March 26 showed over
19,000 men. They had since that date been weakened by desertions, but
to what extent we can only conjecture. The detachments to Florida
and the West Indies ordered from England do not appear to have taken
place. The estimate of 16,000 to 17,000 seems the most reasonable.
Washington returned his rank and file as just over 10,000, which would
indicate a total force of 13,000 to 14,000, possibly more. Washington
clearly underestimated the enemy, and the best conclusion seems to be
that they were nearly matched in numbers, with a slight inferiority on
the American side.]

In the evening of that day, Washington came up, reconnoitred the
enemy, and saw that, although their position was a strong one, another
day's unmolested march would make it still stronger. He therefore
resolved to attack the next morning, and gave Lee then and there
explicit orders to that effect. In the early dawn he dispatched
similar orders, but Lee apparently did nothing except move feebly
forward, saying to Lafayette, "You don't know the British soldiers;
we cannot stand against them." He made a weak attempt to cut off a
covering party, marched and countermarched, ordered and countermanded,
until Lafayette and Wayne, eager to fight, knew not what to do, and
sent hot messages to Washington to come to them.

Thus hesitating and confused, Lee permitted Clinton to get his baggage
and train to the front, and to mass all his best troops in the rear
under Cornwallis, who then advanced against the American lines. Now
there were no orders at all, and the troops did not know what to do,
or where to go. They stood still, then began to fall back, and then to
retreat. A very little more and there would have been a rout. As it
was, Washington alone prevented disaster. His early reports from the
front from Dickinson's outlying party, and from Lee himself, were all
favorable. Then he heard the firing, and putting the main army in
motion, he rode rapidly forward. First he encountered a straggler, who
talked of defeat. He could not believe it, and the fellow was pushed
aside and silenced. Then came another and another, all with songs of
death. Finally, officers and regiments began to come. No one knew why
they fled, or what had happened. As the ill tidings grew thicker,
Washington spurred sharper and rode faster through the deep sand, and
under the blazing midsummer sun. At last he met Lee and the main body
all in full retreat. He rode straight at Lee, savage with anger, not
pleasant to look at, one may guess, and asked fiercely and with a deep
oath, tradition says, what it all meant. Lee was no coward, and did
not usually lack for words. He was, too, a hardened man of the world,
and, in the phrase of that day, impudent to boot. But then and there
he stammered and hesitated. The fierce question was repeated. Lee
gathered himself and tried to excuse and palliate what had happened,
but although the brief words that followed are variously reported to
us across the century, we know that Washington rebuked him in such a
way, and with such passion, that all was over between them. Lee had
committed the one unpardonable sin in the eyes of his commander. He
had failed to fight when the enemy was upon him. He had disobeyed
orders and retreated. It was the end of him. He went to the rear,
thence to a court-martial, thence to dismissal and to a solitary life
with a well-founded suspicion of treason hanging about him. He was an
intelligent, quick-witted, unstable man, much overrated because he
was an English officer among a colonial people. He was ever treated
magnanimously by Washington after the day of battle at Monmouth, but
he then disappeared from the latter's life.

When Lee bowed before the storm and stepped aside, Washington was left
to deal with the danger and confusion around him. Thus did he tell the
story afterwards to his brother: "A retreat, however, was the fact, be
the causes what they may; and the disorder arising from it would have
proved fatal to the army, had not that bountiful Providence, which has
never failed us in the hour of distress, enabled me to form a regiment
or two (of those that were retreating) in the face of the enemy, and
under their fire; by which means a stand was made long enough (the
place through which the enemy were pressing being narrow) to form the
troops, that were advancing, upon an advantageous piece of ground in
the rear." We cannot add much to these simple and modest words, for
they tell the whole story. Having put Lee aside, Washington rallied
the broken troops, brought them into position, turned them back, and
held the enemy in check. It was not an easy feat, but it was done, and
when Lee's division again fell back in good order the main army was in
position, and the action became general. The British were repulsed,
and then Washington, taking the offensive, drove them back until he
occupied the battlefield of the morning. Night came upon him still
advancing. He halted his army, lay down under a tree, his soldiers
lying on their arms about him, and planned a fresh attack, to be made
at daylight. But when the dawn came it was seen that the British had
crept off, and were far on their road. The heat prevented a rapid
pursuit, and Clinton got into New York. Between there and Philadelphia
he had lost at least two thousand men by desertions in addition to
nearly five hundred who fell at Monmouth.

It is worth while to pause a moment and compare this battle with the
rout of Long Island, the surprise at the Brandywine, and the fatal
unsteadiness at Germantown. Here, too, a check was received at the
outset, owing to blundering which no one could have foreseen. The
troops, confused and without orders, began to retreat, but without
panic or disorder. The moment Washington appeared they rallied,
returned to the field, showed perfect steadiness, and the victory
was won. Monmouth has never been one of the famous battles of the
Revolution, and yet there is no other which can compare with it as an
illustration of Washington's ability as a soldier. It was not so much
the way in which it was fought, although that was fine enough, that
its importance lies as in the evidence which it gives of the way
in which Washington, after a series of defeats, during a winter
of terrible suffering and privation, had yet developed his ragged
volunteers into a well-disciplined and effective army. The battle was
a victory, but the existence and the quality of the army that won it
were a far greater triumph.

The dreary winter at Valley Forge had indeed borne fruit. With a
slight numerical superiority Washington had fought the British in the
open field, and fairly defeated them. "Clinton gained no advantage,"
said the great Frederic, "except to reach New York with the wreck of
his army; America is probably lost for England." Another year had
passed, and England had lost an army, and still held what she had
before, the city of New York. Washington was in the field with a
better army than ever, and an army flushed with a victory which had
been achieved after difficulties and trials such as no one now can
rightly picture or describe. The American Revolution was advancing,
held firm by the master-hand of its leader. Into it, during these days
of struggle and of battle, a new element had come, and the next step
is to see how Washington dealt with the fresh conditions upon which
the great conflict had entered.



On May 4, 1778, Congress ratified the treaties of commerce and
alliance with France. On the 6th, Washington, waiting at Valley Forge
for the British to start from Philadelphia, caused his army, drawn out
on parade, to celebrate the great event with cheers and with salvos of
artillery and musketry. The alliance deserved cheers and celebration,
for it marked a long step onward in the Revolution. It showed that
America had demonstrated to Europe that she could win independence,
and it had been proved to the traditional enemy of England that
the time had come when it would be profitable to help the revolted
colonies. But the alliance brought troubles as well as blessings in
its train. It induced a relaxation in popular energy, and carried
with it new and difficult problems for the commander-in-chief. The
successful management of allies, and of allied forces, had been one
of the severest tests of the statesmanship of William III., and had
constituted one of the principal glories of Marlborough. A similar
problem now confronted the American general.

Washington was free from the diplomatic and political portion of the
business, but the military and popular part fell wholly into his
hands, and demanded the exercise of talents entirely different from
those of either a general or an administrator. It has been not
infrequently written more or less plainly, and it is constantly said,
that Washington was great in character, but that in brains he was
not far above the common-place. It is even hinted sometimes that the
father of his country was a dull man, a notion which we shall have
occasion to examine more fully further on. At this point let the
criticism be remembered merely in connection with the fact that
to coöperate with allies in military matters demands tact, quick
perception, firmness, and patience. In a word, it is a task which
calls for the finest and most highly trained intellectual powers, and
of which the difficulty is enhanced a thousandfold when the allies are
on the one side, an old, aristocratic, punctilious people, and on the
other, colonists utterly devoid of tradition, etiquette, or fixed
habits, and very much accustomed to go their own way and speak their
own minds with careless freedom. With this problem Washington was
obliged suddenly to deal, both in ill success and good success, as
well as in many attempts which came to nothing. Let us see how he
solved it at the very outset, when everything went most perversely

On July 14 he heard that D'Estaing's fleet was off the coast, and at
once, without a trace of elation or excitement, he began to consider
the possibility of intercepting the British fleet expected to arrive
shortly from Cork. As soon as D'Estaing was within reach he sent
two of his aides on board the flagship, and at once opened a
correspondence with his ally. These letters of welcome, and those of
suggestion which followed, are models, in their way, of what such
letters ought always to be. They were perfectly adapted to satisfy the
etiquette and the love of good manners of the French, and yet there
was not a trace of anything like servility, or of an effusive
gratitude which outran the favors granted. They combined stately
courtesy with simple dignity, and are phrased with a sober grace which
shows the thoroughly strong man, as capable to turn a sentence, if
need be, as to rally retreating soldiers in the face of the enemy.

In this first meeting of the allies nothing happened fortunately.
D'Estaing had had a long passage, and was too late to cut off Lord
Howe at the Delaware. Then he turned to New York, and was too late
there, and found further that he could not get his ships over the bar.
Hence more delays, so that he was late again in getting to Newport,
where he was to unite with Sullivan in driving the British from Rhode
Island, as Washington had planned, in case of failure at New York,
while the French were still hovering on the coast. When D'Estaing
finally reached Newport, there was still another delay of ten days,
and then, just as he and Sullivan were preparing to attack, Lord Howe,
with his squadron reinforced, appeared off the harbor. Promising to
return, D'Estaing sailed out to give the enemy battle, and after
much manoeuvring both fleets were driven off by a severe storm, and
D'Estaing came back only to tell Sullivan that he must go to Boston at
once to refit. Then came the protest addressed to the Count and signed
by all the American officers; then the departure of D'Estaing, and an
indiscreet proclamation to the troops by Sullivan, reflecting on the
conduct of the allies.

When D'Estaing had actually gone, and the Americans were obliged to
retreat, there was much grumbling in all directions, and it looked as
if the first result of the alliance was to be a very pretty quarrel.
It was a bad and awkward business. Congress had the good sense to
suppress the protest of the officers, and Washington, disappointed,
but perhaps not wholly surprised, set himself to work to put matters
right. It was no easy task to soothe the French, on the one hand, who
were naturally aggrieved at the utterances of the American officers
and at the popular feeling, and on the other to calm his own people,
who were, not without reason, both disappointed and provoked. To
Sullivan, fuming with wrath, he wrote: "Should the expedition fail
through the abandonment of the French fleet, the officers concerned
will be apt to complain loudly. But prudence dictates that we should
put the best face upon the matter, and to the world attribute the
removal to Boston to necessity. The reasons are too obvious to need
explaining." And again, a few days later: "First impressions, you
know, are generally longest remembered, and will serve to fix in a
great degree our national character among the French. In our conduct
towards them we should remember that they are a people old in war,
very strict in military etiquette, and apt to take fire when others
scarcely seem warmed. Permit me to recommend, in the most particular
manner, the cultivation of harmony and good agreement, and your
endeavor to destroy that ill-humor which may have got into officers."
To Lafayette he wrote: "Everybody, sir, who reasons, will acknowledge
the advantages which we have derived from the French fleet, and the
zeal of the commander of it; but in a free and republican government
you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude. Every man will speak
as he thinks, or, more properly, without thinking, and consequently
will judge of effects without attending to the causes. The censures
which have been leveled at the French fleet would more than probably
have fallen in a much higher degree upon a fleet of our own, if we
had had one in the same situation. It is the nature of man to be
displeased with everything that disappoints a favorite hope or
flattering project; and it is the folly of too many of them to condemn
without investigating circumstances." Finally he wrote to D'Estaing,
deploring the difference which had arisen, mentioning his own efforts
and wishes to restore harmony, and said: "It is in the trying
circumstances to which your Excellency has been exposed that the
virtues of a great mind are displayed in their brightest lustre, and
that a general's character is better known than in the moment of
victory. It was yours by every title that can give it; and the adverse
elements that robbed you of your prize can never deprive you of
the glory due you. Though your success has not been equal to your
expectations, yet you have the satisfaction of reflecting that you
have rendered essential services to the common cause." This is not the
letter of a dull man. Indeed, there is a nicety about it that partakes
of cleverness, a much commoner thing than greatness, but something
which all great men by no means possess. Thus by tact and
comprehension of human nature, by judicious suppression and equally
judicious letters, Washington, through the prudent exercise of all his
commanding influence, quieted his own people and soothed his allies.
In this way a serious disaster was averted, and an abortive expedition
was all that was left to be regretted, instead of an ugly quarrel,
which might readily have neutralized the vast advantages flowing from
the French alliance. Having refitted, D'Estaing bore away for the West
Indies, and so closed the first chapter in the history of the alliance
with France. Nothing more was heard of the allies until the spring was
well advanced, when M. Gerard, the minister, wrote, intimating that
D'Estaing was about to return, and asking what we would do. Washington
replied at length, professing his willingness to coöperate in any way,
and offering, if the French would send ships, to abandon everything,
run all risks, and make an attack on New York. Nothing further came
of it, and Washington heard that the fleet had gone to the Southern
States, which he learned without regret, as he was apprehensive as to
the condition of affairs in that region. Again, in the autumn, it
was reported that the fleet was once more upon the northern coast.
Washington at once sent officers to be on the lookout at the most
likely points, and he wrote elaborately to D'Estaing, setting forth
with wonderful perspicuity the incidents of the past, the condition of
the present, and the probabilities of the future. He was willing to do
anything, or plan anything, provided his allies would join with him.
The jealousy so habitual in humanity, which is afraid that some one
else may get the glory of a common success, was unknown to Washington,
and if he could but drive the British from America, and establish
American independence, he was perfectly willing that the glory should
take care of itself. But all his wisdom in dealing with the allies
was, for the moment, vain. While he was planning for a great stroke,
and calling out the militia of New England, D'Estaing was making ready
to relieve Georgia, and a few days after Washington wrote his second
letter, the French and Americans assaulted the British works at
Savannah, and were repulsed with heavy losses. Then D'Estaing sailed
away again, and the second effort of France to aid England's revolted
colonies came to an end. Their presence had had a good moral effect,
and the dread of D'Estaing's return had caused Clinton to withdraw
from Newport and concentrate in New York. This was all that was
actually accomplished, and there was nothing for it but to await still
another trial and a more convenient season.

With all his courtesy and consideration, with all his readiness to
fall in with the wishes and schemes of the French, it must not be
supposed that Washington ever went an inch too far in this direction.
He valued the French alliance, and proposed to use it to great
purpose, but he was not in the least dazzled or blinded by it. Even
in the earliest glow of excitement and hope produced by D'Estaing's
arrival, Washington took occasion to draw once more the distinction
between a valuable alliance and volunteer adventurers, and to
remonstrate again with Congress about their reckless profusion in
dealing with foreign officers. To Gouverneur Morris he wrote on July
24, 1778: "The lavish manner in which rank has hitherto been bestowed
on these gentlemen will certainly be productive of one or the other of
these two evils: either to make it despicable in the eyes of Europe,
or become the means of pouring them in upon us like a torrent and
adding to our present burden. But it is neither the expense nor the
trouble of them that I most dread. There is an evil more extensive in
its nature, and fatal in its consequences, to be apprehended, and
that is the driving of all our own officers out of the service, and
throwing not only our army, but our military councils, entirely into
the hands of foreigners.... Baron Steuben, I now find, is also wanting
to quit his inspectorship for a command in the line. This will be
productive of much discontent to the brigadiers. In a word, although I
think the baron an excellent officer, I do most devoutly wish that we
had not a single foreigner among us except the Marquis de Lafayette,
who acts upon very different principles from those which govern the
rest." A few days later he said, on the same theme, to the president
of Congress: "I trust you think me so much a citizen of the world as
to believe I am not easily warped or led away by attachments merely
local and American; yet I confess I am not entirely without them, nor
does it appear to me that they are unwarrantable, if confined within
proper limits. Fewer promotions in the foreign line would have been
productive of more harmony, and made our warfare more agreeable to all
parties." Again, he said of Steuben: "I regret that there should be a
necessity that his services should be lost to the army; at the same
time I think it my duty explicitly to observe to Congress that his
desire of having an actual and permanent command in the line cannot be
complied with without wounding the feelings of a number of officers,
whose rank and merits give them every claim to attention; and that the
doing of it would be productive of much dissatisfaction and extensive
ill consequences."

Washington's resistance to the colonial deference for foreigners has
already been pointed out, but this second burst of opposition, coming
at this especial time, deserves renewed attention. The splendid fleet
and well-equipped troops of our ally were actually at our gates, and
everybody was in a paroxysm of perfectly natural gratitude. To the
colonial mind, steeped in colonial habits of thought, the foreigner at
this particular juncture appeared more than ever to be a splendid and
superior being. But he did not in the least confuse or sway the cool
judgment that guided the destinies of the Revolution. Let us consider
well the pregnant sentences just quoted, and the letters from which
they are taken. They deserve it, for they throw a strong light on a
side of Washington's mind and character too little appreciated. One
hears it said not infrequently, it has been argued even in print with
some solemnity, that Washington was, no doubt, a great man and rightly
a national hero, but that he was not an American. It will be necessary
to recur to this charge again and consider it at some length. It is
sufficient at this point to see how it tallies with his conduct in
a single matter, which was a very perfect test of the national and
American quality of the man. We can get at the truth by contrasting
him with his own contemporaries, the only fair comparison, for he was
a man and an American of his own time and not of the present day,
which is a point his critics overlook.

Where he differed from the men of his own time was in the fact that he
rose to a breadth and height of Americanism and of national feeling
which no other man of that day touched at all. Nothing is more intense
than the conservatism of mental habits, and although it requires now
an effort to realize it, it should not be forgotten that in every
habit of thought the inhabitants of the thirteen colonies were wholly
colonial. If this is properly appreciated we can understand the mental
breadth and vigor which enabled Washington to shake off at once all
past habits and become an independent leader of an independent
people. He felt to the very core of his being the need of national
self-respect and national dignity. To him, as the chief of the armies
and the head of the Revolution, all men, no matter what tongue they
spake or what country they came from, were to be dealt with on a
footing of simple equality, and treated according to their merits.
There was to him no glamour in the fact that this man was a Frenchman
and that an Englishman. His own personal pride extended to his people,
and he bowed to no national superiority anywhere. Hamilton was
national throughout, but he was born outside the thirteen colonies,
and knew his fellow-citizens only as Americans. Franklin was national
by the force of his own commanding genius. John Adams grew to the same
conception, so far as our relations to other nations were concerned.
But beyond these three we may look far and closely before we find
another among all the really great men of the time who freed himself
wholly from the superstition of the colonist about the nations of

When Washington drew his sword beneath the Cambridge elm he stood
forth as the first American, the best type of man that the New World
could produce, with no provincial taint upon him, and no shadow of the
colonial past clouding his path. It was this great quality that gave
the struggle which he led a character it would never have attained
without a leader so constituted. Had he been merely a colonial
Englishman, had he not risen at once to the conception of an American
nation, the world would have looked at us with very different eyes.
It was the personal dignity of the man, quite as much as his fighting
capacity, which impressed Europe. Kings and ministers, looking on
dispassionately, soon realized that here was no ordinary agitator
or revolutionist, but a great man on a great stage with great
conceptions. England, indeed, talked about a militia colonel, but this
chatter disappeared in the smoke of Trenton, and even England came to
look upon him as the all-powerful spirit of the Revolution. Dull men
and colonial squires do not grasp a great idea and carry it into
action on the world's stage in a few months. To stand forward at the
head of raw armies and of a colonial people as a national leader,
calm, dignified, and far-seeing, requires not only character, but
intellect of the highest and strongest kind. Now that we have come
as a people, after more than a century's struggle, to the national
feeling which Washington compassed in a moment, it is well to consider
that single achievement and to meditate on its meaning, whether in
estimating him, or in gauging what he was to the American people when
they came into existence.

Let us take another instance of the same quality, shown also in the
winter of 1778. Congress had from the beginning a longing to conquer
Canada, which was a wholly natural and entirely laudable desire, for
conquest is always more interesting than defense. Washington, on the
other hand, after the first complete failure, which was so nearly
a success in the then undefended and unsuspicious country, gave up
pretty thoroughly all ideas of attacking Canada again, and opposed
the various plans of Congress in that direction. When he had a
life-and-death struggle to get together and subsist enough men
to protect their own firesides, he had ample reason to know that
invasions of Canada were hopeless. Indeed, not much active opposition
from the commander-in-chief was needed to dispose of the Canadian
schemes, for facts settled them as fast as they arose. When the
cabal got up its Canadian expedition, it consisted of Lafayette, and
penetrated no farther than Albany. So Washington merely kept his eye
watchfully on Canada, and argued against expeditions thither, until
this winter of 1778, when something quite new in that direction came

Lafayette's imagination had been fired by the notion of conquering
Canada. His idea was to get succors from France for this especial
purpose, and with them and American aid to achieve the conquest.
Congress was impressed and pleased by the scheme, and sent a report
upon it to Franklin, to communicate to the French court, but
Washington, when he heard of the plan, took a very different view.
He sent at once a long dispatch to Congress, urging every possible
objection to the proposed campaign, on the ground of its utter
impracticability, and with this official letter, which was necessarily
confined to the military side of the question, went another addressed
to President Laurens personally, which contained the deeper reasons of
his opposition. He said that there was an objection not touched upon
in his public letter, which was absolutely insurmountable. This was
the introduction of French troops into Canada to take possession of
the capital, in the midst of a people of their own race and religion,
and but recently severed from them.

He pointed out the enormous advantages which would accrue to France
from the possession of Canada, such as independent posts, control of
the Indians, and the Newfoundland trade. "France, ... possessed of New
Orleans on our right, Canada on our left, and seconded by the
numerous tribes of Indians in our rear, ... would, it is much to be
apprehended, have it in her power to give law to these States." He
went on to show that France might easily find an excuse for such
conduct, in seeking a surety for her advances of money, and that she
had but little to fear from the contingency of our being driven to
reunite with England. He continued: "Men are very apt to run into
extremes. Hatred to England may carry some into an excess of
confidence in France, especially when motives of gratitude are thrown
into the scale. Men of this description would be unwilling to suppose
France capable of acting so ungenerous a part. I am heartily disposed
to entertain the most favorable sentiments of our new ally, and to
cherish them in others to a reasonable degree. But it is a maxim,
founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation is
to be trusted farther than it is bound by its own interest; and no
prudent statesman or politician will venture to depart from it. In our
circumstances we ought to be particularly cautious; for we have not
yet attained sufficient vigor and maturity to recover from the shock
of any false steps into which we may unwarily fall."

We shall have occasion to recall these utterances at a later day, but
at this time they serve to show yet again how broadly and clearly
Washington judged nations and policies. Uppermost in his mind was the
destiny of his own nation, just coming into being, and from that firm
point he watched and reasoned. His words had no effect on Congress,
but as it turned out, the plan failed through adverse influences in
the quarter where Washington least expected them. He believed that
this Canadian plan had been put into Lafayette's mind by the cabinet
of Louis XVI., and he could not imagine that a policy of such obvious
wisdom could be overlooked by French statesmen. In this he was
completely mistaken, for France failed to see what seemed so simple to
the American general, that the opportunity had come to revive her old
American policy and reestablish her colonies under the most favorable
conditions. The ministers of Louis XVI., moreover, did not wish the
colonies to conquer Canada, and the plan of Lafayette and the Congress
received no aid in Paris and came to nothing. But the fruitless
incident exhibits in the strongest light the attitude of Washington as
a purely American statesman, and the comprehensiveness of his mind in
dealing with large affairs.

The French alliance and the coming of the French fleet were of
incalculable advantage to the colonies, but they had one evil effect,
as has already been suggested. To a people weary with unequal
conflict, it was a debilitating influence, and America needed at that
moment more than ever energy and vigor, both in the council and
the field. Yet the general outlook was distinctly better and more
encouraging. Soon after Washington had defeated Clinton at Monmouth,
and had taken a position whence he could watch and check him, he wrote
to his friend General Nelson in Virginia:--

"It is not a little pleasing, nor less wonderful to contemplate, that,
after two years' manoeuvring and undergoing the strangest vicissitudes
that perhaps ever attended any one contest since the creation, both
armies are brought back to the very point they set out from, and that
the offending party at the beginning is now reduced to the spade and
pickaxe for defense. The hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in
all this that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and
more than wicked that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his
obligations. But it will be time enough for me to turn preacher when
my present appointment ceases."

He had reason to congratulate himself on the result of his two years'
campaigning, but as the summer wore away and winter came on he found
causes for fresh and deep alarm, despite the good outlook in the
field. The demoralizing effects of civil war were beginning to show
themselves in various directions. The character of Congress, in point
of ability, had declined alarmingly, for the ablest men of the first
Congress, with few exceptions, had departed. Some had gone to the
army, some to the diplomatic service, and many had remained at home,
preferring the honors and offices of the States to those of the
Confederation. Their successors, patriotic and well-meaning though
they were, lacked the energy and force of those who had started the
Revolution, and, as a consequence, Congress had become feeble and
ineffective, easily swayed by influential schemers, and unable to cope
with the difficulties which surrounded them.

Outside the government the popular tone had deteriorated sadly. The
lavish issues of irredeemable paper by the Confederation and the
States had brought their finances to the verge of absolute ruin. The
continental currency had fallen to something like forty to one in
gold, and the decline was hastened by the forged notes put out by the
enemy. The fluctuations of this paper soon bred a spirit of gambling,
and hence came a class of men, both inside and outside of politics,
who sought, more or less corruptly, to make fortunes by army
contracts, and by forestalling the markets. These developments filled
Washington with anxiety, for in the financial troubles he saw ruin
to the army. The unpaid troops bore the injustice done them with
wonderful patience, but it was something that could not last, and
Washington knew the danger. In vain did he remonstrate. It seemed to
be impossible to get anything done, and at last, in the following
spring, the outbreak began. Two New Jersey regiments refused to march
until the assembly made provision for their pay. Washington took high
ground with them, but they stood respectfully firm, and finally had
their way. Not long after came another outbreak in the Connecticut
line, with similar results. These object lessons had some result, and
by foreign loans and the ability of Robert Morris the country was
enabled to stumble along; but it was a frightful and wearing anxiety
to the commander-in-chief.

Washington saw at once that the root of the evil lay in the feebleness
of Congress, and although he could not deal with the finances, he was
able to strive for an improvement in the governing body. Not content
with letters, he left the army and went to Philadelphia, in the winter
of 1779, and there appealed to Congress in person, setting forth the
perils which beset them, and urging action. He wrote also to his
friends everywhere, pointing out the deficiencies of Congress, and
begging them to send better and stronger men. To Benjamin Harrison he
wrote: "It appears to me as clear as ever the sun did in its meridian
brightness, that America never stood in more eminent need of the wise,
patriotic, and spirited exertions of her sons than at this period; ...
the States separately are too much engaged in their local concerns,
and have too many of their ablest men withdrawn from the general
council, for the good of the common weal." He took the same high tone
in all his letters, and there can be seen through it all the desperate
endeavor to make the States and the people understand the dangers
which he realized, but which they either could not or would not

On the other hand, while his anxiety was sharpened to the highest
point by the character of Congress, his sternest wrath was kindled by
the gambling and money-making which had become rampant. To Reed he
wrote in December, 1778: "It gives me sincere pleasure to find that
there is likely to be a coalition of the Whigs in your State, a few
only excepted, and that the assembly is so well disposed to second
your endeavors in bringing those murderers of our cause, the
monopolizers, forestallers, and engrossers, to condign punishment. It
is much to be lamented that each State, long ere this, has not hunted
them down as pests to society and the greatest enemies we have to
the happiness of America. I would to God that some one of the most
atrocious in each State was hung in gibbets upon a gallows five times
as high as the one prepared by Haman. No punishment, in my opinion, is
too great for the man who can build his greatness upon his country's
ruin." He would have hanged them too had he had the power, for he was
always as good as his word.

It is refreshing to read these righteously angry words, still ringing
as sharply as when they were written. They clear away all the
myths--the priggish, the cold, the statuesque, the dull myths--as the
strong gusts of the northwest wind in autumn sweep off the heavy mists
of lingering August. They are the hot words of a warm-blooded man, a
good hater, who loathed meanness and treachery, and who would have
hanged those who battened upon the country's distress. When he went
to Philadelphia, a few weeks later, and saw the state of things with
nearer view, he felt the wretchedness and outrage of such doings more
than ever. He wrote to Harrison: "If I were to be called upon to draw
a picture of the times and of men, from what I have seen, heard, and
in part know, I should in one word say, that idleness, dissipation,
and extravagance seem to have laid fast hold of most of them; that
speculation, peculation, and an insatiable thirst for riches seem to
have got the better of every other consideration, and almost of every
order of men; that party disputes and personal quarrels are the great
business of the day; whilst the momentous concerns of an empire, a
great and accumulating debt, ruined finances, depreciated money, and
want of credit, which, in its consequences, is the want of everything,
are but secondary considerations, and postponed from day to day, from
week to week, as if our affairs wore the most promising aspect."

Other men talked about empire, but he alone grasped the great
conception, and felt it in his soul. To see not only immediate success
imperiled, but the future paltered with by small, mean, and dishonest
men, cut him to the quick. He set himself doggedly to fight it, as he
always fought every enemy, using both speech and pen in all quarters.
Much, no doubt, he ultimately effected, but he was contending with
the usual results of civil war, which are demoralizing always, and
especially so among a young people in a new country. At first,
therefore, all seemed vain. The selfishness, "peculation, and
speculation" seemed to get worse, and the tone of Congress and the
people lower, as he struggled against them. In March, 1779, he wrote
to James Warren of Massachusetts: "Nothing, I am convinced, but
the depreciation of our currency, aided by stock-jobbing and party
dissensions, has fed the hopes of the enemy, and kept the British
arms in America to this day. They do not scruple to declare this
themselves, and add that we shall be our own conquerors. Can not our
common country, America, possess virtue enough to disappoint them? Is
the paltry consideration of a little pelf to individuals to be placed
in competition with the essential rights and liberties of the present
generation, and of millions yet unborn? Shall a few designing men, for
their own aggrandizement, and to gratify their own avarice, overset
the goodly fabric we have been rearing, at the expense of so much
time, blood, and treasure? And shall we at last become the victims
of our own lust of gain? Forbid it, Heaven! Forbid it, all and every
State in the Union, by enacting and enforcing efficacious laws for
checking the growth of these monstrous evils, and restoring matters,
in some degree, to the state they were in at the commencement of the

"Our cause is noble. It is the cause of mankind, and the danger to it
is to be apprehended from ourselves. Shall we slumber and sleep, then,
while we should be punishing those miscreants who have brought these
troubles upon us, and who are aiming to continue us in them; while we
should be striving to fill our battalions, and devising ways and means
to raise the value of the currency, on the credit of which everything
depends?" Again we see the prevailing idea of the future, which
haunted him continually. Evidently, he had some imagination, and
also a power of terse and eloquent expression which we have heard of
before, and shall note again.

Still the appeals seemed to sound in deaf ears. He wrote to George
Mason: "I have seen, without despondency, even for a moment, the hours
which America has styled her gloomy ones; but I have beheld no
day since the commencement of hostilities that I have thought her
liberties in such imminent danger as at present.... Indeed, we are
verging so fast to destruction that I am filled with sensations to
which I have been a stranger till within these three months." To
Gouverneur Morris he said: "If the enemy have it in their power to
press us hard this campaign, I know not what may be the consequence."
He had faced the enemy, the bleak winters, raw soldiers, and all the
difficulties of impecunious government, with a cheerful courage that
never failed. But the spectacle of widespread popular demoralization,
of selfish scrambles for plunder, and of feeble administration at
the centre of government weighed upon him heavily. It was not the
general's business to build up Congress and grapple with finance, but
Washington addressed himself to the new task with his usual persistent
courage. It was slow and painful work. He seemed to make no progress,
and then it was that his spirits sank at the prospect of ruin and
defeat, not coming on the field of battle, but from our own vices and
our own lack of energy and wisdom. Yet his work told in the end, as it
always did. His vast and steadily growing influence made itself felt
even through the dense troubles of the uneasy times. Congress turned
with energy to Europe for fresh loans. Lafayette worked away to get
an army sent over. The two Morrises, stimulated by Washington, flung
themselves into the financial difficulties, and feeble but distinct
efforts toward a more concentrated and better organized administration
of public affairs were made both in the States and the confederation.

But, although Washington's spirits fell, and his anxieties became
wellnigh intolerable in this period of reaction which followed the
French alliance, he made no public show of it, but carried on his own
work with the army and in the field as usual, contending with all the
difficulties, new and old, as calmly and efficiently as ever. After
Clinton slipped away from Monmouth and sought refuge in New York,
Washington took post at convenient points and watched the movements
of the enemy. In this way the summer passed. As always, Washington's
first object was to guard the Hudson, and while he held this vital
point firmly, he waited, ready to strike elsewhere if necessary. It
looked for a time as if the British intended to descend on Boston,
seize the town, and destroy the French fleet, which had gone there
to refit. Such was the opinion of Gates, then commanding in that
department, and as Washington inclined to the same belief, the fear of
this event gave him many anxious moments. He even moved his troops
so as to be in readiness to march eastward at short notice; but he
gradually became convinced that the enemy had no such plan. Much
of his thought, now and always, was given to efforts to divine the
intentions of the British generals. They had so few settled ideas,
and were so tardy and lingering when they had plans, that it is small
wonder that their opponents were sorely puzzled in trying to find out
what their purposes were, when they really had none. The fact was that
Washington saw their military opportunities with the eye of a great
soldier, and so much better than they, that he suffered a good deal of
needless anxiety in devising methods to meet attacks which they had
not the wit to undertake. He had a profound contempt for their policy
of holding towns, and believing that they must see the utter futility
of it, after several years of trial, he constantly expected from them
a well-planned and extensive campaign, which in reality they were
incapable of devising.

The main army, therefore, remained quiet, and when the autumn had
passed went into winter-quarters in well-posted detachments about New
York. In December Clinton made an ineffectual raid, and then all was
peaceful again, and Washington was able to go to Philadelphia and
struggle with Congress, leaving his army more comfortable and secure
than they had been in any previous winter.

In January he informed Congress as to the next campaign. He showed
them the impossibility of undertaking anything on a large scale, and
announced his intention of remaining on the defensive. It was a trying
policy to a man of his temper, but he could do no better, and he knew,
now as always, what others could not yet see, that by simply holding
on and keeping his army in the field he was slowly but surely winning
independence. He tried to get Congress to do something with the navy,
and he planned an expedition, under the command of Sullivan, to
overrun the Indian country and check the barbarous raids of the Tories
and savages on the frontier; and with this he was fain to be content.
In fact, he perceived very clearly the direction in which the war was
tending. He kept up his struggle with Congress for a permanent army,
and with the old persistency pleaded that something should be done for
the officers, and at the same time he tried to keep the States in good
humor when they were grumbling about the amount of protection afforded

But all this wear and tear of heart and brain and temper, while given
chiefly to hold the army together, was not endured with any
notion that he and Clinton were eventually to fight it out in the
neighborhood of New York. Washington felt that that part of the
conflict was over. He now hoped and believed that the moment would
come, when, by uniting his army with the French, he should be able to
strike the decisive blow. Until that time came, however, he knew that
he could do nothing on a great scale, and he felt that meanwhile the
British, abandoning practically the eastern and middle States, would
make one last desperate struggle for victory, and would make it in the
south. Long before any one else, he appreciated this fact, and saw a
peril looming large in that region, where everybody was considering
the British invasion as little more than an exaggerated raid. He
foresaw, too, that we should suffer more there than we had in the
extreme north, because the south was full of Tories and less well

All this, however, did not change his own plans one jot. He believed
that the south must work out its own salvation, as New York and New
England had done with Burgoyne, and he felt sure that in the end it
would be successful. But he would not go south, nor take his army
there. The instinct of a great commander for the vital point in a war
or a battle, is as keen as that of the tiger is said to be for the
jugular vein of its victim. The British might overrun the north or
invade the south, but he would stay where he was, with his grip upon
New York and the Hudson River. The tide of invasion might ebb and flow
in this region or that, but the British were doomed if they could not
divide the eastern colonies from the others. When the appointed hour
came, he was ready to abandon everything and strike the final and
fatal blow; but until then he waited and stood fast with his army,
holding the great river in his grasp. He felt much more anxiety about
the south than he had felt about the north, and expected Congress to
consult him as to a commander, having made up his mind that Greene was
the man to send. But Congress still believed in Gates, who had been
making trouble for Washington all winter; and so Gates was sent,
and Congress in due time got their lesson, and found once more that
Washington understood men better than they did.

In the north the winter was comparatively uneventful. The spring
passed, and in June Clinton came out and took possession of Stony
Point and Verplanck's Point, and began to fortify them. It looked a
little as if Clinton might intend to get control of the Hudson by
slow approaches, fortifying, and then advancing until he reached West
Point. With this in mind, Washington at once determined to check the
British by striking sharply at one of their new posts. Having made
up his mind, he sent for Wayne and asked him if he would storm Stony
Point. Tradition says that Wayne replied, "I will storm hell, if you
will plan it." A true tradition, probably, in keeping with Wayne's
character, and pleasant to us to-day as showing with a vivid gleam of
rough human speech the utter confidence of the army in their leader,
that confidence which only a great soldier can inspire. So Washington
planned, and Wayne stormed, and Stony Point fell. It was a gallant and
brilliant feat of arms, one of the most brilliant of the war. Over
five hundred prisoners were taken, the guns were carried off, and the
works destroyed, leaving the British to begin afresh with a good deal
of increased caution and respect. Not long after, Harry Lee stormed
Paulus Hook with equal success, and the British were checked and
arrested, if they intended any extensive movement. On the frontier,
Sullivan, after some delays, did his work effectively, ravaging the
Indian towns and reducing them to quiet, thus taking away another
annoyance and danger.

In these various ways Clinton's circle of activity was steadily
narrowed, but it may be doubted whether he had any coherent plan.
The principal occupation of the British was to send out marauding
expeditions and cut off outlying parties. Tryon burned and pillaged
in Connecticut, Matthews in Virginia, and others on a smaller scale
elsewhere in New Jersey and New York. The blundering stupidity of this
system of warfare was only equaled by its utter brutality. Houses were
burned, peaceful villages went up in smoke, women and children were
outraged, and soldiers were bayoneted after they had surrendered.
These details of the Revolution are wellnigh forgotten now, but when
the ear is wearied with talk about English generosity and love of fair
play, it is well to turn back and study the exploits of Tryon, and it
is not amiss in the same connection to recall that English budgets
contained a special appropriation for scalping-knives, a delicate
attention to the Tories and Indians who were burning and butchering on
the frontier.

Such methods of warfare Washington despised intellectually, and hated
morally. He saw that every raid only hardened the people against
England, and made her cause more hopeless. The misery caused by these
raids angered him, but he would not retaliate in kind, and Wayne
bayoneted no English soldiers after they laid down their arms at Stony
Point. It was enough for Washington to hold fast to the great objects
he had in view, to check Clinton and circumscribe his movements.
Steadfastly he did this through the summer and winter of 1779, which
proved one of the worst that he had yet endured. Supplies did not
come, the army dwindled, and the miseries of Valley Forge were
renewed. Again was repeated the old and pitiful story of appeals to
Congress and the States, and again the undaunted spirit and strenuous
exertions of Washington saved the army and the Revolution from the
internal ruin which was his worst enemy. When the new year began, he
saw that he was again condemned to a defensive campaign, but this made
little difference now, for what he had foreseen in the spring of 1779
became certainty in the autumn. The active war was transferred to the
south, where the chapter of disasters was beginning, and Clinton had
practically given up everything except New York. The war had taken
on the new phase expected by Washington. Weak as he was, he began to
detach troops, and prepared to deal with the last desperate effort of
England to conquer her revolted colonies from the south.



The spring of 1780 was the beginning of a period of inactivity and
disappointment, of diligent effort and frustrated plans. During the
months which ensued before the march to the south, Washington passed
through a stress of harassing anxiety, which was far worse than
anything he had to undergo at any other time. Plans were formed, only
to fail. Opportunities arose, only to pass by unfulfilled. The network
of hostile conditions bound him hand and foot, and it seemed at times
as if he could never break the bonds that held him, or prevent or hold
back the moral, social, and political dissolution going on about him.
With the aid of France, he meant to strike one decisive blow, and end
the struggle. Every moment was of importance, and yet the days and
weeks and months slipped by, and he could get nothing done. He could
neither gain control of the sea, nor gather sufficient forces of his
own, although delay now meant ruin. He saw the British overrun the
south, and he could not leave the Hudson. He was obliged to sacrifice
the southern States, and yet he could get neither ships nor men to
attack New York. The army was starving and mutinous, and he sought
relief in vain. The finances were ruined, Congress was helpless, the
States seemed stupefied. Treason of the most desperate kind suddenly
reared its head, and threatened the very citadel of the Revolution.
These were the days of the war least familiar to posterity. They
are unmarked in the main by action or fighting, and on this dreary
monotony nothing stands out except the black stain of Arnold's
treason. Yet it was the time of all others when Washington had most to
bear. It was the time of all others when his dogged persistence and
unwavering courage alone seemed to sustain the flickering fortunes of
the war.

In April Washington was pondering ruefully on the condition of affairs
at the south. He saw that the only hope of saving Charleston was in
the defense of the bar; and when that became indefensible, he saw that
the town ought to be abandoned to the enemy, and the army withdrawn to
the country. His military genius showed itself again and again in
his perfectly accurate judgment on distant campaigns. He seemed to
apprehend all the conditions at a glance, and although his wisdom
made him refuse to issue orders when he was not on the ground, those
generals who followed his suggestions, even when a thousand miles
away, were successful, and those who disregarded them were not.
Lincoln, commanding at Charleston, was a brave and loyal man, but he
had neither the foresight nor the courage to withdraw to the country,
and then, hovering on the lines of the enemy, to confine them to the
town. He yielded to the entreaties of the citizens and remained, only
to surrender. Washington had retreated from New York, and after five
years of fighting the British still held it, and had gone no further.
He had refused to risk an assault to redeem Philadelphia, at the
expense of much grumbling and cursing, and had then beaten the enemy
when they hastily retreated thence in the following spring. His
cardinal doctrine was that the Revolution depended upon the existence
of the army, and not on the possession of any particular spot of
ground, and his masterly adherence to this theory brought victory,
slowly but surely. Lincoln's very natural inability to grasp it, and
to withstand popular pressure, cost us for a time the southern States
and a great deal of bloody fighting.

In the midst of this anxiety about the south, and when he foresaw the
coming disasters, Washington was cheered and encouraged by the arrival
of Lafayette, whom he loved, and who brought good tidings of his
zealous work for the United States in Paris. An army and a fleet were
on their way to America, with a promise of more to follow. This was
great news indeed. It is interesting to note how Washington took it,
for we see here with unusual clearness the readiness of grasp and
quickness of thought which have been noted before, but which are
not commonly attributed to him. It has been the fashion to treat
Washington as wise and prudent, but as distinctly slow, and when he
was obliged to concentrate public opinion, either military or civil,
or when doubt overhung his course, he moved with great deliberation.
When he required no concentration of opinion, and had made up his
mind, he could strike with a terribly swift decision, as at Trenton
or Monmouth. So when a new situation presented itself he seized with
wonderful rapidity every phase and possibility opened by changed

The moment he learned from Lafayette that the French succors were
actually on the way, he began to lay out plans in a manner which
showed how he had taken in at the first glance every chance and every
contingency. He wrote that the decisive moment was at hand, and that
the French succors would be fatal if not used successfully now.
Congress must improve their methods of administration, and for this
purpose must appoint a small committee to coöperate with him. This
step he demanded, and it was taken at once. Fresh from his interview
with Lafayette, he sent out orders to have inquiries made as to
Halifax and its defenses. Possibly a sudden and telling blow might
be struck there, and nothing should be overlooked. He also wrote to
Lafayette to urge upon the French commander an immediate assault on
New York the moment he landed. Yet despite his thought for New York,
he even then began to see the opportunities which were destined to
develop into Yorktown. He had longed to go to the south before, and
had held back only because he felt that the main army and New York
were still the key of the position, and could not be safely abandoned.
Now, while planning the capture of New York, he asked in a letter
whether the enemy was not more exposed at the southward and therefore
a better subject for a combined attack there. Clearness and precision
of plan as to the central point, joined to a perfect readiness to
change suddenly and strike hard and decisively in a totally different
quarter, are sure marks of the great commander. We can find them all
through the correspondence, but here in May, 1780, they come out with
peculiar vividness. They are qualities arising from a wide foresight,
and from a sure and quick perception. They are not the qualities of a
slow or heavy mind.

On June 1 came the news of the surrender of Charleston and the loss of
the army, which was followed by the return of Clinton to New York. The
southern States lay open now to the enemy, and it was a severe trial
to Washington to be unable to go to their rescue; but with the same
dogged adherence to his ruling idea, he concentrated his attention
on the Hudson with renewed vigilance on account of Clinton's return.
Adversity and prosperity alike were unable to divert him from the
control of the great river and the mastery of the middle States until
he saw conclusive victory elsewhere fairly within his grasp. In the
same unswerving way he pushed on the preparations for what he felt to
be the coming of the decisive campaign and the supreme moment of the
war. To all the governors went urgent letters, calling on the States
to fill their lines in the continental army, and to have their militia
in readiness.

In the midst of these anxieties and preparations, the French arrived
at Newport, bringing a well-equipped army of some five thousand men,
and a small fleet. They brought, too, something quite as important,
in the way of genuine good-will and full intention to do all in their
power for their allies. After a moment's hesitation, born of unlucky
memories, the people of Rhode Island gave De Rochambeau a hearty
welcome, and Washington sent him the most cordial greeting. With the
greeting went the polite but earnest request for immediate action,
together with plans for attacking New York; and, at the same time,
another urgent call went out to the States for men, money, and
supplies. The long-looked-for hour had arrived, a fine French army was
in Newport, a French fleet rode in the harbor, and instead of action,
immediate and effective, the great event marked only the beginning of
a period of delays and disappointment, wearing heart and nerve almost
beyond endurance.

First it appeared that the French ships could not get into New York
harbor. Then there was sickness in the French army. Then the British
menaced Newport, and rapid preparations had to be made to meet that
danger. Then it came out that De Rochambeau was ordered to await the
arrival of the second division of the army, with more ships; and after
due waiting, it was discovered that the aforesaid second division,
with their ships, were securely blockaded by the English fleet at
Brest. On our side it was no better; indeed, it was rather worse.
There was lack of arms and powder. The drafts were made with
difficulty, and the new levies came in slowly. Supplies failed
altogether, and on every hand there was nothing but delay, and ever
fresh delay, and in the midst of it all Washington, wrestling with
sloth and incoherence and inefficiency, trampled down one failure and
disappointment only to encounter another, equally important, equally
petty, and equally harassing.

On August 20 he wrote to Congress a long and most able letter, which
set forth forcibly the evil and perilous condition of affairs. After
reading that letter no man could say that there was not need of the
utmost exertion, and for the expenditure of the last ounce of energy.
In it Washington struck especially at the two delusions with which
the people and their representatives were lulling themselves into
security, and by which they were led to relax their efforts. One was
the belief that England was breaking down; the other, that the arrival
of the French was synonymous with the victorious close of the war.
Washington demonstrated that England still commanded the sea, and that
as long as she did so there was a great advantage on her side. She
was stronger, on the whole, this year than the year before, and her
financial resources were still ample. There was no use in looking for
victory in the weakness of the enemy, and on the other hand, to rely
wholly on France was contemptible as well as foolish. After stating
plainly that the army was on the verge of dissolution, he said: "To me
it will appear miraculous if our affairs can maintain themselves much
longer in their present train. If either the temper or the resources
of the country will not admit of an alteration, we may expect soon
to be reduced to the humiliating condition of seeing the cause of
America, in America, upheld by foreign arms. The generosity of our
allies has a claim to all our confidence and all our gratitude, but
it is neither for the honor of America, nor for the interest of the
common cause, to leave the work entirely to them."

It must have been bitter to Washington above all men, with his high
dignity and keen sense of national honor, to write such words as
these, or make such an argument to any of his countrymen. But it was a
work which the time demanded, and he did it without flinching. Having
thus laid bare the weak places, he proceeded to rehearse once more,
with a weariness we can easily fancy, the old, old lesson as to
organization, a permanent army, and a better system of administration.
This letter neither scolded, nor bewailed, nor desponded, but it told
the truth with great force and vigor. Of course it had but slight
results, comparatively speaking; still it did something, and the final
success of the Revolution is due to the series of strong truth-telling
letters, of which this is an example, as much as to any one thing done
by Washington. There was need of some one, not only to fight battles
and lead armies, but to drive Congress into some sort of harmony, spur
the careless and indifferent to action, arouse the States, and kill
various fatal delusions, and in Washington the robust teller of
unwelcome truths was found.

Still, even the results actually obtained by such letters came but
slowly, and Washington felt that he must strike at all hazards.
Through Lafayette he tried to get De Rochambeau to agree to an
immediate attack on New York. His army was on the very eve of
dissolution, and he began with reason to doubt his own power of
holding it together longer. The finances of the country were going
ever faster to irremediable ruin, and it seemed impossible that
anything could postpone open and avowed bankruptcy. So, with his army
crumbling, mutinous, and half starved, he turned to his one unfailing
resource of fighting, and tried to persuade De Rochambeau to join
him. Under the circumstances, Washington was right to wish to risk a
battle, and De Rochambeau, from his point of view, was equally so in
refusing to take the offensive, unless the second division arrived or
De Guichen came with his fleet, or the English force at New York was

In these debates and delays, mingled with an appeal to De Guichen in
the West Indies, the summer was fast wearing away, and, by way of
addition, early in September came tidings of the battle of Camden,
and the utter rout of Gates's army. Despite his own needs and trials,
Washington's first idea was to stem the current of disaster at the
south, and he ordered the fresh Maryland troops to turn back at once
and march to the Carolinas, but Gates fled so fast and far that it
was some time before anything was heard of him. As more news came of
Camden and its beaten general, Washington wrote to Rutledge that he
should ultimately come southward. Meantime, he could only struggle
with his own difficulties, and rack his brains for men and means to
rescue the south. It must have seemed to Washington, in those lovely
September days, as if fate could not have any worse trials in store,
and that if he could only breast the troubles now surging about him,
he might count on sure and speedy success. Yet the bitterest trial of
all was even then hanging over his head, and with a sort of savage
sarcasm it came upon him in one of those rare moments when he had an
hour of rest and sunshine.

The story of Arnold's treason is easily told. Its romantic side
has made it familiar to all Americans, and given it a factitious
importance. Had it succeeded it would have opened opportunities of
disaster to the American arms, although it would not have affected
the final outcome of the Revolution. As it was it failed, and had no
result whatever. It has passed into history simply as a picturesque
episode, charged with possibilities which attract the imagination, but
having, in itself, neither meaning nor consequences beyond the two
conspirators. To us it is of interest, because it shows Washington in
one of the sharpest and bitterest experiences of his life. Let us see
how he met it and dealt with it.

From the day when the French landed, both De Rochambeau and
Washington had been most anxious to meet. The French general had been
particularly urgent, but it was difficult for Washington to get away.
As he wrote on August 21: "We are about ten miles from the enemy. Our
popular government imposes a necessity of great circumspection. If
any misfortune should happen in my absence, it would be attended with
every inconvenience. I will, however, endeavor if possible, and as
soon as possible, to meet you at some convenient rendezvous." In
accordance with this promise, a few weeks later, he left Greene in
command of the army, and, not without misgivings, started on September
18 to meet De Rochambeau. On his way he had an interview with Arnold,
who came to him to show a letter from the loyalist Colonel Robinson,
and thus disarm suspicion as to his doings. On the 20th, the day when
André and Arnold met to arrange the terms of the sale, Washington was
with De Rochambeau at Hartford. News had arrived, meantime, that De
Guichen had sailed for Europe; the command of the sea was therefore
lost, and the opportunity for action had gone by. There was no need
for further conference, and Washington accordingly set out on his
return at once, two or three days earlier than he had intended.

He was accompanied by his own staff, and by Knox and Lafayette with
their officers. With him, too, went the young Count Dumas, who has
left a description of their journey, and of the popular enthusiasm
displayed in the towns through which they passed. In one village,
which they reached after nightfall, all the people turned out, the
children bearing torches, and men and women hailed Washington as
father, and pressed about him to touch the hem of his garments.
Turning to Dumas he said, "We may be beaten by the English; it is
the chance of war; but there is the army they will never conquer."
Political leaders grumbled, and military officers caballed, but
the popular feeling went out to Washington with a sure and utter
confidence. The people in that little village recognized the great and
unselfish leader as they recognized Lincoln a century later, and from
the masses of the people no one ever heard the cry that Washington was
cold or unsympathetic. They loved him, and believed in him, and such a
manifestation of their devotion touched him deeply. His spirits rose
under the spell of appreciation and affection, always so strong upon
human nature, and he rode away from Fishkill the next morning at
daybreak with a light heart.

The company was pleasant and lively, the morning was fair, and as they
approached Arnold's headquarters at the Robinson house, Washington
turned off to the redoubts by the river, telling the young men that
they were all in love with Mrs. Arnold and would do well to go
straight on and breakfast with her. Hamilton and McHenry followed his
advice, and while they were at breakfast a note was brought to Arnold.
It was the letter of warning from André announcing his capture, which
Colonel Jameson, who ought to have been cashiered for doing it, had
forwarded. Arnold at once left the table, and saying that he was going
to West Point, jumped into his boat and was rowed rapidly down the
river to the British man-of-war. Washington on his arrival was told
that Arnold had gone to the fort, and so after a hasty breakfast he
went over there himself. On reaching West Point no salute broke the
stillness, and no guard turned out to receive him. He was astonished
to learn that his arrival was unexpected, and that Arnold had not been
there for two days. Still unsuspecting he inspected the works, and
then returned.

Meantime, the messenger sent to Hartford with the papers taken on
André reached the Robinson house and delivered them to Hamilton,
together with a letter of confession from André himself. Hamilton read
them, and hurrying out met Washington just coming up from the river.
He took his chief aside, said a few words to him in a low voice, and
they went into the house together. When they came out, Washington
looked as calm as ever, and calling to Lafayette and Knox gave them
the papers, saying simply, "Whom can we trust now?" He dispatched
Hamilton at once to try to intercept Arnold at Verplanck's Point, but
it was too late; the boat had passed, and Arnold was safe on board the
Vulture. This done, Washington bade his staff sit down with him at
dinner, as the general was absent, and Mrs. Arnold was ill in her
room. Dinner over, he immediately set about guarding the post, which
had been so near betrayal. To Colonel Wade at West Point he wrote:
"Arnold has gone to the enemy; you are in command, be vigilant." To
Jameson he sent word to guard André closely. To the colonels and
commanders of various outlying regiments he sent orders to bring up
their troops. Everything was done that should have been done, quickly,
quietly, and without comment. The most sudden and appalling treachery
had failed to shake his nerve, or confuse his mind.

Yet the strong and silent man was wrung to the quick, and when
everything possible had been done, and he had retired to his room, the
guard outside the door heard him marching back and forth through all
the weary night. The one thing he least expected, because he least
understood it, had come to pass. He had been a good and true friend to
the villain who had fled, for Arnold's reckless bravery and dare-devil
fighting had appealed to the strongest passion of his nature, and he
had stood by him always. He had grieved over the refusal of Congress
to promote him in due order and had interceded with ultimate success
in his behalf. He had sympathized with him in his recent troubles
in Philadelphia, and had administered the reprimand awarded by the
court-martial so that rebuke seemed turned to praise. He had sought
to give him every opportunity that a soldier could desire, and had
finally conferred upon him the command of West Point. He had admired
his courage and palliated his misconduct, and now the scoundrel had
turned on him and fled. Mingled with the bitterness of these memories
of betrayed confidence was the torturing ignorance of how far this
base treachery had extended. For all he knew there might be a brood of
traitors about him in the very citadel of America. We can never know
Washington's thoughts at that time, for he was ever silent, but as we
listen in imagination to the sound of the even footfalls which the
guard heard all through that September night, we can dimly guess the
feelings of the strong and passionate nature, wounded and distressed
almost beyond endurance.

There is but little more to tell. The conspiracy stopped with Arnold.
He had no accomplices, and meant to deliver the post and pocket the
booty alone. The British tried to spread the idea that other officers
had been corrupted, but the attempt failed, and Washington's prompt
measures of defense checked any movement against the forts. Every
effort was made by Clinton to save André, but in vain. He was tried
by a court composed of the highest officers in the American service,
among whom was Lafayette. On his own statement, but one decision was
possible. He was condemned as a spy, and as a spy he was sentenced to
be hanged. He made a manly appeal against the manner of his death, and
begged to be shot. Washington declined to interfere, and André went to
the gallows.

The British, at the time, and some of their writers afterwards,
attacked Washington for insisting on this mode of execution, but there
never was an instance in his career when he was more entirely right.
André was a spy and briber, who sought to ruin the American cause
by means of the treachery of an American general. It was a dark and
dangerous game, and he knew that he staked his life on the result. He
failed, and paid the penalty. Washington could not permit, he would
have been grossly and feebly culpable if he had permitted, such an
attempt to pass without extreme punishment. He was generous and
magnanimous, but he was not a sentimentalist, and he punished this
miserable treason, so far as he could reach it, as it deserved. It is
true that André was a man of talent, well-bred and courageous, and of
engaging manners. He deserved all the sympathy and sorrow which he
excited at the time, but nothing more. He was not only technically a
spy, but he had sought his ends by bribery, he had prostituted a flag
of truce, and he was to be richly paid for his work. It was all hire
and salary. No doubt André was patriotic and loyal. Many spies have
been the same, and have engaged in their dangerous exploits from
the highest motives. Nathan Hale, whom the British hanged without
compunction, was as well-born and well-bred as André, and as patriotic
as man could be, and moreover he was a spy and nothing more. André
was a trafficker in bribes and treachery, and however we may pity his
fate, his name has no proper place in the great temple at Westminster,
where all English-speaking people bow with reverence, and only a most
perverted sentimentality could conceive that it was fitting to erect a
monument to his memory in this country.

Washington sent André to the gallows because it was his duty to do so,
but he pitied him none the less, and whatever he may have thought of
the means André employed to effect his end, he made no comment upon
him, except to say that "he met his fate with that fortitude which was
to be expected from an accomplished man and gallant officer." As to
Arnold, he was almost equally silent. When obliged to refer to him he
did so in the plainest and simplest way, and only in a familiar letter
to Laurens do we get a glimpse of his feelings. He wrote: "I am
mistaken if at this time Arnold is undergoing the torment of a mental
hell. He wants feeling. From some traits of his character which have
lately come to my knowledge, he seems to have been so hackneyed in
villainy, and so lost to all sense of honor and shame, that, while his
faculties will enable him to continue his sordid pursuits, there will
be no time for remorse." With this single expression of measureless
contempt, Washington let Arnold drop from his life. The first shock
had touched him to the quick, although it could not shake his steady
mind. Reflection revealed to him the extraordinary baseness of
Arnold's real character, and he cast the thought of him out forever,
content to leave the traitor to the tender mercies of history. The
calmness and dignity, the firmness and deep feeling which Washington
exhibited, are of far more interest than the abortive treason, and
have as real a value now as they had then, when suspicion for a moment
ran riot, and men wondered "whom they could trust."

The treason of Arnold swept like a black cloud across the sky, broke,
and left everything as before. That such a base peril should have
existed was alarming and hateful. That it should have been exploded
harmlessly made all men give a deep sigh of relief. But neither the
treason nor its discovery altered the current of events one jot. The
summer had come and gone. The French had arrived, and no blow had
been struck. There was nothing to show for the campaign but
inaction, disappointment, and the loss of the Carolinas. With the
commander-in-chief, through it all, were ever present two great
questions, getting more portentous and more difficult of solution with
each succeeding day. How he was to keep his army in existence was one,
and how he was to hold the government together was the other. He
had thirteen tired States, a general government almost impotent, a
bankrupt treasury, and a broken credit. The American Revolution had
come down to the question of whether the brain, will, and nerve of one
man could keep the machine going long enough to find fit opportunity
for a final and decisive stroke. Washington had confidence in the
people of the country and in himself, but the difficulties in the way
were huge, and the means of surmounting them slight. There is here
and there a passionate undertone in the letters of this period, which
shows us the moments when the waves of trouble and disaster seemed to
sweep over him. But the feeling passed, or was trampled under
foot, for there was no break in the steady fight against untoward
circumstances, or in the grim refusal to accept defeat.

It is almost impossible now to conceive the actual condition at that
time of every matter of detail which makes military and political
existence possible. No general phrases can do justice to the situation
of the army; and the petty miseries and privations, which made life
unendurable, went on from day to day in ever varying forms. While
Washington was hearing the first ill news from the south and
struggling with the problem on that side, and at the same time was
planning with Lafayette how to take advantage of the French succors,
the means of subsisting his army were wholly giving out. The men
actually had no food. For days, as Washington wrote, there was no meat
at all in camp. Goaded by hunger, a Connecticut regiment mutinied.
They were brought back to duty, but held out steadily for their pay,
which they had not received for five months. Indeed, the whole army
was more or less mutinous, and it was only by the utmost tact that
Washington kept them from wholesale desertion. After the summer had
passed and the chance for a decisive campaign had gone with it, the
excitement of expected action ceased to sustain the men, and the
unclothed, unpaid, unfed soldiers began again to get restive. We can
imagine what the condition of the rank and file must have been when
we find that Washington himself could not procure an express from
the quartermaster-general, and was obliged to send a letter to the
Minister of France by the unsafe and slow medium of the post. He was
expected to carry on a war against a rich and powerful enemy, and he
could not even pay a courier to carry his dispatches.

With the commander-in-chief thus straitened, the sufferings of the
men grew to be intolerable, and the spirit of revolt which had been
checked through the summer began again to appear. At last, in January,
1781, it burst all the bounds. The Pennsylvania line mutinied and
threatened Congress. Attempts on the part of the English to seduce
them failed, but they remained in a state of open rebellion. The
officers were powerless, and it looked as if the disaffection would
spread, and the whole army go to pieces in the very face of the enemy.
Washington held firm, and intended in his unshaken way to bring them
back to their duty without yielding in a dangerous fashion. But the
government of Pennsylvania, at last thoroughly frightened, rushed into
the field, and patched up a compromise which contained most perilous
concessions. The natural consequence was a fresh mutiny in the New
Jersey line, and this time Washington determined that he would not be
forestalled. He sent forward at once some regiments of loyal troops,
suppressed the mutiny suddenly and with a strong hand, and hanged
two of the ringleaders. The difficulty was conquered, and discipline

To take this course required great boldness, for these mutinies were
of no ordinary character. In the first place, it was impossible to
tell whether any troops would do their duty against their fellows, and
failure would have been fatal. In the second place, the grievances
of the soldiers were very great, and their complaints were entirely
righteous. Washington felt the profoundest sympathy with his men, and
it was no easy matter to maintain order with soldiers tried almost
beyond endurance, against their comrades whose claims were just. Two
things saved the army. One was Washington's great influence with the
men and their utter belief in him. The other was the quality of
the men themselves. Lafayette said they were the most patient and
patriotic soldiers the world had seen, and it is easy to believe him.
The wonder is, not that they mutinied when they did, but that the
whole army had not mutinied and abandoned the struggle years before.
The misfortunes and mistakes of the Revolution, to whomever due, were
in no respect to be charged to the army, and the conduct of the troops
through all the dreary months of starvation and cold and poverty is
a proof of the intelligent patriotism and patient courage of the
American soldier which can never be gainsaid. To fight successful
battles is the test of a good general, but to hold together a
suffering army through years of unexampled privations, to meet endless
failure of details with unending expedients, and then to fight battles
and plan campaigns, shows a leader who was far more than a good
general. Such multiplied trials and difficulties are overcome only by
a great soldier who with small means achieves large results, and by a
great man who by force of will and character can establish with all
who follow him a power which no miseries can conquer, and no suffering

The height reached by the troubles in the army and their menacing
character had, however, a good as well as a bad side. They penetrated
the indifference and carelessness of both Congress and the States.
Gentlemen in the confederate and local administrations and
legislatures woke up to a realizing sense that the dissolution of the
army meant a general wreck, in which their own necks would be in very
considerable danger; and they also had an uneasy feeling that starving
and mutinous soldiers were very uncertain in taking revenge.
The condition of the army gave a sudden and piercing reality to
Washington's indignant words to Mathews on October 4: "At a time when
public harmony is so essential, when we should aid and assist each
other with all our abilities, when our hearts should be open to
information and our hands ready to administer relief, to find
distrusts and jealousies taking possession of the mind and a party
spirit prevailing affords a most melancholy reflection, and forebodes
no good." The hoarse murmur of impending mutiny emphasized strongly
the words written on the same day to Duane: "The history of the war is
a history of false hopes and temporary expedients. Would to God they
were to end here."

The events in the south, too, had a sobering effect. The congressional
general Gates had not proved a success. His defeat at Camden had
been terribly complete, and his flight had been too rapid to inspire
confidence in his capacity for recuperation. The members of Congress
were thus led to believe that as managers of military matters they
left much to be desired; and when Washington, on October 11, addressed
to them one of his long and admirable letters on reorganization, it
was received in a very chastened spirit. They had listened to many
such letters before, and had benefited by them always a little,
but danger and defeat gave this one peculiar point. They therefore
accepted the situation, and adopted all the suggestions of the
commander-in-chief. They also in the same reasonable frame of mind
determined that Washington should select the next general for the
southern army. A good deal could have been saved had this decision
been reached before; but even now it was not too late. October 14,
Washington appointed Greene to this post of difficulty and danger, and
Greene's assumption of the command marks the turning-point in the
tide of disaster, and the beginning of the ultimate expulsion of the
British from the only portion of the colonies where they had made a
tolerable campaign.

The uses of adversity, moreover, did not stop here. They extended to
the States, which began to grow more vigorous in action, and to show
signs of appreciating the gravity of the situation and the duties
which rested upon them. This change and improvement both in Congress
and the States came none too soon. Indeed, as it was, the results of
their renewed efforts were too slow to be felt at once by the army,
and mutinies broke out even after the new spirit had shown itself.
Washington also sent Knox to travel from State to State, to see the
various governors, and lay the situation of affairs before them; yet
even with such a text it was a difficult struggle to get the States to
make quick and strong exertions sufficient to prevent a partial mutiny
from becoming a general revolt. The lesson, however, had had its
effect. For the moment, at least, the cause was saved. The worst
defects were temporarily remedied, and something was done toward
supplies and subsistence. The army would be able to exist through
another winter, and face another summer. Then the next campaign might
bring the decisive moment; but still, who could tell? Years, instead
of months, might yet elapse before the end was reached, and then no
man could say what the result would be.

Washington saw plainly enough that the relief and improvement were
only temporary, and that carelessness and indifference were likely to
return, and be more case-hardened than ever. He was too strong and
sane a man to waste time in fighting shadows or in nourishing himself
with hopes. He dealt with the present as he found it, and fought down
difficulties as they sprang up in his path. But he was also a man of
extraordinary prescience, with a foresight as penetrating as it was
judicious. It was, perhaps, his most remarkable gift, and while
he controlled the present he studied the future. Outside of the
operations of armies, and the plans of campaign, he saw, as the
war progressed, that the really fatal perils were involved in the
political system. At the beginning of the Revolution there was no
organization outside the local state governments. Congress voted and
resolved in favor of anything that seemed proper, and the States
responded to their appeal. In the first flush of revolution, and the
first excitement of freedom, this was all very well. But as the
early passion cooled, and a long and stubborn struggle, replete with
sufferings and defeat, developed itself, the want of system began to

One of the earliest tasks of Congress was the formation of articles
for a general government, but state jealousies, and the delays
incident to the movements of thirteen sovereignties, prevented their
adoption until the war was nearly over. Washington, suffering from all
the complicated troubles of jarring States and general incoherence,
longed for and urged the adoption of the act of confederation. He saw
sooner than any one else, and with more painful intensity, the need of
better union and more energetic government. As the days and months of
difficulties and trials went by, the suggestions on this question in
his letters grew more frequent and more urgent, and they showed the
insight of the statesman and practical man of affairs. How much he
hoped from the final acceptance of the act of confederation it is not
easy to say, but he hoped for some improvement certainly. When at last
it went into force, he saw almost at once that it would not do, and in
the spring of 1780 he knew it to be a miserable failure. The system
which had been established was really no better than that which had
preceded it. With alarm and disgust Washington found himself flung
back on what he called "the pernicious state system," and with worse
prospects than ever.

Up to the time of the Revolution he had never given attention to the
philosophy or science of government, but when it fell to his lot to
fight the war for independence he perceived almost immediately the
need of a strong central government, and his suggestions, scattered
broadcast among his correspondents, manifested a knowledge of the
conditions of the political problem possessed by no one else at that
period. When he was satisfied of the failure of the confederation, his
efforts to improve the existing administration multiplied, and he soon
had the assistance of his aide-de-camp, Alexander Hamilton, who then
wrote, although little more than a boy, his remarkable letters on
government and finance, which were the first full expositions of the
political necessities from which sprang the Constitution of the United
States. Washington was vigorous in action and methodical in business,
while the system of thirteen sovereignties was discordant, disorderly,
and feeble in execution. He knew that the vices inherent in the
confederation were ineradicable and fatal, and he also knew that it
was useless to expect any comprehensive reforms until the war was
over. The problem before him was whether the existing machine could be
made to work until the British were finally driven from the country.
The winter of 1780-81 was marked, therefore, on his part, by an urgent
striving for union, and by unceasing efforts to mend and improve the
rickety system of the confederation. It was with this view that he
secured the dispatch of Laurens, whom he carefully instructed, to get
money in Paris; for he was satisfied that it was only possible to tide
over the financial difficulties by foreign loans from those interested
in our success. In the same spirit he worked to bring about
the establishment of executive departments, which was finally
accomplished, after delays that sorely tried his patience. These two
cases were but the most important among many of similar character, for
he was always at work on these perplexing questions.

It is an astonishing proof of the strength and power of his mind that
he was able to solve the daily questions of army existence, to deal
with the allies, to plan attacks on New York, to watch and scheme for
the southern department, to cope with Arnold's treason, with mutiny,
and with administrative imbecility, and at the very same time consider
the gravest governmental problems, and send forth wise suggestions,
which met the exigencies of the moment, and laid the foundation of
much that afterwards appeared in the Constitution of the United
States. He was not a speculator on government, and after his fashion
he was engaged in dealing with the questions of the day and hour. Yet
the ideas that he put forth in this time of confusion and conflict and
expedients were so vitally sound and wise that they deserve the most
careful study in relation to after events. The political trials
and difficulties of this period were the stern teachers from whom
Washington acquired the knowledge and experience which made him the
principal agent in bringing about the formation and adoption of the
Constitution of the United States. We shall have occasion to examine
these opinions and views more closely when they were afterwards
brought into actual play. At this point it is only necessary to trace
the history of the methods by which he solved the problem of the
Revolution before the political system of the confederation became
absolutely useless.



The failure to accomplish anything in the north caused Washington,
as the year drew to a close, to turn his thoughts once more toward a
combined movement at the south. In pursuance of this idea, he devised
a scheme of uniting with the Spaniards in the seizure of Florida, and
of advancing thence through Georgia to assail the English in the rear.
De Rochambeau did not approve the plan, and it was abandoned; but the
idea of a southern movement was still kept steadily in sight. The
governing thought now was, not to protect this place or that, but to
cast aside everything else in order to strike one great blow which
would finish the war. Where he could do this, time alone would show,
but if one follows the correspondence closely, it is apparent that
Washington's military instinct turned more and more toward the south.

In that department affairs changed their aspect rapidly. January 17,
Morgan won his brilliant victory at the Cowpens, withdrew in good
order with his prisoners, and united his army with that of Greene.
Cornwallis was terribly disappointed by this unexpected reverse, but
he determined to push on, defeat the combined American army, and then
join the British forces on the Chesapeake. Greene was too weak to risk
a battle, and made a masterly retreat of two hundred miles before
Cornwallis, escaping across the Dan only twelve hours ahead of the
enemy. The moment the British moved away, Greene recrossed the river
and hung upon their rear. For a month he kept in their neighborhood,
checking the rising of the Tories, and declining battle. At last he
received reinforcements, felt strong enough to stand his ground, and
on March 15 the battle of Guilford Court House was fought. It was a
sharp and bloody fight; the British had the advantage, and Greene
abandoned the field, bringing off his army in good order. Cornwallis,
on his part, had suffered so heavily, however, that his victory turned
to ashes. On the 18th he was in full retreat, with Greene in hot
chase, and it was not until the 28th that he succeeded in getting over
the Deep River and escaping to Wilmington. Thence he determined to
push on and transfer the seat of war to the Chesapeake. Greene, with
the boldness and quickness which showed him to be a soldier of a high
order, now dropped the pursuit and turned back to fight the British in
detachments and free the southern States. There is no need to follow
him in the brilliant operations which ensued, and by which he achieved
this result. It is sufficient to say here that he had altered the
whole aspect of the war, forced Cornwallis into Virginia within reach
of Washington, and begun the work of redeeming the Carolinas.

The troops which Cornwallis intended to join had been sent in
detachments to Virginia during the winter and spring. The first body
had arrived early in January under the command of Arnold, and a
general marauding and ravaging took place. A little later General
Phillips arrived with reinforcements and took command. On May 13,
General Phillips died, and a week later Cornwallis appeared at
Petersburg, assumed control, and sent Arnold back to New York.

Meantime Washington, though relieved by Morgan's and Greene's
admirable work, had a most trying and unhappy winter and spring. He
sent every man he could spare, and more than he ought to have spared,
to Greene, and he stripped himself still further when the invasion of
Virginia began. But for the most part he was obliged, from lack of any
naval strength, to stand helplessly by and see more and more British
troops sent to the south, and witness the ravaging of his native
State, without any ability to prevent it. To these grave trials was
added a small one, which stung him to the quick. The British came up
the Potomac, and Lund Washington, in order to preserve Mount Vernon,
gave them refreshments, and treated them in a conciliatory manner. He
meant well but acted ill, and Washington wrote:--

"It would have been a less painful circumstance to me to have heard
that, in consequence of your non-compliance with their request, they
had burnt my house and laid the plantation in ruins. You ought to have
considered yourself as my representative, and should have reflected
on the bad example of communicating with the enemy, and making a
voluntary offer of refreshments to them, with a view to prevent a

What a clear glimpse this little episode gives of the earnestness of
the man who wrote these lines. He could not bear the thought that any
favor should be shown him on any pretense. He was ready to take his
share of the marauding and pillaging with the rest, but he was deeply
indignant at the idea that any one representing him should even appear
to ask a favor of the British.

Altogether, the spring of 1781 was very trying, for there was nothing
so galling to Washington as to be unable to fight. He wanted to get to
the south, but he was bound hand and foot by lack of force. Yet the
obstacles did not daunt or depress him. He wrote in June that he felt
sure of bringing the war to a happy conclusion, and in the division of
the British forces he saw his opportunity taking shape. Greene had
the southern forces well in hand. Cornwallis was equally removed from
Clinton on the north and Rawdon on the south, and had come within
reach; so that if he could but have naval strength he could fall upon
Cornwallis with superior force and crush him. In naval matters fortune
thus far had dealt hardly with him, yet he could not but feel that
a French fleet of sufficient force must soon come. He grasped the
situation with a master-hand, and began to prepare the way. Still he
kept his counsel strictly to himself, and set to work to threaten, and
if possible to attack, New York, not with much hope of succeeding
in any such attempt, but with a view of frightening Clinton and of
inducing him either to withdraw troops from Virginia, or at least to
withhold reinforcements. As he began his Virginian campaign in this
distant and remote fashion at the mouth of the Hudson, he was cheered
by news that De Grasse, the French admiral, had sent recruits to
Newport, and intended to come himself to the American coast. He at
once wrote De Grasse not to determine absolutely to come to New
York, hinting that it might prove more advisable to operate to the
southward. It required great tact to keep the French fleet where he
needed it, and yet not reveal his intentions, and nothing showed
Washington's foresight more plainly than the manner in which he made
the moves in this campaign, when miles of space and weeks of time
separated him from the final object of his plans. To trace this
mastery of details, and the skill with which every point was
remembered and covered, would require a long and minute narrative.
They can only be indicated here sufficiently to show how exactly each
movement fitted in its place, and how all together brought the great

Fortified by the good news from De Grasse, Washington had an interview
with De Rochambeau, and effected a junction with the French army. Thus
strengthened, he opened his campaign against Cornwallis by beginning a
movement against Clinton. The troops were massed above the city, and
an effort was made to surprise the upper posts and destroy Delancey's
partisan corps. The attempt, although well planned, failed of its
immediate purpose, giving Washington opportunity only for an effective
reconnoissance of the enemy's positions. But the move was perfectly
successful in its real and indirect object. Clinton was alarmed. He
began to write to Cornwallis that troops should be returned to New
York, and he gave up absolutely the idea of sending more men to
Virginia. Having thus convinced Clinton that New York was menaced,
Washington then set to work to familiarize skillfully the minds of his
allies and of Congress with the idea of a southern campaign. With this
end in view, he wrote on August 2 that, if more troops arrived from
Virginia, New York would be impracticable, and that the next point
was the south. The only contingency, as he set forth, was the
all-important one of obtaining naval superiority. August 15 this
essential condition gave promise of fulfillment, for on that day
definite news arrived that De Grasse with his fleet was on his way to
the Chesapeake. Without a moment's hesitation, Washington began to
move, and at the same time he sent an urgent letter to the New England
governors, demanding troops with an earnestness which he had never

In Virginia, meanwhile, during these long midsummer days, while
Washington was waiting and planning, Cornwallis had been going up and
down, harrying, burning, and plundering. His cavalry had scattered the
legislature, and driven Governor Jefferson in headlong flight over the
hills, while property to the value of more than three millions had
been destroyed. Lafayette, sent by Washington to maintain the American
cause, had been too weak to act decisively, but he had been true to
his general's teaching, and, refusing battle, had hung upon the flanks
of the British and harassed and checked them. Joined by Wayne, he had
fought an unsuccessful engagement at Green Springs, but brought off
his army, and with steady pertinacity followed the enemy to the coast,
gathering strength as he moved. Now, when all was at last ready,
Washington began to draw his net about Cornwallis, whom he had been
keenly watching during the victorious marauding of the summer. On the
news of the coming of the French fleet, he wrote to Lafayette to be
prepared to join him when he reached Virginia, to retain Wayne, who
intended to join Greene, and to stop Cornwallis at all hazards, if he
attempted to go southward.

Cornwallis, however, had no intention of moving. He had seen the peril
of his position, and had wished to withdraw to Charleston; but the
ministry, highly pleased with his performances, wished him to remain
on the Chesapeake, and decisive orders came to him to take a permanent
post in that region. Clinton, moreover, was jealous of Cornwallis,
and, impressed and deceived by Washington's movements, he not only
sent no reinforcements, but detained three thousand Hessians, who had
lately arrived. Cornwallis, therefore, had no choice, and with much
writing for aid, and some protesting, he obeyed his orders, planted
himself at Yorktown and Gloucester, and proceeded to fortify, while
Lafayette kept close watch upon him. Cornwallis was a good soldier and
a clever man, suffering, as Burgoyne did, from a stupid ministry and
a dull and jealous commander-in-chief. Thus hampered and burdened,
he was ready to fall a victim to the operations of a really great
general, whom his official superiors in England undervalued and

August 17, as soon as he had set his own machinery in motion,
Washington wrote to De Grasse to meet him in the Chesapeake. He was
working now more anxiously and earnestly than at any time in the
Revolution, not merely because he felt that success depended on the
blow, but because he descried a new and alarming danger. He had
perceived it in June, and the idea pursued him until all was over, and
kept recurring in his letters during this strained and eager summer.
To Washington's eyes, watching campaigns and government at home and
the politics of Europe abroad, the signs of exhaustion, of mediation,
and of coming peace across the Atlantic were plainly visible. If peace
should come as things then were, America would get independence, and
be shorn of many of her most valuable possessions. The sprawling
British campaign of maraud and plunder, so bad in a military point of
view, and about to prove fatal to Cornwallis, would, in case of sudden
cessation of hostilities, be capable of the worst construction. Time,
therefore, had become of the last importance. The decisive blow must
be given at once, and before the slow political movements could come
to a head. On July 14, Washington had his plan mapped out. He wrote in
his diary:--

"Matters having now come to a crisis, and a decided plan to be
determined on, I was obliged--from the shortness of Count De Grasse's
promised stay on this coast, the apparent disinclination of their
naval officers to force the harbor of New York, and the feeble
compliance of the States with my requisitions for men hitherto, and
the little prospect of greater exertions in future--to give up all
ideas of attacking New York, and instead thereof to remove the French
troops and a detachment from the American army to the Head of Elk, to
be transported to Virginia for the purpose of coöperating with the
force from the West Indies against the troops in that State."

Like most of Washington's plans, this one was clear-cut and direct,
and looks now simple enough, but at the moment it was hedged with
almost inconceivable difficulties at every step. The ever-present and
ever-growing obstacles at home were there as usual. Appeals to Morris
for money were met by the most discouraging responses, and the States
seemed more lethargic than ever. Neither men nor supplies could be
obtained; neither transportation nor provision for the march could be
promised. Then, too, in addition to all this, came a wholly new set of
stumbling-blocks arising among the allies. Everything hinged on the
naval force. Washington needed it for a short time only; but for that
crucial moment he must have not only superiority but supremacy at sea.
Every French ship that could be reached must be in the Chesapeake, and
Washington had had too many French fleets slip away from him at the
last moment and bring everything to naught to take any chances in this
direction. To bring about his naval supremacy required the utmost
tact and good management, and that he succeeded is one of the
chief triumphs of the campaign. In fact, at the very outset he was
threatened in this quarter with a serious defection. De Barras, with
the squadron of the American station, was at Boston, and it was
essential that he should be united with De Grasse at Yorktown. But De
Barras was nettled by the favoritism which had made De Grasse, his
junior in service, his superior in command. He determined therefore to
take advantage of his orders and sail away to the north to Nova Scotia
and Newfoundland, and leave De Grasse to fight it out alone. It is a
hard thing to beat an opposing army, but it is equally hard to bring
human jealousies and ambitions into the narrow path of self-sacrifice
and subordination. Alarmed beyond measure at the suggested departure
of the Boston squadron, Washington wrote a letter, which De Rochambeau
signed with him, urging De Barras to turn his fleet toward the
Chesapeake. It was a skillfully drawn missive, an adroit mingling of
appeals to honor and sympathy and of vigorous demands to perform an
obvious duty. The letter did its work, the diplomacy of Washington was
successful, and De Barras suppressed his feelings of disappointment,
and agreed to go to the Chesapeake and serve under De Grasse.

This point made, Washington pushed on his preparations, or rather
pushed on despite his lack of preparations, and on August 17, as has
been said, wrote to De Grasse to meet him in the Chesapeake. He left
the larger part of his own troops with Heath, to whom in carefully
drawn instructions he intrusted the grave duty of guarding the Hudson
and watching the British in New York. This done, he gathered his
forces together, and on August 21 the army started on its march to the
south. On the 23d and 24th it crossed the Hudson, without annoyance
from the British of any kind. Washington had threatened New York so
effectively, and manoeuvred so successfully, that Clinton could not be
shaken in his belief that the real object of the Americans was his own
army; and it was not until September 6 that he fully realized that his
enemy was going to the south, and that Cornwallis was in danger. He
even then hesitated and delayed, but finally dispatched Admiral Graves
with the fleet to the Chesapeake. The Admiral came upon the French
early on September 5, the very day that Washington was rejoicing in
the news that De Grasse had arrived in the Chesapeake and had landed
St. Simon and three thousand men to support Lafayette. As soon as the
English fleet appeared, the French, although many of their men were
on shore, sailed out and gave battle. An indecisive action ensued, in
which the British suffered so much that five days later they burned
one of their frigates and withdrew to New York. De Grasse returned to
his anchorage, to find that De Barras had come in from Newport with
eight ships and ten transports carrying ordnance.

While everything was thus moving well toward the consummation of the
campaign, Washington, in the midst of his delicate and important work
of breaking camp and beginning his rapid march to the south, was
harassed by the ever-recurring difficulties of the feeble and bankrupt
government of the confederation. He wrote again and again to Morris
for money, and finally got some. His demands for men and supplies
remained almost unheeded, but somehow he got provisions enough to
start. He foresaw the most pressing need, and sent messages in all
directions for shipping to transport his army down the Chesapeake. No
one responded, but still he gathered the transports; at first a few,
then more, and finally, after many delays, enough to move his army to
Yorktown. The spectacle of such a struggle, so heroically made, one
would think, might have inspired every soul on the continent with
enthusiasm; but at this very moment, while Washington was breaking
camp and marching southward, Congress was considering the reduction
of the army!--which was as appropriate as it would have been for the
English Parliament to have reduced the navy on the eve of Trafalgar,
or for Lincoln to have advised the restoration of the army to a peace
footing while Grant was fighting in the Wilderness. The fact was that
the Continental Congress was weakened in ability and very tired in
point of nerve and will-power. They saw that peace was coming, and
naturally thought that the sooner they could get it the better. They
entirely failed to see, as Washington saw, that in a too sudden peace
lurked the danger of the _uti possidetis_, and that the mere fact of
peace by no means implied necessarily complete success. They did not,
of course, effect their reductions, but they remained inert, and so
for the most part did the state governments, becoming drags upon
the wheels of war instead of helpers to the man who was driving the
Revolution forward to its goal. Both state and confederate governments
still meant well, but they were worn out and relaxed. Yet over and
through all these heavy masses of misapprehension and feebleness,
Washington made his way. Here again all that can be said is that
somehow or other the thing was done. We can take account of the
resisting forces, but we cannot tell just how they were dealt with.
We only know that one strong man trampled them down and got what he
wanted done.

Pushing on after the joyful news of the arrival of De Grasse had been
received, Washington left the army to go by water from the Head of
Elk, and hurried to Mount Vernon, accompanied by De Rochambeau. It
was six years since he had seen his home. He had left it a Virginian
colonel, full of forebodings for his country, with a vast and unknown
problem awaiting solution at his hands. He returned to it the first
soldier of his day, after six years of battle and trial, of victory
and defeat, on the eve of the last and crowning triumph. As he paused
on the well-beloved spot, and gazed across the broad and beautiful
river at his feet, thoughts and remembrances must have come thronging
to his mind which it is given to few men to know. He lingered there
two days, and then pressing on again, was in Williamsburg on the 14th,
and on the 17th went on board the Ville de Paris to congratulate De
Grasse on his victory, and to concert measures for the siege.

The meeting was most agreeable. All had gone well, all promised well,
and everything was smiling and harmonious. Yet they were on the eve
of the greatest peril which occurred in the campaign. Washington
had managed to scrape together enough transports; but his almost
unassisted labors had taken time, and delay had followed. Then the
transports were slow, and winds and tides were uncertain, and there
was further delay. The interval permitted De Grasse to hear that the
British fleet had received reinforcements, and to become nervous in
consequence. He wanted to get out to sea; the season was advancing,
and he was anxious to return to the West Indies; and above all he
did not wish to fight in the bay. He therefore proposed firmly and
vigorously to leave two ships in the river, and stand out to sea with
his fleet. The Yorktown campaign began to look as if it had reached
its conclusion. Once again Washington wrote one of his masterly
letters of expostulation and remonstrance, and once more he prevailed,
aided by the reasoning and appeals of Lafayette, who carried the
message. De Grasse consented to stay, and Washington, grateful beyond
measure, wrote him that "a great mind knows how to make personal
sacrifice to secure an important general good." Under the
circumstances, and in view of the general truth of this complimentary
sentiment, one cannot help rejoicing that De Grasse had "a great

At all events he stayed, and thereafter everything went well. The
northern army landed at Williamsburg and marched for Yorktown on the
28th. They reconnoitred the outlying works the next day, and prepared
for an immediate assault; but in the night Cornwallis abandoned all
his outside works and withdrew into the town. Washington thereupon
advanced at once, and prepared for the siege. On the night of the 5th,
the trenches were opened only six hundred yards from the enemy's line,
and in three days the first parallel was completed. On the 11th the
second parallel was begun, and on the 14th the American batteries
played on the two advanced redoubts with such effect that the breaches
were pronounced practicable. Washington at once ordered an assault.
The smaller redoubt was stormed by the Americans under Hamilton and
taken in ten minutes. The other, larger and more strongly garrisoned,
was carried by the French with equal gallantry, after half an hour's
fighting. During the assault Washington stood in an embrasure of the
grand battery watching the advance of the men. He was always given to
exposing himself recklessly when there was fighting to be done, but
not when he was only an observer. This night, however, he was much
exposed to the enemy's fire. One of his aides, anxious and disturbed
for his safety, told him that the place was perilous. "If you think
so," was the quiet answer, "you are at liberty to step back." The
moment was too exciting, too fraught with meaning, to think of peril.
The old fighting spirit of Braddock's field was unchained for the last
time. He would have liked to head the American assault, sword in hand,
and as he could not do that he stood as near his troops as he could,
utterly regardless of the bullets whistling in the air about him. Who
can wonder at his intense excitement at that moment? Others saw a
brilliant storming of two outworks, but to Washington the whole
Revolution, and all the labor and thought and conflict of six years
were culminating in the smoke and din on those redoubts, while out of
the dust and heat of the sharp quick fight success was coming. He
had waited long, and worked hard, and his whole soul went out as he
watched the troops cross the abattis and scale the works. He could
have no thought of danger then, and when all was over he turned to
Knox and said, "The work is done, and well done. Bring me my horse."

Washington was not mistaken. The work was indeed done. Tarleton early
in the siege had dashed out against Lauzun on the other side of the
river and been repulsed. Cornwallis had been forced back steadily into
the town, and his redoubts, as soon as taken, were included in the
second parallel. A sortie to retake the redoubts failed, and a wild
attempt to transport the army across the river was stopped by a gale
of wind. On the 17th Cornwallis was compelled to face much bloody and
useless slaughter, or to surrender. He chose the latter course, and
after opening negotiations and trying in vain to obtain delay, finally
signed the capitulation and gave up the town. The next day the troops
marched out and laid down their arms. Over 7000 British and Hessian
troops surrendered. It was a crushing defeat. The victorious army
consisted in round numbers of 5500 continentals, 3500 militia, and
7000 French, and they were backed by the French fleet with entire
control of the sea.

When Washington had once reached Yorktown with his fleet and army, the
campaign was really at an end, for he held Cornwallis in an iron grip
from which there was no escape. The masterly part of the Yorktown
campaign lay in the manner in which it was brought about, in the
management of so many elements, and in the rapidity of movement which
carried an army without any proper supplies or means of transportation
from New York to the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. The control of the sea
had been the great advantage of the British from the beginning, and
had enabled them to achieve all that they ever gained. With these odds
against him, with no possibility of obtaining a fleet of his own,
Washington saw that his only chance of bringing the war to a quick and
successful issue was by means of the French. It is difficult to manage
allied troops. It is still more difficult to manage allied troops and
an allied fleet. Washington did both with infinite address, and won.
The chief factor of his success in this direction lay in his profound
personal influence on all men with whom he came in contact. His
courtesy and tact were perfect, but he made no concessions, and
never stooped. The proudest French noble who came here shrank from
disagreement with the American general, and yet not one of them had
anything but admiration and respect to express when they wrote of
Washington in their memoirs, diaries, and letters. He impressed them
one and all with a sense of power and greatness which could not
be disregarded. Many times he failed to get the French fleet in
coöperation, but finally it came. Then he put forth all his influence
and all his address, and thus he got De Barras to the Chesapeake, and
kept De Grasse at Yorktown.

This was one side of the problem, the most essential because
everything hinged on the fleet, but by no means the most harassing.
The doubt about the control of the sea made it impossible to work
steadily for a sufficient time toward any one end. It was necessary to
have a plan for every contingency, and be ready to adopt any one of
several plans at short notice. With a foresight and judgment that
never failed, Washington planned an attack on New York, another on
Yorktown, and a third on Charleston. The division of the British
forces gave him his opportunity of striking at one point with an
overwhelming force, but there was always the possibility of their
suddenly reuniting. In the extreme south he felt reasonably sure that
Greene would hold Rawdon, but he was obliged to deceive and amuse
Clinton, and at the same time, with a ridiculously inferior force,
to keep Cornwallis from marching to South Carolina. Partly by good
fortune, partly by skill, Cornwallis was kept in Virginia, while by
admirably managed feints and threats Clinton was held in New York in
inactivity. When the decisive moment came, and it was evident that the
control of the sea was to be determined in the Chesapeake, Washington,
overriding all sorts of obstacles, moved forward, despite a bankrupt
and inert government, with a rapidity and daring which have been
rarely equaled. It was a bold stroke to leave Clinton behind at the
mouth of the Hudson, and only the quickness with which it was done,
and the careful deception which had been practiced, made it possible.
Once at Yorktown, there was little more to do. The combination was
so perfect, and the judgment had been so sure, that Cornwallis was
crushed as helplessly as if he had been thrown before the car of
Juggernaut. There was really but little fighting, for there was no
opportunity to fight. Washington held the British in a vice, and the
utter helplessness of Cornwallis, the entire inability of such a good
and gallant soldier even to struggle, are the most convincing proofs
of the military genius of his antagonist.



Fortitude in misfortune is more common than composure in the hour
of victory. The bitter medicine of defeat, however unpalatable,
is usually extremely sobering, but the strong new wine of success
generally sets the heads of poor humanity spinning, and leads often to
worse results than folly. The capture of Cornwallis was enough to have
turned the strongest head, for the moment at least, but it had no
apparent effect upon the man who had brought it to pass, and who, more
than any one else, knew what it meant. Unshaken and undismayed in the
New Jersey winter, and among the complicated miseries of Valley Forge,
Washington turned from the spectacle of a powerful British army laying
down their arms as coolly as if he had merely fought a successful
skirmish, or repelled a dangerous raid. He had that rare gift, the
attribute of the strongest minds, of leaving the past to take care of
itself. He never fretted over what could not be undone, nor dallied
among pleasant memories while aught still remained to do. He wrote to
Congress in words of quiet congratulation, through which pierced the
devout and solemn sense of the great deed accomplished, and then,
while the salvos of artillery were still booming in his ears, and the
shouts of victory were still rising about him, he set himself, after
his fashion, to care for the future and provide for the immediate
completion of his work.

He wrote to De Grasse, urging him to join in an immediate movement
against Charleston, such as he had already suggested, and he presented
in the strongest terms the opportunities now offered for the sudden
and complete ending of the struggle. But the French admiral was by no
means imbued with the tireless and determined spirit of Washington. He
had had his fill even of victory, and was so eager to get back to the
West Indies, where he was to fall a victim to Rodney, that he would
not even transport troops to Wilmington. Thus deprived of the force
which alone made comprehensive and extended movements possible,
Washington returned, as he had done so often before, to making the
best of cramped circumstances and straitened means. He sent all the
troops he could spare to Greene, to help him in wresting the southern
States from the enemy, the work to which he had in vain summoned De
Grasse. This done, he prepared to go north. On his way he was stopped
at Eltham by the illness and death of his wife's son, John Custis, a
blow which he felt severely, and which saddened the great victory he
had just achieved. Still the business of the State could not wait on
private grief. He left the house of mourning, and, pausing for an
instant only at Mount Vernon, hastened on to Philadelphia. At the
very moment of victory, and while honorable members were shaking each
other's hands and congratulating each other that the war was now
really over, the commander-in-chief had fallen again to writing them
letters in the old strain, and was once more urging them to keep up
the army, while he himself gave his personal attention to securing a
naval force for the ensuing year, through the medium of Lafayette.
Nothing was ever finished with Washington until it was really complete
throughout, and he had as little time for rejoicing as he had for
despondency or despair, while a British force still remained in the
country. He probably felt that this was as untoward a time as he had
ever met in a pretty large experience of unsuitable occasions, for
offering sound advice, but he was not deterred thereby from doing it.
This time, however, he was destined to an agreeable disappointment,
for on his arrival at Philadelphia he found an excellent spirit
prevailing in Congress. That body was acting cheerfully on his advice,
it had filled the departments of the government, and set on foot such
measures as it could to keep up the army. So Washington remained for
some time at Philadelphia, helping and counseling Congress in its
work, and writing to the States vigorous letters, demanding pay and
clothing for the soldiers, ever uppermost in his thoughts.

But although Congress was compliant, Washington could not convince
the country of the justice of his views, and of the continued need of
energetic exertion. The steady relaxation of tone, which the strain of
a long and trying war had produced, was accelerated by the brilliant
victory of Yorktown. Washington for his own part had but little trust
in the sense or the knowledge of his enemy. He felt that Yorktown was
decisive, but he also thought that Great Britain would still struggle
on, and that her talk of peace was very probably a mere blind, to
enable her to gain time, and, by taking advantage of our relaxed and
feeble condition, to strike again in hope of winning back all that had
been lost. He therefore continued his appeals in behalf of the
army, and reiterated everywhere the necessity for fresh and ample

As late as May 4 he wrote sharply to the States for men and money,
saying that the change of ministry was likely to be adverse to
peace, and that we were being lulled into a false and fatal sense of
security. A few days later, on receiving information from Sir Guy
Carleton of the address of the Commons to the king for peace,
Washington wrote to Congress: "For my own part, I view our situation
as such that, instead of relaxing, we ought to improve the present
moment as the most favorable to our wishes. The British nation
appear to me to be staggered, and almost ready to sink beneath the
accumulating weight of debt and misfortune. If we follow the blow with
vigor and energy, I think the game is our own."

Again he wrote in July: "Sir Guy Carleton is using every art to
soothe and lull our people into a state of security. Admiral Digby
is capturing all our vessels, and suffocating as fast as possible in
prison-ships all our seamen who will not enlist into the service of
his Britannic Majesty; and Haldimand, with his savage allies, is
scalping and burning on the frontiers." Facts always were the object
of Washington's first regard, and while gentlemen on all sides were
talking of peace, war was going on, and he could not understand the
supineness which would permit our seamen to be suffocated, and our
borderers scalped, because some people thought the war ought to be and
practically was over. While the other side was fighting, he wished to
be fighting too. A month later he wrote to Greene: "From the former
infatuation, duplicity, and perverse system of British policy, I
confess I am induced to doubt everything, to suspect everything." He
could say heartily with the Trojan priest, "Quicquid id est timeo
Danaos et dona ferentes." Yet again, a month later still, when the
negotiations were really going forward in Paris, he wrote to McHenry:
"If we are wise, let us prepare for the worst. There is nothing which
will so soon produce a speedy and honorable peace as a state of
preparation for war; and we must either do this, or lay our account to
patch up an inglorious peace, after all the toil, blood, and treasure
we have spent."

No man had done and given so much as Washington, and at the same
time no other man had his love of thoroughness, and his indomitable
fighting temper. He found few sympathizers, his words fell upon deaf
ears, and he was left to struggle on and maintain his ground as best
he might, without any substantial backing. As it turned out, England
was more severely wounded than he dared to hope, and her desire for
peace was real. But Washington's distrust and the active policy which
he urged were, in the conditions of the moment, perfectly sound,
both in a military and a political point of view. It made no real
difference, however, whether he was right or wrong in his opinion.
He could not get what he wanted, and he was obliged to drag through
another year, fettered in his military movements, and oppressed with
anxiety for the future. He longed to drive the British from New York,
and was forced to content himself, as so often before, with keeping
his army in existence. It was a trying time, and fruitful in nothing
but anxious forebodings. All the fighting was confined to skirmishes
of outposts, and his days were consumed in vain efforts to obtain help
from the States, while he watched with painful eagerness the current
of events in Europe, down which the fortunes of his country were
feebly drifting.

Among the petty incidents of the year there was one which, in its
effects, gained an international importance, which has left a deep
stain upon the English arms, and which touched Washington deeply.
Captain Huddy, an American officer, was captured in a skirmish and
carried to New York, where he was placed in confinement. Thence he
was taken on April 12 by a party of Tories in the British service,
commanded by Captain Lippencott, and hanged in the broad light of day
on the heights near Middletown. Testimony and affidavits to the
fact, which was never questioned, were duly gathered and laid before
Washington. The deed was one of wanton barbarity, for which it would
be difficult to find a parallel in the annals of modern warfare.
The authors of this brutal murder, to our shame be it said, were of
American birth, but they were fighting for the crown and wore the
British uniform. England, which for generations has deafened the
world with paeans of praise for her own love of fair play and for
her generous humanity, stepped in here and threw the mantle of her
protection over these cowardly hangmen. It has not been uncommon for
wild North American savages to deliver up criminals to the vengeance
of the law, but English ministers and officers condoned the murder of
Huddy, and sheltered his murderers.

When the case was laid before Washington it stirred him to the deepest
wrath. He submitted the facts to twenty-five of his general officers,
who unanimously advised what he was himself determined upon, instant
retaliation. He wrote at once to Sir Guy Carleton, and informed him
that unless the murderers were given up he should be compelled to
retaliate. Carleton replied that a court-martial was ordered, and some
attempt was made to recriminate; but Washington pressed on in the path
he had marked out, and had an English officer selected by lot and held
in close confinement to await the action of the enemy. These sharp
measures brought the British, as nothing else could have done, to some
sense of the enormity of the crime that had been committed. Sir Guy
Carleton wrote in remonstrance, and Washington replied: "Ever since
the commencement of this unnatural war my conduct has borne invariable
testimony against those inhuman excesses, which, in too many
instances, have marked its progress. With respect to a late
transaction, to which I presume your excellency alludes, I have
already expressed my resolution, a resolution formed on the most
mature deliberation, and from which I shall not recede." The
affair dragged along, purposely protracted by the British, and the
court-martial on a technical point acquitted Lippencott. Sir Guy
Carleton, however, who really was deeply indignant at the outrage,
wrote, expressing his abhorrence, disavowed Lippencott, and promised
a further inquiry. This placed Washington in a very trying position,
more especially as his humanity was touched by the situation of the
unlucky hostage. The fatal lot had fallen upon a mere boy, Captain
Asgill, who was both amiable and popular, and Washington was beset
with appeals in his behalf, for Lady Asgill moved heaven and earth to
save her son. She interested the French court, and Vergennes made a
special request that Asgill should be released. Even Washington's own
officers, notably Hamilton, sought to influence him, and begged him to
recede. In these difficult circumstances, which were enhanced by the
fact that contrary to his orders to select an unconditional prisoner,
the lot had fallen on a Yorktown prisoner protected by the terms
of the capitulation,[1] he hesitated, and asked instructions from
Congress. He wrote to Duane in September: "While retaliation was
apparently necessary, however disagreeable in itself, I had no
repugnance to the measure. But when the end proposed by it is answered
by a disavowal of the act, by a dissolution of the board of refugees,
and by a promise (whether with or without meaning to comply with it, I
shall not determine) that further inquisition should be made into the
matter, I thought it incumbent upon me, before I proceeded any farther
in the matter, to have the sense of Congress, who had most explicitly
approved and impliedly indeed ordered retaliation to take place. To
this hour I am held in darkness."

[Footnote 1: MS, letter to Lincoln.]

He did not long remain in doubt. The fact was that the public, as is
commonly the case, had forgotten the original crime and saw only the
misery of the man who was to pay the just penalty, and who was, in
this instance, an innocent and vicarious sufferer. It was difficult
to refuse Vergennes, and Congress, glad of the excuse and anxious to
oblige their allies, ordered the release of Asgill. That Washington,
touched by the unhappy condition of his prisoner, did not feel
relieved by the result, it would be absurd to suppose. But he was by
no means satisfied, for the murderous wrong that had been done rankled
in his breast. He wrote to Vergennes: "Captain Asgill has been
released, and is at perfect liberty to return to the arms of an
affectionate parent, whose pathetic address to your Excellency could
not fail of interesting every feeling heart in her behalf. I have no
right to assume any particular merit from the lenient manner in which
this disagreeable affair has terminated."

There is a perfect honesty about this which is very wholesome. He had
been freely charged with cruelty, and had regarded the accusation with
indifference. Now, when it was easy for him to have taken the glory
of mercy by simply keeping silent, he took pains to avow that the
leniency was not due to him. He was not satisfied, and no one should
believe that he was, even if the admission seemed to justify the
charge of cruelty. If he erred at all it was in not executing some
British officer at the very start, unless Lippencott had been given up
within a limited time. As it was, after delay was once permitted, it
is hard to see how he could have acted otherwise than he did, but
Washington was not in the habit of receding from a fixed purpose, and
being obliged to do so in this case troubled him, for he knew that he
did well to be angry. But the frankness of the avowal to Vergennes is
a good example of his entire honesty and absolute moral fearlessness.

The matter, however, which most filled his heart and mind during these
weary days of waiting and doubt was the condition and the future of
his soldiers. To those persons who have suspected or suggested that
Washington was cold-blooded and unmindful of others, the letters he
wrote in regard to the soldiers may be commended. The man whose heart
was wrung by the sufferings of the poor people on the Virginian
frontier, in the days of the old French war, never in fact changed
his nature. Fierce in fight, passionate and hot when his anger was
stirred, his love and sympathy were keen and strong toward his army.
His heart went out to the brave men who had followed him, loved him,
and never swerved in their loyalty to him and to their country.
Washington's affection for his men, and their devotion to him, had
saved the cause of American independence more often than strategy or
daring. Now, when the war was practically over, his influence with
both officers and soldiers was destined to be put to its severest

The people of the American colonies were self-governing in the
extremest sense, that is, they were accustomed to very little
government interference of any sort. They were also poor and entirely
unused to war. Suddenly they found themselves plunged into a bitter
and protracted conflict with the most powerful of civilized nations.
In the first flush of excitement, patriotic enthusiasm supplied many
defects; but as time wore on, and year after year passed, and the
whole social and political fabric was shaken, the moral tone of the
people relaxed. In such a struggle, coming upon an unprepared people
of the habits and in the circumstances of the colonists, this
relaxation was inevitable. It was likewise inevitable that, as the war
continued, there should be in both national and state governments, and
in all directions, many shortcomings and many lamentable errors. But
for the treatment accorded the army, no such excuse can be made, and
no sufficient explanation can be offered. There was throughout the
colonies an inborn and a carefully cultivated dread of standing armies
and military power. But this very natural feeling was turned most
unreasonably against our own army, and carried in that direction to
the verge of insanity. This jealousy of military power indeed pursued
Washington from the beginning to the end of the Revolution. It cropped
out as soon as he was appointed, and came up in one form or another
whenever he was obliged to take strong measures. Even at the very end,
after he had borne the cause through to triumph, Congress was driven
almost to frenzy because Vergennes proposed to commit the disposition
of a French subsidy to the commander-in-chief.

If this feeling could show itself toward Washington, it is easy to
imagine that it was not restrained toward his officers and men, and
the treatment of the soldiers by Congress and by the States was not
only ungrateful to the last degree, but was utterly unpardonable.
Again and again the menace of immediate ruin and the stern demands of
Washington alone extorted the most grudging concessions, and saved the
army from dissolution. The soldiers had every reason to think that
nothing but personal fear could obtain the barest consideration from
the civil power. In this frame of mind, they saw the war which they
had fought and won drawing to a close with no prospect of either
provision or reward for them, and every indication that they would be
disbanded when they were no longer needed, and left in many cases
to beggary and want. In the inaction consequent upon the victory at
Yorktown, they had ample time to reflect upon these facts, and their
reflections were of such a nature that the situation soon became
dangerous. Washington, who had struggled in season and out of season
for justice to the soldiers, labored more zealously than ever during
all this period, aided vigorously by Hamilton, who was now in
Congress. Still nothing was done, and in October, 1782, he wrote to
the Secretary of War in words warm with indignant feeling: "While I
premise that no one I have seen or heard of appears opposed to the
principle of reducing the army as circumstances may require, yet I
cannot help fearing the result of the measure in contemplation, under
present circumstances, when I see such a number of men, goaded by a
thousand stings of reflection on the past and of anticipation on the
future, about to be turned into the world, soured by penury and what
they call the ingratitude of the public, involved in debts, without
one farthing of money to carry them home after having spent the flower
of their days, and many of them their patrimonies, in establishing the
freedom and independence of their country, and suffered everything
that human nature is capable of enduring on this side of death.... You
may rely upon it, the patriotism and long-suffering of this army
are almost exhausted, and that there never was so great a spirit of
discontent as at this instant. While in the field I think it may be
kept from breaking into acts of outrage; but when we retire into
winter-quarters, unless the storm is previously dissipated, I cannot
be at ease respecting the consequences. It is high time for a peace."

These were grave words, coming from such a man as Washington, but they
passed unheeded. Congress and the States went blandly along as if
everything was all right, and as if the army had no grievances. But
the soldiers thought differently. "Dissatisfactions rose to a great
and alarming height, and combinations among officers to resign at
given periods in a body were beginning to take place." The outlook
was so threatening that Washington, who had intended to go to Mount
Vernon, remained in camp, and by management and tact thwarted these
combinations and converted these dangerous movements into an address
to Congress from the officers, asking for half-pay, arrearages, and
some other equally proper concessions. Still Congress did not stir.
Some indefinite resolutions were passed, but nothing was done as to
the commutation of half-pay into a fixed sum, and after such a display
of indifference the dissatisfaction increased rapidly, and the army
became more and more restless. In March a call was issued for a
meeting of officers, and an anonymous address, written with
much skill,--the work, as afterwards appeared, of Major John
Armstrong,--was published at the same time. The address was well
calculated to inflame the passions of the troops; it advised a resort
to force, and was scattered broadcast through the camp. The army was
now in a ferment, and the situation was full of peril. A weak man
would have held his peace; a rash one would have tried to suppress the
meeting. Washington did neither, but quietly took control of the whole
movement himself. In general orders he censured the call and the
address as irregular, and then appointed a time and place for the
meeting. Another anonymous address thereupon appeared, quieter in
tone, but congratulating the army on the recognition accorded by the

When the officers assembled, Washington arose with a manuscript in
his hand, and as he took out his glasses said, simply, "You see,
gentlemen, I have grown both blind and gray in your service." His
address was brief, calm, and strong. The clear, vigorous sentences
were charged with meaning and with deep feeling. He exhorted them one
and all, both officers and men, to remain loyal and obedient, true
to their glorious past and to their country. He appealed to their
patriotism, and promised them that which they had always had, his
own earnest support in obtaining justice from Congress. When he had
finished he quietly withdrew. The officers were deeply moved by
his words, and his influence prevailed. Resolutions were passed,
reiterating the demands of the army, but professing entire faith in
the government. This time Congress listened, and the measures granting
half-pay in commutation and certain other requests were passed. Thus
this very serious danger was averted, not by the reluctant action of
Congress, but by the wisdom and strength of the general, who was loved
by his soldiers after a fashion that few conquerors could boast.

Underlying all these general discontents, there was, besides, a
well-defined movement, which saw a solution of all difficulties and a
redress of all wrongs in a radical change of the form of government,
and in the elevation of Washington to supreme power. This party was
satisfied that the existing system was a failure, and that it was
not and could not be made either strong, honest, or respectable. The
obvious relief was in some kind of monarchy, with a large infusion of
the one-man power; and it followed, as a matter of course, that the
one man could be no other than the commander-in-chief. In May, 1782,
when the feeling in the army had risen very high, this party of reform
brought their ideas before Washington through an old and respected
friend of his, Colonel Nicola. The colonel set forth very clearly the
failure and shortcomings of the existing government, argued in favor
of the substitution of something much stronger, and wound up by
hinting very plainly that his correspondent was the man for the crisis
and the proper savior of society. The letter was forcible and well
written, and Colonel Nicola was a man of character and standing. It
could not be passed over lightly or in silence, and Washington replied
as follows:--

"With a mixture of surprise and astonishment, I have read with
attention the sentiments you have submitted to my perusal. Be assured,
sir, no occurrence in the course of the war has given me more painful
sensations than your information of there being such ideas existing
in the army as you have expressed, and [which] I must view with
abhorrence and reprehend with severity. For the present, the
communication of them will rest in my own bosom, unless some further
agitation of the matter shall make a disclosure necessary. I am
much at a loss to conceive what part of my conduct could have given
encouragement to an address which seems to me big with the greatest
mischiefs that can befall my country. If I am not deceived in the
knowledge of myself, you could not have found a person to whom your
schemes are more disagreeable. At the same time, in justice to my own
feelings, I must add that no man possesses a more sincere wish to
see justice done to the army than I do; and as far as my power and
influence in a constitutional way extend, they shall be employed to
the utmost of my abilities to effect it, should there be any occasion.
Let me conjure you, then, if you have any regard for your country,
concern for yourself or posterity, or respect for me, to banish these
thoughts from your mind, and never communicate, as from yourself or
any one else, a sentiment of the like nature."

This simple but exceedingly plain letter checked the whole movement
at once; but the feeling of hostility to the existing system of
government and of confidence in Washington increased steadily through
the summer and winter. When the next spring had come round, and the
"Newburgh addresses" had been published, the excitement was at fever
heat. All the army needed was a leader. It was as easy for Washington
to have grasped supreme power then, as it would have been for Cæsar
to have taken the crown from Antony upon the Lupercal. He repelled
Nicola's suggestion with quiet reproof, and took the actual movement,
when it reared its head, into his own hands and turned it into other
channels. This incident has been passed over altogether too carelessly
by historians and biographers. It has generally been used merely to
show the general nobility of Washington's sentiments, and no proper
stress has been laid upon the facts of the time which gave birth to
such an idea and such a proposition. It would have been a perfectly
feasible thing at that particular moment to have altered the frame of
government and placed the successful soldier in possession of supreme
power. The notion of kingly government was, of course, entirely
familiar to everybody, and had in itself nothing repulsive. The
confederation was disintegrated, the States were demoralized, and the
whole social and political life was weakened. The army was the one
coherent, active, and thoroughly organized body in the country. Six
years of war had turned them from militia into seasoned veterans, and
they stood armed and angry, ready to respond to the call of the great
leader to whom they were entirely devoted. When the English troops
were once withdrawn, there was nothing on the continent that could
have stood against them. If they had moved, they would have been
everywhere supported by their old comrades who had returned to the
ranks of civil life, by all the large class who wanted peace and order
in the quickest and surest way, and by the timid and tired generally.
There would have been in fact no serious opposition, probably because
there would have been no means of sustaining it.

The absolute feebleness of the general government was shown a few
weeks later, when a recently recruited regiment of Pennsylvania troops
mutinied, and obliged Congress to leave Philadelphia, unable either to
defend themselves or procure defense from the State. This mutiny was
put down suddenly and effectively by Washington, very wroth at the
insubordination of raw troops, who had neither fought nor suffered.
Yet even such mutineers as these would have succeeded in a large
measure, had it not been for Washington, and one can easily imagine
from this incident the result of disciplined and well-planned action
on the part of the army led by their great chief. In that hour of
debility and relaxation, a military seizure of the government and
the erection of some form of monarchy would not have been difficult.
Whether such a change would have lasted is another question, but there
is no reason to doubt that at the moment it might have been effected.
Washington, however, not only refused to have anything to do with the
scheme, but he used the personal loyalty which might have raised him
to supreme power to check all dangerous movements and put in motion
the splendid and unselfish patriotism for which the army was
conspicuous, and which underlay all their irritations and discontents.

The obvious view of Washington's action in this crisis as a remarkable
exhibition of patriotism is at best somewhat superficial. In a man in
any way less great, the letter of refusal to Nicola and the treatment
of the opportunity presented at the time of the Newburgh addresses
would have been fine in a high degree. In Washington they were not so
extraordinary, for the situation offered him no temptation. Carlyle
was led to think slightingly of Washington, one may believe, because
he did not seize the tottering government with a strong hand, and
bring order out of chaos on the instant. But this is a woeful
misunderstanding of the man. To put aside a crown for love of country
is noble, but to look down upon such an opportunity indicates a much
greater loftiness and strength of mind. Washington was wholly free
from the vulgar ambition of the usurper, and the desire of mere
personal aggrandizement found no place in his nature. His ruling
passion was the passion for success, and for thorough and complete
success. What he could not bear was the least shadow of failure. To
have fought such a war to a victorious finish, and then turned it to
his own advantage, would have been to him failure of the meanest
kind. He fought to free the colonies from England, and make them
independent, not to play the part of a Cæsar or a Cromwell in the
wreck and confusion of civil war. He flung aside the suggestion of
supreme power, not simply as dishonorable and unpatriotic, but because
such a result would have defeated the one great and noble object
at which he aimed. Nor did he act in this way through any indolent
shrinking from the great task of making what he had won worth winning,
by crushing the forces of anarchy and separation, and bringing order
and unity out of confusion. From the surrender of Yorktown to the
day of his retirement from the Presidency, he worked unceasingly to
establish union and strong government in the country he had made
independent. He accomplished this great labor more successfully
by honest and lawful methods than if he had taken the path of the
strong-handed savior of society, and his work in this field did more
for the welfare of his country than all his battles. To have restored
order at the head of the army was much easier than to effect it in the
slow and law-abiding fashion which he adopted. To have refused supreme
rule, and then to have effected in the spirit and under the forms
of free government all and more than the most brilliant of military
chiefs could have achieved by absolute power, is a glory which belongs
to Washington alone.

Nevertheless, at that particular juncture it was, as he himself had
said, "high time for a peace." The danger at Newburgh had been averted
by his commanding influence and the patriotic conduct of the army. But
it had been averted only, not removed. The snake was scotched, not
killed. The finishing stroke was still needed in the form of an end to
hostilities, and it was therefore fortunate for the United States that
a fortnight later, on March 23, news came that a general treaty
of peace had been signed. This final consummation of his work, in
addition to the passage by Congress of the half-pay commutation and
the settlement of the army accounts, filled Washington with deep
rejoicing. He felt that in a short time, a few weeks at most, he would
be free to withdraw to the quiet life at Mount Vernon for which he
longed. But public bodies move slowly, and one delay after another
occurred to keep him still in the harness. He chafed under the
postponement, but it was not possible to him to remain idle even when
he awaited in almost daily expectation the hour of dismissal. He saw
with the instinctive glance of statesmanship that the dangerous point
in the treaty of peace was in the provisions as to the western posts
on the one side, and those relating to British debts on the other. A
month therefore had not passed before he brought to the attention
of Congress the importance of getting immediate possession of those
posts, and a little later he succeeded in having Steuben sent out as a
special envoy to obtain their surrender. The mission was vain, as he
had feared. He was not destined to extract this thorn for many years,
and then only after many trials and troubles. Soon afterward he made a
journey with Governor Clinton to Ticonderoga, and along the valley of
the Mohawk, "to wear away the time," as he wrote to Congress. He wore
away time to more purpose than most people, for where he traveled he
observed closely, and his observations were lessons which he never
forgot. On this trip he had the western posts and the Indians always
in mind, and familiarized himself with the conditions of a part of the
country where these matters were of great importance.

On his return he went to Princeton, where Congress had been sitting
since their flight from the mutiny which he had recently suppressed,
and where a house had been provided for his use. He remained there two
months, aiding Congress in their work. During the spring he had been
engaged on the matter of a peace establishment, and he now gave
Congress elaborate and well-matured advice on that question, and on
those of public lands, western settlement, and the best Indian policy.
In all these directions his views were clear, far-sighted, and wise.
He saw that in these questions was involved much of the future
development and wellbeing of the country, and he treated them with a
precision and an easy mastery which showed the thought he had given to
the new problems which now were coming to the front. Unluckily, he was
so far ahead, both in knowledge and perception, of the body with which
he dealt, that he could get little or nothing done, and in September
he wrote in plain but guarded terms of the incapacity of the
lawmakers. The people were not yet ripe for his measures, and he was
forced to bide his time, and see the injuries caused by indifference
and short-sightedness work themselves out. Gradually, however, the
absolutely necessary business was brought to an end. Then Washington
issued a circular letter to the governors of the States, which was
one of the ablest he ever wrote, and full of the profoundest
statesmanship, and he also sent out a touching address of farewell to
the army, eloquent with wisdom and with patriotism.

From Princeton he went to West Point, where the army that still
remained in service was stationed. Thence he moved to Harlem, and
on November 25 the British army departed, and Washington, with his
troops, accompanied by Governor Clinton and some regiments of local
militia, marched in and took possession. This was the outward sign
that the war was over, and that American independence had been won.
Carleton feared that the entry of the American army might be the
signal for confusion and violence, in which the Tory inhabitants would
suffer; but everything passed off with perfect tranquillity and good
order, and in the evening Governor Clinton gave a public dinner to the
commander-in-chief and the officers of the army.

All was now over, and Washington prepared to go to Annapolis and lay
down his commission. On December 4 his officers assembled in Fraunces'
Tavern to bid him farewell. As he looked about on his faithful
friends, his usual self-command deserted him, and he could not control
his voice. Taking a glass of wine, he lifted it up, and said simply,
"With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take my leave of you,
most devoutly wishing that your latter days may be as prosperous and
happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable." The toast
was drunk in silence, and then Washington added, "I cannot come to
each of you and take my leave, but shall be obliged if you will come
and take me by the hand." One by one they approached, and Washington
grasped the hand of each man and embraced him. His eyes were full of
tears, and he could not trust himself to speak. In silence he bade
each and all farewell, and then, accompanied by his officers, walked
to Whitehall Ferry. Entering his barge, the word was given, and as
the oars struck the water he stood up and lifted his hat. In solemn
silence his officers returned the salute, and watched the noble and
gracious figure of their beloved chief until the boat disappeared from
sight behind the point of the Battery.

At Philadelphia he stopped a few days and adjusted his accounts, which
he had in characteristic fashion kept himself in the neatest and most
methodical way. He had drawn no pay, and had expended considerable
sums from his private fortune, which he had omitted to charge to the
government. The gross amount of his expenses was about 15,000 pounds
sterling, including secret service and other incidental outlays. In
these days of wild money-hunting, there is something worth pondering
in this simple business settlement between a great general and his
government, at the close of eight years of war. This done, he started
again on his journey. From Philadelphia he proceeded to Annapolis,
greeted with addresses and hailed with shouts at every town and
village on his route, and having reached his destination, he addressed
a letter to Congress on December 20, asking when it would be agreeable
to them to receive him. The 23d was appointed, and on that day, at
noon, he appeared before Congress.

The following year a French orator and "maître avocat," in an oration
delivered at Toulouse upon the American Revolution, described this
scene in these words: "On the day when Washington resigned his
commission in the hall of Congress, a crown decked with jewels was
placed upon the Book of the Constitutions. Suddenly Washington seizes
it, breaks it, and flings the pieces to the assembled people. How
small ambitious Cæsar seems beside the hero of America." It is worth
while to recall this contemporary French description, because its
theatrical and dramatic untruth gives such point by contrast to the
plain and dignified reality. The scene was the hall of Congress. The
members representing the sovereign power were seated and covered,
while all the space about was filled by the governor and state
officers of Maryland, by military officers, and by the ladies and
gentlemen of the neighborhood, who stood in respectful silence with
uncovered heads. Washington was introduced by the Secretary of
Congress, and took a chair which had been assigned to him. There was
a brief pause, and then the president said that "the United States
in Congress assembled were prepared to receive his communication."
Washington rose, and replied as follows:--

"Mr. President: The great events, on which my resignation depended,
having at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my
sincere congratulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before
them, to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to
claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.

"Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and
pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming
a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I
accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish
so arduous a task, which, however, was superseded by a confidence in
the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the
Union, and the patronage of Heaven. The successful termination of the
war has verified the most sanguine expectations; and my gratitude for
the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received
from my countrymen, increases with every review of the momentous
contest." Then, after a word of gratitude to the army and to his
staff, he concluded as follows: "I consider it an indispensable duty
to close this last solemn act of my official life by commending the
interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God,
and those who have the superintendence of them to his holy keeping.

"Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great
theatre of action; and bidding an affectionate farewell to this
august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my
commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life."

In singularly graceful and eloquent words his old opponent, Thomas
Mifflin, the president, replied, the simple ceremony ended, and
Washington left the room a private citizen.

The great master of English fiction, touching this scene with skillful
hand, has said: "Which was the most splendid spectacle ever witnessed,
the opening feast of Prince George in London, or the resignation
of Washington? Which is the noble character for after ages to
admire,--yon fribble dancing in lace and spangles, or yonder hero
who sheathes his sword after a life of spotless honor, a purity
unreproached, a courage indomitable, and a consummate victory?"

There is no need to say more. Comment or criticism on such a farewell,
from such a man, at the close of a long civil war, would be not only
superfluous but impertinent. The contemporary newspaper, in its meagre
account, said that the occasion was deeply solemn and affecting, and
that many persons shed tears. Well indeed might those then present
have been thus affected, for they had witnessed a scene memorable
forever in the annals of all that is best and noblest in human nature.
They had listened to a speech which was not equaled in meaning and
spirit in American history until, eighty years later, Abraham Lincoln
stood upon the slopes of Gettysburg and uttered his immortal words
upon those who died that the country might live.

INDEX for Volumes I & II

    describes Washington's personal appearance, ii. 386-388.

  Adams, Abigail,
    on Washington's appearance in 1775, i. 137.

  Adams, John,
    moves appointment of Washington as commander-in-chief, i. 134;
    on political necessity for his appointment, 135;
    and objections to it, 135;
    statement as to Washington's difficulties, 163;
    over-sanguine as to American prospects, 171;
    finds fault with Washington, 214, 215;
    one of few national statesmen, 252;
    on Washington's opinion of titles, ii. 52;
    advocates ceremony, 54;
    returns to United States, 137;
    attacked by Jefferson as a monarchist, 226;
    praised by Democrats as superior to Washington, 251;
    his administration upheld by Washington, 259;
    advised by Washington, 260;
    his inauguration, 276;
    sends special mission to France, 284;
    urges Washington to take command of provisional army, 285;
    wishes to make Knox senior to Hamilton, 286;
    censured by Washington, gives way, 287;
    lack of sympathy with Washington, 287;
    his nomination of Murray disapproved by Washington, 292, 293;
    letter of Washington to, on immigration, 326.

  Adams, J.Q.,
    on weights and measures, ii. 81.

  Adams, Samuel,
    not sympathized with by Washington in working for independence, i. 131;
    his inability to sympathize with Washington, 204;
    an enemy of Constitution, ii. 71;
    a genuine American, 309.

  Alcudia, Duke de,
    interviews with Pinckney, ii. 166.

  Alexander, Philip,
    hunts with Washington, i. 115.

  Alien and Sedition Laws,
    approved by Washington and Federalists, ii. 290, 297.

  Ames, Fisher,
    speech on behalf of administration in Jay treaty affair, ii. 210.

  André, Major,
    meets Arnold, i. 282;
    announces capture to Arnold, 284;
    confesses, 284;
    condemned and executed, 287;
    justice of the sentence, 287, 288;
    Washington's opinion of, 288, ii. 357.

  Armstrong, John, Major,
    writes Newburg address, i. 335.

  Army of the Revolution,
    at Boston, adopted by Congress, i. 134;
    its organization and character, 136-143;
    sectional jealousies in, at New York, 162;
    goes to pieces after defeat, 167, 175, 176;
    condition in winter of 1777, 186;
    difficulties between officers, 189;
    with foreign officers, 190-192;
    improvement as shown by condition after Brandywine and Germantown,
  200, 201;
    hard winter at Valley Forge, 228;
    maintained alive only by Washington, 227, 228, 232;
    improved morale at Monmouth, 239;
    mutinies for lack of pay, 258;
    suffers during 1779, 270;
    bad condition in 1780, 279;
    again mutinies for pay, 291, 292, 295;
    conduct of troops, 292, 293;
    jealousy of people towards, 332;
    badly treated by States and by Congress, 333;
    grows mutinous, 334;
    adopts Newburg addresses, 335, 336;
    ready for a military dictatorship, 338, 340;
    farewell of Washington to, 345.

  Arnold, Benedict,
    sent by Washington to attack Quebec, i. 144;
    sent against Burgoyne, 210;
    plans treason, 281;
    shows loyalist letter to Washington, 282;
    meets André, 282;
    receives news of André's capture, 284;
    escapes, 284, 285;
    previous benefits from Washington, 286;
    Washington's opinion of, 288;
    ravages Virginia, 303;
    sent back to New York, 303;
    one of the few men who deceived Washington, ii. 336.

  Arnold, Mrs.,
    entertains Washington at time of her husband's treachery, i. 284, 285.

  Articles of Confederation,
    their inadequacy early seen by Washington, i. 297, 298; ii. 17.

  Asgill, Capt.,
    selected for retaliation for murder of Huddy, i. 328;
    efforts for his release, 329;
    release ordered by Congress, 330.

  BACHE, B.F.,
    publishes Jay treaty in "Aurora," ii. 185;
    joins in attack on Washington, 238, 244;
    rejoices over his retirement, 256.

    works out a pedigree for Washington, i. 31.

  Ball, Joseph,
    advises against sending Washington to sea, i. 49, 50.

    Washington's description of, i. 64.

  Beckley, John,
    accuses Washington of embezzling, ii. 245.

  Bernard, John,
    his conversation with Washington referred to, i. 58, 107;
    describes encounter with Washington, ii. 281-283;
    his description of Washington's conversation, 343-348.

  Blackwell, Rev. Dr.,
    calls on Washington with Dr. Logan, ii. 264.

  Blair, John,
    appointed to Supreme Court, ii. 73.

  Bland, Mary,
    "Lowland Beauty," admired by Washington, i. 95, 96.

  Blount, Governor,
    pacifies Cherokees, ii. 94.

    visit of Washington to, i. 97, 99;
    political troubles in, 120;
    British measures against condemned by Virginia, 122, 123;
    appeals to colonies, 124;
    protests against Jay treaty, ii. 186;
    answered by Washington, 190.

  Botetourt, Lord, Governor of Virginia,
    quarrels with Assembly, i. 121;
    manages to calm dissension, 122;
    on friendly terms with Washington, 122.

  Braddock, General Edward,
    arrives in Virginia, i. 82;
    invites Washington to serve on his staff, 82;
    respects him, 83;
    his character and unfitness for his position, 83;
    despises provincials, 83;
    accepts Washington's advice as to dividing force, 84;
    rebukes Washington for warning against ambush, 85;
    insists on fighting by rule, 85;
    defeated and mortally wounded, 85;
    death and burial, 87.

  Bradford, William,
    succeeds Randolph, ii. 246.

    battle of, i. 196-198.

  Bunker Hill,
    question of Washington regarding battle of, i. 136.

  Burgoyne, General John,
    junction of Howe with, feared by Washington, i. 194, 195, 205, 206;
    significance of his defeat, 202;
    danger of his invasion foreseen by Washington, 203-206;
    captures Ticonderoga, 207;
    outnumbered and defeated, 210;
    surrenders, 211.

  Burke, Edmund,
    understands significance of Washington's leadership, i. 202;
    unsettled by French Revolution, ii. 294.

    entertains Lafayette's son, ii. 366.

  Cadwalader, General,
    fails to cross Delaware to help Washington, i. 180;
    duel with Conway, 226.

  Calvert, Eleanor,
    misgivings of Washington over her marriage to John Custis, i. 111.

  Camden, battle of, i. 281.

    captured by Wolfe, i. 94;
    expedition of Montgomery against, 143, 144;
    project of Conway cabal against, 222; 253;
    project of Lafayette to attack, 254;
    plan considered dangerous by Washington, 254, 255;
    not undertaken by France, 256.

  Carleton, Sir Guy,
    informs Washington of address of Commons for peace, i. 324;
    suspected by Washington, 325;
    remonstrates against retaliation by Washington for murder of
  Huddy, 328;
    disavows Lippencott, 328;
    fears plunder of New York city, 345;
    urges Indians to attack the United States, ii. 102, 175.

  Carlisle, Earl of,
    peace commissioner, i. 233.

  Carlyle, Thomas,
    sneers at Washington, i. 4, 14;
    calls him "a bloodless Cromwell," i. 69, ii. 332;
    fails to understand his reticence, i. 70;
    despises him for not seizing power, 341.

  Carmichael, William,
    minister at Madrid, ii. 165;
    on commission regarding the Mississippi, 166.

  Carrington, Paul,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 208;
    Washington's friendship for, 363.

  Cary, Mary,
    early love affair of Washington with, i. 96.

  Chamberlayne, Major,
    entertains Washington at Williams' Ferry, i. 101.

    siege and capture of, i. 273, 274, 276.

  Chastellux, Marquis de,
    Washington's friendship for and letter to, ii. 351;
    on Washington's training of horses, 380.

    beaten by Sevier, ii. 89;
    pacified by Blount, 94,101.

  Chester, Colonel,
    researches on Washington pedigree, i. 31.

    desert from St. Clair, ii. 96.

    honors Washington, i. 6.

    peaceable in 1788, ii. 89.

  Cincinnati, Society of the,
    Washington's connection with, ii. 4.

  Clarke, Governor,
    thinks Washington is invading popular rights, i. 215.

  Cleaveland, Rev.----,
    complimented by Washington, ii. 359.

  Clinton, George,
    appealed to by Washington to attack Burgoyne, i. 210;
    journey with Washington to Ticonderoga, 343;
    enters New York city, 345;
    letter of Washington to, ii. 1;
    meets Washington on journey to inauguration, 45;
    opponent of the Constitution, 71;
    orders seizure of French privateers, 153.

  Clinton, Sir Henry,
    fails to help Burgoyne, i. 210;
    replaces Howe at Philadelphia, his character, 232;
    tries to cut off Lafayette, 233;
    leaves Philadelphia, 234;
    defeats Lee at Monmouth, 236;
    retreats to New York, 238;
    withdraws from Newport, 248;
    makes a raid, 265;
    fortifies Stony Point, 268;
    his aimless warfare, 269, 270;
    after capturing Charleston returns to New York, 276;
    tries to save André, 287;
    alarmed at attacks on New York, 306;
    jealous of Cornwallis, refuses to send reinforcements, 308;
    deceived by Washington, 311;
    sends Graves to relieve Cornwallis, 312.

  Congress, Continental,
    Washington's journey to, i. 128;
    its character and ability, 129;
    its state papers, 129;
    adjourns, 132;
    in second session, resolves to petition the king, 133;
    adopts Massachusetts army and makes Washington commander, 134;
    reasons for his choice, 135;
    adheres to short-term enlistments, 149;
    influenced to declare independence by Washington, 160;
    hampers Washington in campaign of New York, 167;
    letters of Washington to, 170, 179, 212, 225, 229, 266, 278, 295,
  321, 323, 333;
    takes steps to make army permanent, 171;
    its over-confidence, 171;
    insists on holding Forts Washington and Lee, 174;
    dissatisfied with Washington's inactivity, 187;
    criticises his proclamation requiring oath of allegiance, 189;
    makes unwise appointments of officers, 189;
    especially of foreigners, 190-192; 248, 249;
    applauds Washington's efforts at Germantown, 200;
    deposes Schuyler and St. Clair, 208;
    appoints Gates, 210;
    irritation against Washington, 212-215;
    falls under guidance of Conway cabal, 221, 222;
    discovers incompetence of cabal, 223;
    meddles with prisoners and officers, 231;
    rejects English peace offers, 233;
    makes alliance with France, 241;
    suppresses protests of officers against D'Estaing, 244;
    decline in its character, 257;
    becomes feeble, 258;
    improvement urged by Washington, 259, 266;
    appoints Gates to command in South, 268;
    loses interest in war, 278;
    asks Washington to name general for the South, 295;
    considers reduction of army, 313;
    elated by Yorktown, 323;
    its unfair treatment of army, 333, 335;
    driven from Philadelphia by Pennsylvania troops, 340;
    passes half-pay act, 342;
    receives commission of Washington, 347-349;
    disbands army, ii. 6;
    indifferent to Western expansion, 15;
    continues to decline, 22;
    merit of its Indian policy, 88.

  Congress, Federal,
    establishes departments, ii. 64;
    opened by Washington, 78, 79;
    ceremonial abolished by Jefferson, 79;
    recommendations made to by Washington, 81-83;
    acts upon them, 81-83;
    creates commission to treat with Creeks, 90;
    increases army, 94, 99;
    fails to solve financial problems, 106;
    debates Hamilton's report on credit, 107, 108;
    establishes national bank, 109;
    establishes protective revenue duties, 113;
    imposes an excise tax, 123;
    prepares for retaliation on Great Britain, 176;
    Senate ratifies Jay treaty conditionally, 184;
    House demands papers, 207;
    debates over its right to concur in treaty, 208-210;
    refuses to adjourn on Washington's birthday, 247;
    prepares for war with France, 285;
    passes Alien and Sedition Laws, 296.

  Constitution, Federal,
    necessity of, foreseen by Washington, ii. 17-18, 23, 24;
    the Annapolis Convention, 23-29;
    the Federal Convention, 30-36;
    Washington's attitude in, 31,34;
    his influence, 36;
    campaign for ratification, 38-41.

  Contrecoeur, Captain,
    leader of French and Indians in Virginia, i. 75.

  "Conway cabal,"
    elements of in Congress, i. 214, 215;
    in the army, 215;
    organized by Conway, 217;
    discovered by Washington, 220;
    gets control of Board of War, 221;
    tries to make Washington resign, 222, 224;
    fails to invade Canada or provide supplies, 222, 223;
    harassed by Washington's letters, 223,226;
    breaks down, 226.

  Conway, Moncure D.,
    his life of Randolph, ii. 65, note, 196;
    his defense of Randolph in Fauchet letter affair, 196;
    on Washington's motives, 200;
    on his unfair treatment of Randolph, 201, 202.

  Conway, Thomas,
    demand for higher rank refused by Washington, i. 216;
    plots against him, 217;
    his letter discovered by Washington, 221;
    made inspector-general, 221, 222;
    complains to Congress of his reception at camp, 225;
    resigns, has duel with Cadwalader, 226;
    apologizes to Washington and leaves country, 226.

  Cooke, Governor,
    remonstrated with by Washington for raising state troops, i. 186.

  Cornwallis, Lord,
    pursues Washington in New Jersey, i. 175;
    repulsed at Assunpink, 181;
    outgeneraled by Washington, 182;
    surprises Sullivan at Brandywine, 197;
    defeats Lee at Monmouth, 236;
    pursues Greene in vain, 302;
    wins battle of Guilford Court House, 302;
    retreats into Virginia, 302;
    joins British troops in Virginia, 303;
    his dangerous position, 304;
    urged by Clinton to return troops to New York, 306;
    plunders Virginia, 307;
    defeats Lafayette and Wayne, 307;
    wishes to retreat South, 307;
    ordered by ministry to stay on the Chesapeake, 307;
    abandoned by Clinton, 308;
    establishes himself at Yorktown, 308;
    withdraws into town, 315;
    besieged, 316, 317;
    surrenders, 317;
    outgeneraled by Washington, 319, 320.

    battle of, i. 301.

  Craik, Dr.,
    attends Washington in last illness, ii. 300-302;
    Washington's friendship with, 363.

    their relations with Spaniards, ii. 89, 90;
    quarrel with Georgia, 90;
    agree to treaty with United States, 91;
    stirred up by Spain, 101.

  Curwen, Samuel,
    on Washington's appearance, i. 137.

  Cushing, Caleb,
    appointed to Supreme Court, ii. 72.

  Custis, Daniel Parke,
    first husband of Martha Washington, i. 101.

  Custis, G.W.P.,
    tells mythical story of Washington and the colt, i. 45;
    Washington's care for, ii. 369.

  Custis, John,
    Washington's tenderness toward, i. 111;
    care for his education and marriage, 111;
    hunts with Washington, 141;
    death of, 322.

  Custis, Nellie,
    marriage with Washington's nephew, ii. 281, 369;
    letter of Washington to, 377.

    claims to outrank Washington in Virginia army, i. 91, 97.

  Dallas, Alexander,
    protests to Genet against sailing of Little Sarah, ii. 155.

  Dalton, Senator,
    entertains Washington at Newburyport, ii. 359.

  Deane, Silas,
    promises commissions to foreign military adventurers, i. 190.

  De Barras,
    jealous of De Grasse, decides not to aid him, i. 310;
    persuaded to do so by Washington and Rochambeau, 311;
    reaches Chesapeake, 312.

  De Grasse, Comte,
    announces intention of coming to Washington, i. 305;
    warned by Washington not to come to New York, 305;
    sails to Chesapeake, 306;
    asked to meet Washington there, 308;
    reaches Chesapeake, 312;
    repulses British fleet, 312;
    wishes to return to West Indies, 315;
    persuaded to remain by Washington, 315;
    refuses to join Washington in attack on Charleston, 322;
    returns to West Indies, 322.

  De Guichen,----,
    commander of French fleet in West Indies, i. 280;
    appealed to for aid by Washington, 281;
    returns home, 282.

  Delancey, Oliver,
    escapes American attack, i. 306.

  Democratic party,
    its formation as a French party, ii. 225;
    furnished with catch-words by Jefferson, 226;
    with a newspaper organ, 227;
    not ready to oppose Washington for president in 1792, 235;
    organized against treasury measure, 236;
    stimulated by French Revolution, 238;
    supports Genet, 237;
    begins to attack Washington, 238;
    his opinion of it, 239, 240, 258, 261, 267, 268;
    forms clubs on French model, 241;
    Washington's opinion of, 242, 243;
    continues to abuse him, 244, 245, 250, 252;
    exults at his retirement, 256;
    prints slanders, 257.

  Demont, William,
    betrays plans of Fort Washington to Howe, i. 175.

  D'Estaing, Admiral,
    reaches America, i. 242;
    welcomed by Washington, 243;
    fails to cut off Howe and goes to Newport, 243;
    after battle with Howe goes to Boston, 244;
    letter of Washington to, 246;
    sails to West Indies, 246;
    second letter of Washington to, 247;
    attacks Savannah, 248;
    withdraws, 248.

  De Rochambeau, Comte,
    arrives at Newport, i. 277;
    ordered to await second division of army, 278;
    refuses to attack New York, 280;
    wishes a conference with Washington, 282;
    meets him at Hartford, 282;
    disapproves attacking Florida, 301;
    joins Washington before New York, 306;
    persuades De Barras to join De Grasse, 311;
    accompanies Washington to Yorktown, 314.

  Dickinson, John,
    commands scouts at Monmouth, i. 326.

  Digby, Admiral,
    bitter comments of Washington on, i. 325.

  Dinwiddie, Governor,
    remonstrates against French encroachments, i. 66;
    sends Washington on mission to French, 66;
    quarrels with the Virginia Assembly, 71;
    letter of Washington to, 73;
    wishes Washington to attack French, 79;
    tries to quiet discussions between regular and provincial troops, 80;
    military schemes condemned by Washington, 91;
    prevents his getting a royal commission, 93.

  Diplomatic History:
    refusal by Washington of special privileges to French minister,
  ii. 59-61;
    slow growth of idea of non-intervention, 132, 133;
    difficulties owing to French Revolution, 134;
    to English retention of frontier posts, 135;
    attitude of Spain, 135;
    relations with Barbary States, 136;
    mission of Gouverneur Morris to sound English feeling, 137;
    assertion by Washington of non-intervention policy toward Europe,
  145, 146;
    issue of neutrality proclamation, 147, 148;
    its importance, 148;
    mission of Genet, 148-162;
    guarded attitude of Washington toward émigrés, 151;
    excesses of Genet, 151;
    neutrality enforced, 153, 154;
    the Little Sarah episode, 154-157;
    recall of Genet demanded, 158;
    futile missions of Carmichael and Short to Spain, 165, 166;
    successful treaty of Thomas Pinckney, 166-168;
    question as to binding nature of French treaty of commerce, 169-171;
    irritating relations with England, 173-176;
    Jay's mission, 177-184;
    the questions at issue, 180, 181;
    terms of the treaty agreed upon, 182;
    good and bad points, 183;
    ratified by Senate, 184;
    signing delayed by renewal of provision order, 185;
    war with England prevented by signing, 205;
    difficulties with France over Morris and Monroe, 211-214;
    doings of Monroe, 212, 213;
    United States compromised by him, 213, 214;
    Monroe replaced by Pinckney, 214;
    review of Washington's foreign policy, 216-219;
    mission of Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry to France, 284;
    the X.Y.Z. affair, 285.

  Donop, Count,
    drives Griffin out of New Jersey, i. 180;
    killed at Fort Mercer, 217.

  Dorchester, Lord.
    See Carleton.

  Duane, James,
    letters of Washington to, i. 294, 329.

  Dumas, Comte,
    describes enthusiasm of people for Washington, i. 288.

  Dunbar, Colonel,
    connection with Braddock's expedition, i. 84, 87.

  Dunmore, Lord,
    arrives in Virginia as governor, i. 122;
    on friendly terms with Washington, 122, 123;
    dissolves assembly, 123.

  Duplaine, French consul,
    exequatur of revoked, ii. 159.

    peace commissioner, i. 233.

  Edwards, Jonathan,
    a typical New England American, ii. 309.

  Emerson, Rev. Dr.,
    describes Washington's reforms in army before Boston, i. 140.

    Washington's treatment of, ii. 151, 253.

    honors Washington, i. 20;
    arrogant behavior toward colonists, 80, 81, 82, 148;
    its policy towards Boston condemned by Virginia, 119, 121, 123, 126;
    by Washington, 124, 125,126;
    sends incompetent officers to America, 155, 201, 202, 233;
    stupidity of its operations, 203, 205, 206, 265;
    sincerity of its desire for peace doubted by Washington, 324, 325;
    arrogant conduct of toward the United States after peace, ii. 24, 25;
    stirs up the Six Nations and Northwestern Indians, 92, 94, 101;
    folly of her policy, 102;
    sends Hammond as minister, 169;
    its opportunity to win United States as ally against France, 171, 172;
    adopts contrary policy of opposition, 172, 173;
    adopts "provision order," 174;
    incites Indians against United States, 175;
    indignation of America against, 176;
    receives Jay well, but refuses to yield points at issue, 180;
    insists on monopoly of West India trade, 180;
    and on impressment, 181;
    later history of, 181;
    renews provision order, 185;
    danger of war with, 193;
    avoided by Jay treaty, 205;
    Washington said to sympathize with England, 252;
    his real hostility toward, 254;
    Washington's opinion of liberty in, 344.

  Ewing, General James,
    fails to help Washington at Trenton, i. 180.

    hunts with Washington, i. 115;
    remonstrates with Washington against violence of patriots, 124;
    Washington's replies to, 124, 126, 127;
    letter of Washington to in Revolution, ii. 366.

  Fairfax, George,
    married to Miss Cary, i. 55;
    accompanies Washington on surveying expedition, 58;
    letter of Washington to, 133.

  Fairfax, Mrs.----,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 367.

  Fairfax, Thomas, Lord,
    his career in England, i. 55;
    comes to his Virginia estates, 55;
    his character, 55;
    his friendship for Washington, 56;
    sends him to survey estates, 56;
    plans a manor across the Blue Ridge, 59;
    secures for Washington position as public surveyor, 60;
    probably influential in securing his appointment as envoy to
  French, 66;
    hunts with Washington, 115;
    his death remembered by Washington, ii. 366.

  Fairlie, Major,
    amuses Washington, ii. 374.

  Farewell Address, ii. 248, 249.

  Fauchet, M.,----,
    letter of, incriminating Randolph, ii. 195,196, 202.

  Fauntleroy, Betsy,
    love affair of Washington with, i. 97.

  Fauquier, Francis, Governor,
    at Washington's wedding, i. 101.

  Federal courts,
    suggested by Washington, i. 150.

    circulated by Washington, ii. 40.

  Federalist party,
    begun by Hamilton's controversy with Jefferson, ii. 230;
    supports Washington for reëlection, 235;
    organized in support of financial measures, 236;
    Washington looked upon by Democrats as its head, 244, 247;
    only its members trusted by Washington, 246, 247, 259, 260, 261;
    becomes a British party, 255;
    Washington considers himself a member of, 269-274;
    the only American party until 1800, 273;
    strengthened by X, Y, Z affair, 285;
    dissensions in, over army appointments, 286-290;
    its horror at French Revolution, 294, 295;
    attempts of Washington to heal divisions in, 298.

  Fenno's newspaper,
    used by Hamilton against the "National Gazette," ii. 230.

  Finances of the Revolution,
    effect of paper money on war, i. 258, 262;
    difficulties in paying troops, 258;
    labors of Robert Morris, 259, 264, 312;
    connection of Washington with, 263;
    continued collapse, 280, 290, 312.

  Financial History,
    bad condition in 1789, ii. 105;
    decay of credit, paper, and revenue, 106;
    futile propositions, 106;
    Hamilton's report on credit, 107;
    debate over assumption of state debt, 107;
    bargain between Hamilton and Jefferson, 108;
    establishment of bank, 109;
    other measures adopted, 112;
    protection in the first Congress, 112-115;
    the excise tax imposed, 123;
    opposition to, 123-127;
    "Whiskey Rebellion," 127-128.

  Fishbourn, Benjamin,
    nomination rejected by Senate, ii. 63.

  Fontanes, M. de,
    delivers funeral oration on Washington, i. 1.

  Forbes, General,
    renews attack on French in Ohio, i. 93.

  Forman, Major,
    describes impressiveness of Washington, ii. 389.

  Fox, Charles James,
    understands significance of Washington's leadership, i. 202.

    pays honors to Washington, i. I, 6;
    war with England, see French and Indian war;
    takes possession of Ohio, 65;
    considers Jumonville assassinated by Washington, 74;
    importance of alliance with foreseen by Washington, 191;
    impressed by battle of Germantown, 200;
    makes treaty of alliance with United States, 241;
    sends D'Estaing, 243;
    declines to attack Canada, 256;
    sends army and fleet, 274, 277;
    relations of French to Washington, 318, 319;
    absolute necessity of their naval aid, 318, 319;
    Revolution in, applauded by America, ii. 138, 139, 142;
    real character understood by Washington and others, 139-142, 295;
    debate over in America, 142;
    question of relations with United States, 143, 144;
    warned by Washington, 144, 145;
    neutrality toward declared, 147;
    tries to drive United States into alliance, 149;
    terms of the treaty with, 169;
    latter held to be no longer binding, 169-171;
    abrogates it, 171;
    demands recall of Morris, 211;
    mission of Monroe to, 211-214;
    makes vague promises, 212, 213;
    Washington's fairness toward, 253;
    tries to bully or corrupt American ministers, 284;
    the X, Y, Z affair, 285;
    war with not expected by Washington, 291;
    danger of concession to, 292, 293;
    progress of Revolution in, 294.

  Franklin, Benjamin,
    gets wagons for Braddock's expedition, i. 84;
    remark on Howe in Philadelphia, 219;
    national, like Washington, 252, ii. 8;
    despairs of success of Constitutional Convention, 35;
    his unquestioned Americanism, 309;
    respect of Washington for, 344, 346, 364.

  Frederick II., the Great,
    his opinion of Trenton campaign, i. 183;
    of Monmouth campaign, 239.

  French and Indian war, i. 64-94;
    inevitable conflict, 65;
    efforts to negotiate, 66, 67;
    hostilities begun, 72;
    the Jumonville affair, 74;
    defeat of Washington, 76;
    Braddock's campaign, 82-88;
    ravages in Virginia, 90;
    carried to a favorable conclusion by Pitt, 93, 94.

  Freneau, Philip,
    brought to Philadelphia and given clerkship by Jefferson, ii. 227;
    attacks Adams, Hamilton, and Washington in "National Gazette," 227;
    makes conflicting statements as to Jefferson's share in the paper,
  227, 228;
    the first to attack Washington, 238.

  Fry, Colonel,
    commands a Virginia regiment against French and Indians, i. 71;
    dies, leaving Washington in command, 75.

    conduct at Boston condemned by Washington, i. 126;
    his treatment of prisoners protested against by Washington, 145;
    sends an arrogant reply, 147;
    second letter of Washington to, 147, 156.

  Gallatin, Albert,
    connection with Whiskey Rebellion, ii. 129.

  Gates, Horatio,
    visits Mt. Vernon, his character, i. 132;
    refuses to cooperate with Washington at Trenton, 180;
    his appointment as commander against Burgoyne urged, 208;
    chosen by Congress, 209;
    his part in defeating Burgoyne, 210;
    neglects to inform Washington, 211;
    loses his head and wishes to supplant Washington, 215;
    forced to send troops South, 216, 217;
    his attitude discovered by Washington, 221;
    makes feeble efforts at opposition, 221, 223;
    correspondence with Washington, 221, 223, 226;
    becomes head of board of war, 221;
    quarrels with Wilkinson, 223;
    sent to his command, 226;
    fears attack of British on Boston, 265;
    sent by Congress to command in South, 268;
    defeated at Camden, 281, 294;
    loses support of Congress, 294.

  Genet, Edmond Charles,
    arrives as French minister, ii. 148;
    his character, 149;
    violates neutrality, 151;
    his journey to Philadelphia, 151;
    reception by Washington, 152;
    complains of it, 153;
    makes demands upon State Department, 153;
    protests at seizure of privateers, 153;
    insists on sailing of Little Sarah, 155;
    succeeds in getting vessel away, 157;
    his recall demanded, 158;
    reproaches Jefferson, 158;
    remains in America, 158;
    threatens to appeal from Washington to Massachusetts, 159;
    demands denial from Washington of Jay's statements, 159;
    loses popular support, 160;
    tries to raise a force to invade Southwest, 161;
    prevented by state and federal authorities, 162;
    his arrival the signal for divisions of parties, 237;
    hurts Democratic party by his excesses, 241;
    suggests clubs, 241.

  George IV.,
    Washington's opinion of, ii. 346.

    quarrels with Creeks, asks aid of United States, ii. 90;
    becomes dissatisfied with treaty, 91;
    disregards treaties of the United States, 103.

  Gerard, M.,
    notifies Washington of return of D'Estaing, i. 246.

    battle of, i. 199.

  Gerry, Elbridge,
    on special mission to France, ii. 284;
    disliked by Washington, 292.

  Giles, W.B.,
    attacks Washington in Congress, ii. 251, 252.

  Gist, Christopher,
    accompanies Washington on his mission to French, i. 66;
    wishes to shoot French Indians, 68.

    letter of Washington to, i. 227.

  Graves, Admiral,
    sent to relieve Cornwallis, i. 312; defeated by De Grasse, 312.

  Grayson, William,
    hunts with Washington, i. 115; letter to, ii. 22.

  Green Springs,
    battle of, i. 307.

  Greene, General Nathanael,
    commands at Long Island, ill with fever, i. 164;
    wishes forts on Hudson held, 174;
    late in attacking at Germantown, 199;
    conducts retreat, 200;
    succeeds Mifflin as quartermaster-general, 232;
    selected by Washington to command in South, 268;
    commands army at New York in absence of Washington, 282;
    appointed to command Southern army, 295;
    retreats from Cornwallis, 302;
    fights battle of Guilford Court House, 302;
    clears Southern States of enemy, 302;
    strong position, 304;
    reinforced by Washington, 322;
    letter to, 325;
    his military capacity early recognized by Washington, ii. 334;
    amuses Washington, 374.

  Greene, Mrs.----,
    dances three hours with Washington, ii. 380.

  Grenville, Lord,
    denies that ministry has incited Indians against United States,
  ii. 175;
    receives Jay, 180;
    declines to grant United States trade with West Indies, 181.

  Griffin, David,
    commissioner to treat with Creeks, ii. 90.

    fails to help Washington at Trenton, i. 180.

  Grymes, Lucy,
    the "Lowland Beauty," love affair of Washington with, i. 95;
    marries Henry Lee, 96.

    leads Indians against colonists, i. 325.

  Hale, Nathan, compared with André, i. 288.

    kept to English alliance by Washington, i. 68;
    his criticism of Washington's first campaign, 76.

  Hamilton, Alexander,
    forces Gates to send back troops to Washington, i. 216, 217;
    remark on councils of war before Monmouth, 234;
    informs Washington of Arnold's treason, 284;
    sent to intercept Arnold, 285;
    writes letters on government and finance, 298;
    leads attack at Yorktown, i. 316;
    requests release of Asgill, 329;
    aids Washington in Congress, 333;
    only man beside Washington and Franklin to realize American future,
  ii. 7;
    letters of Washington to on necessity of a strong government, 17, 18;
    writes letters to Duane and Morris, 19;
    speech in Federal Convention and departure, 35;
    counseled by Washington, 39;
    consulted by Washington as to etiquette, 54;
    made secretary of treasury, 66;
    his character, 67;
    his report on the mint, 81;
    on the public credit, 107;
    upheld by Washington, 107, 108;
    his arrangement with Jefferson, 108;
    argument on the bank, 110;
    his success largely due to Washington, 112;
    his report on manufactures, 112, 114, 116;
    advocates an excise, 122;
    fails to realize its unpopularity, 123;
    accompanies expedition to suppress Whiskey Rebellion, 128;
    comprehends French Revolution, 139;
    frames questions to cabinet on neutrality, 147;
    urges decisive measures against Genet, 154;
    argues against United States being bound by French treaty, 169;
    selected for English mission, but withdraws, 177;
    not likely to have done better than Jay, 183;
    mobbed in defending Jay treaty, 187;
    writes Camillus letters in favor of Jay treaty, 206;
    intrigued against by Monroe, 212;
    causes for his breach with Jefferson, 224;
    his aristocratic tendencies, 225;
    attacked by Jefferson and his friends, 228, 229;
    disposes of the charges, 229;
    retorts in newspapers with effect, 230;
    ceases at Washington's request, 230, 234;
    resigns from the cabinet, 234;
    desires Washington's reëlection, 235;
    selected by Washing, ton as senior general, 286;
    appeals to Washington against Adams's reversal of rank, 286;
    fails to soothe Knox's anger, 288;
    report on army organization, 290;
    letter of Washington to, condemning Adams's French mission, 293;
    fears anarchy from Democratic success, 295;
    approves Alien and Sedition Acts, 296;
    his scheme of a military academy approved by Washington, 299;
    Washington's affection for, 317, 362;
    his ability early recognized by Washington, 334, 335;
    aids Washington in literary points, 340;
    takes care of Lafayette's son, 366.

  Hammond, George,
    protests against violations of neutrality, ii. 151;
    his arrival as British minister, 169;
    his offensive tone, 173;
    does not disavow Lord Dorchester's speech to Indians, 176;
    gives Fauchet letters to Wolcott, 195;
    intrigues with American public men, 200.

  Hampden, John,
    compared with Washington, ii. 312, 313.

  Hancock, John,
    disappointed at Washington's receiving command of army, i. 135;
    his character, ii. 74;
    refuses to call first on Washington as President, 75;
    apologizes and calls, 75, 76.

  Hardin, Colonel,
    twice surprised and defeated by Indians, ii. 93.

  Harmar, Colonel,
    invades Indian country, ii. 92;
    attacks the Miamis, 93;
    sends out unsuccessful expeditions and retreats, 93;
    court-martialed and resigns, 93.

  Harrison, Benjamin,
    letters of Washington to, i. 259, 261; ii. 10.

  Hartley, Mrs.----,
    admired by Washington, i. 95.

  Heard, Sir Isaac,
    Garter King at Arms, makes out a pedigree for Washington, i. 30, 31.

  Heath, General,
    checks Howe at Frog's Point, i. 173;
    left in command at New York, 311.

  Henry, Patrick,
    his resolutions supported by Washington, i. 119;
    accompanies him to Philadelphia, 128;
    his tribute to Washington's influence, 130;
    ready for war, 132;
    letters of Conway cabal to against Washington, 222;
    letter of Washington to, 225;
    appealed to by Washington on behalf of Constitution, ii. 38;
    an opponent of the Constitution, 71;
    urged by Washington to oppose Virginia resolutions, 266-268, 293;
    a genuine American, 309;
    offered secretaryship of state, 324;
    friendship of Washington for, 362.

  Hertburn, Sir William de,
    ancestor of Washington family, i. 31, 33.

    in Revolution, i. 194.

  Hickey, Thomas,
    hanged for plotting to murder Washington, i. 160.

  Hobby,----, a sexton,
    Washington's earliest teacher, i. 48.

  Hopkinson, Francis,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 3.

  Houdon, J.A., sculptor,
    on Washington's appearance, ii. 386.

  Howe, Lord,
    arrives at New York with power to negotiate and pardon, i. 161;
    refuses to give Washington his title, 161;
    tries to negotiate with Congress, 167;
    escapes D'Estaing at Delaware, 244;
    attacks D'Estaing off Newport, 244.

  Howe, Sir William,
    has controversy with Washington over treatment of prisoners, i. 148;
    checked at Frog's Point, 173;
    attacks cautiously at Chatterton Hill, 173;
    retreats and attacks forts on Hudson, 174;
    takes Fort Washington, 175;
    goes into winter quarters in New York, 177, 186;
    suspected of purpose to meet Burgoyne, 194, 195;
    baffled in advance across New Jersey by Washington, 194;
    goes by sea, 195;
    arrives at Head of Elk, 196;
    defeats Washington at Brandywine, 197;
    camps at Germantown, 199;
    withdraws after Germantown into Philadelphia, 201;
    folly of his failure to meet Burgoyne, 205, 206;
    offers battle in vain to Washington, 218;
    replaced by Clinton, 232;
    tries to cut off Lafayette, 233.

  Huddy, Captain,
    captured by English, hanged by Tories, i. 327.

  Humphreys, Colonel,
    letters of Washington to, ii. 13, 339;
    at opening of Congress, 78;
    commissioner to treat with Creeks, 90;
    anecdote of, 375.

  Huntington, Lady,
    asks Washington's aid in Christianizing Indians, ii. 4.

    right of, maintained by England, ii. 181.

    not wished, but foreseen, by Washington, i. 131, 156;
    declared by Congress, possibly through Washington's influence, 160.

    wars with in Virginia, i. 37, 38;
    in French and Indian war, 67,68;
    desert English, 76;
    in Braddock's defeat, 85, 86, 88;
    restless before Revolution, 122;
    in War of Revolution, 266, 270;
    punished by Sullivan, 269;
    policy toward, early suggested by Washington, 344;
    recommendations relative to in Washington's address to Congress,
  ii. 82;
    the "Indian problem" under Washington's administration, 83-105;
    erroneous popular ideas of, 84, 85;
    real character and military ability, 85-87;
    understood by Washington, 87, 88;
    a real danger in 1788, 88;
    situation in the Northwest, 89;
    difficulties with Cherokees and Creeks, 89, 90;
    influence of Spanish intrigue, 90;
    successful treaty with Creeks, 90, 91;
    wisdom of this policy, 92;
    warfare in the Northwest, 92;
    defeats of Harmar and Hardin, 93;
    causes for the failure, 93, 94;
    intrigues of England, 92, 94, 175, 178;
    expedition and defeat of St. Clair, 95-97;
    results, 99;
    expedition of Wayne, 100, 102;
    his victory, 103;
    success of Washington's policy toward, 104, 105.

  Iredell, James,
    appointed to Supreme Court, ii. 73.

    accompanies Washington to opening of Congress, ii. 78.

  Jameson, Colonel,
    forwards Andrews letter to Arnold, i. 284;
    receives orders from Washington, 285.

  Jay, John,
    on opposition in Congress, to Washington, i. 222;
    consulted by Washington as to etiquette, ii. 54;
    appointed chief justice, 72;
    publishes card against Genet, 159;
    appointed on special mission to England, 177;
    his character, 177;
    instructions from Washington, 179;
    his reception in England, 180;
    difficulties in negotiating, 181;
    concludes treaty, 182;
    burnt in effigy while absent, 186;
    execrated after news of treaty, 187;
    hampered by Monroe in France, 213.

  Jay treaty, ii. 180-184;
    opposition to and debate over signing, 184-201;
    reasons of Washington for signing, 205.

  Jefferson, Thomas,
    his flight from Cornwallis, i. 307;
    discusses with Washington needs of government, ii. 9;
    adopts French democratic phraseology, 27;
    contrast with Washington, 27, 28, 69;
    criticises Washington's manners, 56;
    made secretary of state, 68;
    his previous relations with Washington, 68;
    his character, 69;
    supposed to be a friend of the Constitution, 72;
    his objections to President's opening Congress, 79;
    on weights and measures, 81;
    letter of Washington to on assumption of state debts, 107;
    makes bargain with Hamilton, 108;
    opposes a bank, 110;
    asked to prepare neutrality instructions, 146;
    upholds Genet, 153;
    argues against him publicly, supports him privately, 154;
    notified of French privateer Little Sarah, 155;
    allows it to sail, 155;
    retires to country and is censured by Washington, 156;
    assures Washington that vessel will wait his decision, 156;
    his un-American attitude, 157;
    wishes to make terms of note demanding Genet's recall mild, 158;
    argues that United States is bound by French treaty, 170, 171;
    begs Madison to answer Hamilton's "Camillus" letters, 206;
    his attitude upon first entering cabinet, 223;
    causes for his breach with Hamilton, 224;
    jealousy, incompatibility of temper, 224;
    his democratic opinions, 225;
    skill in creating party catch-words, 225;
    prints "Rights of Man" with note against Adams, 226;
    attacks him further in letter to Washington, 226;
    brings Freneau to Philadelphia and gives him an office, 227;
    denies any connection with Freneau's newspaper, 227;
    his real responsibility, 228;
    his purpose to undermine Hamilton, 228;
    causes his friends to attack him, 229;
    writes a letter to Washington attacking Hamilton's treasury measures,
    fails to produce any effect, 230;
    winces under Hamilton's counter attacks, 230;
    reiterates charges and asserts devotion to Constitution, 231;
    continues attacks and resigns, 234;
    wishes reëlection of Washington, 235;
    his charge of British sympathies resented by Washington, 252;
    plain letter of Washington to, 259;
    Washington's opinion of, 259;
    suggests Logan's mission to France, 262, 265;
    takes oath as vice-president, 276;
    regarded as a Jacobin by Federalists, 294;
    jealous of Washington, 306;
    accuses him of senility, 307;
    a genuine American, 309.

  Johnson, William,
    Tory leader in New York, i. 143.

  Johnstone, Governor,
    peace commissioner, i. 233.

  Jumonville, De, French leader,
    declared to have been assassinated by Washington, i. 74,79;
    really a scout and spy, 75.

    condemned by Washington, ii. 266-268.

  King, Clarence,
    his opinion that Washington was not American, ii. 308.

  King, Rufus,
    publishes card exposing Genet, ii. 159.

  King's Bridge,
    fight at, i. 170.

  Kip's Landing,
    fight at, i. 168.

  Kirkland, Rev. Samuel,
    negotiates with Six Nations, ii. 101.

  Knox, Henry,
    brings artillery to Boston from Ticonderoga, i. 152;
    accompanies Washington to meet De Rochambeau, 283;
    at West Point, 285;
    sent by Washington to confer with governors of States, 295;
    urged by Washington to establish Western posts, ii. 7;
    letters of Washington to, 30, 39;
    made secretary of war, 65;
    his character, 65;
    a Federalist, 71;
    deals with Creeks, 91;
    urges decisive measure against Genet, 154, 155;
    letters of Washington to, 260;
    selected by Washington as third major-general, 286;
    given first place by Adams, 286;
    angry at Hamilton's higher rank, 288;
    refuses the office, 289;
    his offer to serve on Washington's staff refused, 289;
    Washington's affection for, 317, 362.

  LAFAYETTE, Madame de,
    aided by Washington, ii. 366;
    letter of Washington to, 377.

  Lafayette, Marquis de,
    Washington's regard for, i. 192;
    his opinion of Continental troops, 196;
    sent on fruitless journey to the lakes by cabal, 222, 253;
    encouraged by Washington, 225;
    narrowly escapes being cut off by Clinton, 233;
    appointed to attack British rear, 235;
    superseded by Lee, 235;
    urges Washington to come, 235;
    letter of Washington to, regarding quarrel between D'Estaing and
  Sullivan, 245;
    regard of Washington for, 249;
    desires to conquer Canada, 254;
    his plan not supported in France, 256;
    works to get a French army sent, 264;
    brings news of French army and fleet, 274;
    tries to get De Rochambeau to attack New York, 280;
    accompanies Washington to meet De Rochambeau, 283;
    told by Washington of Arnold's treachery, 285;
    on court to try André, 287;
    opinion of Continental soldiers, 293;
    harasses Cornwallis, 307;
    defeated at Green Springs, 307;
    watches Cornwallis at Yorktown, 308;
    reinforced by De Grasse, 312;
    persuades him to remain, 315;
    sends Washington French wolf-hounds, ii. 2;
    letters of Washington to, 23, 26, 118, 144, 165, 222, 261;
    his son not received by Washington, 253;
    later taken care of, 277, 281, 366;
    his worth, early seen by Washington, 334;
    Washington's affection for, 365;
    sends key of Bastile to Mt. Vernon, 365;
    helped by Washington, 365,366.

  Laurens, Henry,
    letter of Conway cabal to, making attack on Washington, i. 222;
    letters of Washington to, 254, 288;
    sent to Paris to get loans, 299.

  Lauzun, Duc de,
    repulses Tarleton at Yorktown, i. 317.

  Lear, Tobias,
    Washington's secretary, ii. 263;
    his account of Washington's last illness, 299-303, 385;
    letters to, 361, 382.

  Lee, Arthur,
    example of Virginia gentleman educated abroad, i. 23.

  Lee, Charles,
    visits Mt. Vernon, his character, i. 132;
    accompanies Washington to Boston, 136;
    aids Washington in organizing army, 140;
    disobeys orders and is captured, 175;
    objects to attacking Clinton, 234;
    first refuses, then claims command of van, 235;
    disobeys orders and retreats, 236;
    rebuked by Washington, 236, 237;
    court martial of and dismissal from army, 237;
    his witty remark on taking oath of allegiance, ii. 375.

  Lee, Henry, marries Lucy Grymes,
    Washington's "Lowland Beauty," i. 96.

  Lee, Henry,
    son of Lucy Grymes, Washington's "Lowland Beauty," i. 96; ii. 362;
    captures Paulus Hook, i. 269;
    letters of Washington to, ii. 23, 26, 149, 235, 239, 242, 252;
    considered for command against Indians, 100;
    commands troops to suppress Whiskey Rebellion, 127;
    Washington's affection for, 362.

  Lee, Richard Henry,
    unfriendly to Washington, i. 214;
    letter of Washington to, ii. 160.

  Lewis, Lawrence,
    at opening of Congress, ii. 78;
    takes social duties at Mt. Vernon, 280.

  Liancourt, Duc de,
    refused reception by Washington, ii. 253.

  Lincoln, Abraham,
    compared with Washington, i. 349; ii. 308-313.

  Lincoln, Benjamin,
    sent by Washington against Burgoyne, i. 210;
    fails to understand Washington's policy and tries to hold Charleston,
  273, 274;
    captured, 276;
    commissioner to treat with Creeks, ii. 90.

  Lippencott, Captain,
    orders hanging of Huddy, i. 327;
    acquitted by English court martial, 328.

  Little Sarah,
    the affair of, 155-157.

  Livingston, Chancellor,
    administers oath at Washington's inauguration, ii. 46.

  Livingston, Edward,
    moves call for papers relating to Jay treaty, ii. 207.

  Logan, Dr. George,
    goes on volunteer mission to France, ii. 262;
    ridiculed by Federalists, publishes defense, 263;
    calls upon Washington, 263;
    mercilessly snubbed, 263-265.

  Long Island,
    battle of, i. 164,165.

  London, Lord,
    disappoints Washington by his inefficiency, i. 91.

  Lovell, James,
    follows the Adamses in opposing Washington, i. 214;
    wishes to supplant him by Gates, 215;
    writes hostile letters, 222.

    letter of Washington to, i. 130.

  Madison, James,
    begins to desire a stronger government, ii. 19, 29;
    letters of Washington to, 30, 39, 53;
    chosen for French mission, but does not go, 211.

  Magaw, Colonel,
    betrayed at Fort Washington, i. 175.

    Washington's pet colt, beaten in a race, i. 99, 113; ii. 381.

  Marshall, John,
    Chief Justice, on special commission to France, ii. 284;
    tells anecdote of Washington's anger at cowardice, 392.

  Maryland, the Washington family in, i.36.

  Mason, George,
    discusses political outlook with Washington, i. 119;
    letter of Washington to, 263;
    an opponent of the Constitution, ii. 71;
    friendship of Washington for, 362;
    debates with Washington the site of Pohick Church, 381.

  Mason, S.T.,
    communicates Jay treaty to Bache, ii. 185.

  Massey, Rev. Lee,
    rector of Pohick Church, i. 44.

  Mathews, George,
    letter of Washington to, i. 294.

  Matthews, Edward,
    makes raids in Virginia, i. 269.

  Mawhood, General,
    defeated at Princeton, i. 182.

  McGillivray, Alexander,
    chief of the Creeks, ii. 90;
    his journey to New York and interview with Washington, 91.

  McHenry, James,
    at West Point, i. 284;
    letters to, 325, ii. 22, 278, 287, 384;
    becomes secretary of war, 246;
    advised by Washington not to appoint Democrats, 260, 261.

  McKean, Thomas, given letters to Dr. Logan, ii. 265.

  McMaster, John B.,
    calls Washington "an unknown man," i. 7, ii. 304;
    calls him cold, 332, 352;
    and avaricious in small ways, 352.

  Meade, Colonel Richard,
    Washington's opinion of, ii. 335.

  Mercer, Hugh,
    killed at Princeton, i. 182.

    president of Directory, interview with Dr. Logan, ii. 265.

  Mifflin, Thomas,
    wishes to supplant Washington by Gates, i. 216;
    member of board of war, 221;
    put under Washington's orders, 226;
    replies to Washington's surrender of commission, 349;
    meets Washington on journey to inauguration, ii. 44;
    notified of the Little Sarah, French privateer, 154;
    orders its seizure, 155.

    abandon Continental army, i. 167;
    cowardice of, 168;
    despised by Washington, 169;
    leave army again, 175;
    assist in defeat of Burgoyne, 211.

  Mischianza, i. 232.

    battle of, i. 235-239.

  Monroe, James,
    appointed minister to France, ii. 211;
    his character, 212;
    intrigues against Hamilton, 212;
    effusively received in Paris, 212;
    acts foolishly, 213;
    tries to interfere with Jay, 213;
    upheld, then condemned and recalled by Washington, 213, 214;
    writes a vindication, 215;
    Washington's opinion of him, 215, 216;
    his selection one of Washington's few mistakes, 334.

  Montgomery, General Richard,
    sent by Washington to invade Canada, i. 143.

  Morgan, Daniel,
    sent against Burgoyne by Washington, i. 208;
    at Saratoga, 210;
    wins battle of Cowpens, joins Greene, 301.

  Morris, Gouverneur,
    letters of Washington to, i. 248, 263;
    efforts towards financial reform, 264;
    quotes speech of Washington at Federal convention in his eulogy,
  ii. 31;
    discussion as to his value as an authority, 32, note;
    goes to England on unofficial mission, 137;
    balked by English insolence, 137;
    comprehends French Revolution, 139;
    letters of Washington to, on the Revolution, 140,142,145;
    recall demanded by France, 211;
    letter of Washington to, 217,240, 254;
    Washington's friendship for, 363.

  Morris, Robert,
    letter of Washington to, i. 187;
    helps Washington to pay troops, 259;
    efforts towards financial reform, 264;
    difficulty in helping Washington in 1781, 309, 312;
    considered for secretary of treasury, ii. 66;
    his bank policy approved by Washington, 110;
    Washington's friendship for, 363.

    demands private access to Washington, ii. 59;
    refused, 59, 60.

  Murray, Vans, minister in Holland,
    interview with Dr. Logan, ii. 264;
    nominated for French mission by Adams, 292;
    written to by Washington, 292.

  Muse, Adjutant,
    trains Washington in tactics and art of war, i. 65.

    orders public mourning for Washington's death, i. 1.

  Nelson, General,
    letter of Washington to, i. 257.

    addresses, ii. 335.

  New England,
    character of people, i. 138;
    attitude toward Washington, 138, 139;
    troops disliked by Washington, 152;
    later praised by him, 152, 317, 344;
    threatened by Burgoyne's invasion, 204;
    its delegates in Congress demand appointment of Gates, 208;
    and oppose Washington, 214;
    welcomes Washington on tour as President, ii. 74;
    more democratic than other colonies before Revolution, 315;
    disliked by Washington for this reason, 316.

  Newenham, Sir Edward,
    letter of Washington to on American foreign policy, ii. 133.

  New York,
    Washington's first visit to, i. 99, 100;
    defense of, in Revolution, 159-169;
    abandoned by Washington, 169;
    Howe establishes himself in, 177;
    reoccupied by Clinton, 264;
    Washington's journey to, ii. 44;
    inauguration in, 46;
    rioting in, against Jay treaty, 187.

  Nicholas, John,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 259.

  Nicola, Col.,
    urges Washington to establish a despotism, i. 337.

  Noailles, Vicomte de, French émigré,
    referred to State Department, ii. 151, 253.

    Washington's friendship with, ii. 318.

  Organization of the national government,
    absence of materials to work with, ii. 51;
    debate over title of President, 52;
    over his communications with Senate, 53;
    over presidential etiquette, 53-56;
    appointment of officials to cabinet offices established by Congress,
    appointment of supreme court judges, 72.

    letter of Washington to, i. 84.

    his "Rights of Man" reprinted by Jefferson, ii. 226.

  Parkinson, Richard,
    says Washington was harsh to slaves, i. 105;
    contradicts statement elsewhere, 106;
    tells stories of Washington's pecuniary exactness, ii. 353, 354, 382;
    his character, 355;
    his high opinion of Washington, 356.

  Parton, James,
    considers Washington as good but commonplace, ii. 330, 374.

  Peachey, Captain,
    letter of Washington to, i. 92.

  Pendleton, Edmund,
    Virginia delegate to Continental Congress, i. 128.

    refuses to fight the French, i. 72,83;
    fails to help Washington, 225;
    remonstrates against his going into winter quarters, 229;
    condemned by Washington, 229;
    compromises with mutineers, 292.

  Philipse, Mary,
    brief love-affair of Washington with, i. 99, 100.

  Phillips, General,
    commands British troops in Virginia, i. 303;
    death of, 303.

  Pickering, Colonel, quiets Six Nations, ii. 94.

  Pickering, Timothy,
    letter of Washington to, on French Revolution, ii. 140;
    on failure of Spanish negotiations, 166;
    recalls Washington to Philadelphia to receive Fauchet letter, 195;
    succeeds Randolph, 246;
    letters of Washington to, on party government, 247;
    appeals to Washington against Adams's reversal of Hamilton's rank,
    letters of Washington to, 292, 324;
    criticises Washington as a commonplace person, 307.

  Pinckney, Charles C.,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 90;
    appointed to succeed Monroe as minister to France, 214;
    refused reception, 284;
    sent on special commission, 284;
    named by Washington as general, 286;
    accepts without complaint of Hamilton's higher rank, 290;
    Washington's friendship with, 363.

  Pinckney, Thomas,
    sent on special mission to Spain, ii. 166;
    unsuccessful at first, 166;
    succeeds in making a good treaty, 167;
    credit of his exploit, 168;
    letter of Washington to, 325.

  Pitt, William,
    his conduct of French war, i. 93, 94.

    battle of, i. 181-3.

    sent out by Washington, i. 150.

    favored in the first Congress, ii. 113-115;
    arguments of Hamilton for, 114, 115;
    of Washington, 116-122.

    of Americans, i. 193;
    with regard to foreign officers, 193, 234, 250-252;
    with regard to foreign politics, ii. 131, 132, 163, 237, 255.

  Putnam, Israel,
    escapes with difficulty from New York, i. 169;
    fails to help Washington at Trenton, 180;
    warned to defend the Hudson, 195;
    tells Washington of Burgoyne's surrender, 211;
    rebuked by Washington, 217;
    amuses Washington, ii. 374.

    defeated and killed at Trenton, i. 181.

  Randolph, Edmund,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 30, 39;
    relations with Washington, 64;
    appointed attorney-general, 64;
    his character, 64, 65;
    a friend of the Constitution, 71;
    opposes a bank, 110;
    letter of Washington to, on protective bounties, 118;
    drafts neutrality proclamation, 147;
    vacillates with regard to Genet, 154;
    argues that United States is bound by French alliance, 170;
    succeeds Jefferson as secretary of state, 184;
    directed to prepare a remonstrance against English "provision order,"
    opposed to Jay treaty, 188;
    letter of Washington to, on conditional ratification, 189, 191, 192,
    guilty, apparently, from Fauchet letter, of corrupt practices, 196;
    his position not a cause for Washington's signing treaty, 196-200;
    receives Fauchet letter, resigns, 201;
    his personal honesty, 201;
    his discreditable carelessness, 202;
    fairly treated by Washington, 203, 204;
    his complaints against Washington, 203;
    letter of Washington to, concerning Monroe, 213;
    at first a Federalist, 246.

  Randolph, John,
    on early disappearance of Virginia colonial society, i. 15.

  Rawdon, Lord,
    commands British forces in South, too distant to help Cornwallis,
  i. 304.

  Reed, Joseph,
    letters of Washington to, i. 151, 260.

  Revolution, War of,
    foreseen by Washington, i. 120, 122;
    Lexington and Concord, 133;
    Bunker Hill, 136;
    siege of Boston, 137-154;
    organization of army, 139-142;
    operations in New York, 143;
    invasion of Canada, 143, 144;
    question as to treatment of prisoners, 145-148;
    causes of British defeat, 154, 155;
    campaign near New York, 161-177;
    causes for attempted defense of Brooklyn, 163, 164;
    battle of Long Island, 164-165;
    escape of Americans, 166;
    affair at Kip's Bay, 168;
    at King's Bridge, 170;
    at Frog's Point, 173;
    battle of White Plains, 173;
    at Chatterton Hill, 174;
    capture of Forts Washington and Lee, 174, 175;
    pursuit of Washington into New Jersey, 175-177;
    retirement of Howe to New York, 177;
    battle of Trenton, 180, 181;
    campaign of Princeton, 181-183;
    its brilliancy, 183;
    Philadelphia campaign, 194-202;
    British march across New Jersey prevented by Washington, 194;
    sea voyage to Delaware, 195;
    battle of the Brandywine, 196-198;
    causes for defeat, 198;
    defeat of Wayne, 198;
    Philadelphia taken by Howe, 199;
    battle of Germantown, 199;
    its significance, 200, 201;
    Burgoyne's invasion, 203-211;
    Washington's preparations for, 204-206;
    Howe's error in neglecting to cooperate, 205;
    capture of Ticonderoga, 207;
    battles of Bennington, Oriskany, Fort Schuyler, 210;
    battle of Saratoga, 211;
    British repulse at Fort Mercer, 217;
    destruction of the forts, 217;
    fruitless skirmishing before Philadelphia, 218;
    Valley Forge, 228-232;
    evacuation of Philadelphia, 234;
    battle of Monmouth, 235-239;
    its effect, 239;
    cruise and failure of D'Estaing at Newport, 243, 244;
    failure of D'Estaing at Savannah, 247, 248;
    storming of Stony Point, 268, 269;
    Tory raids near New York, 269;
    standstill in 1780, 272;
    siege and capture of Charleston, 273, 274, 276;
    operations of French and Americans near Newport, 277, 278;
    battle of Camden, 281;
    treason of Arnold, 281-289;
    battle of Cowpens, 301;
    retreat of Greene before Cornwallis, 302;
    battle of Guilford Court House, 302;
    successful operations of Greene, 302, 303;
    Southern campaign planned by Washington, 304-311;
    feints against Clinton, 306;
    operations of Cornwallis and Lafayette in Virginia, 307;
    naval supremacy secured by Washington, 310, 311;
    battle of De Grasse and Graves off Chesapeake, 312;
    transport of American army to Virginia, 311-313;
    siege and capture of Yorktown, 315-318;
    masterly character of campaign, 318-320;
    petty operations before New York, 326;
    treaty of peace, 342.

    on Washington's doubts of constitutionality of Bank, ii. 110.

  Robinson, Beverly,
    speaker of Virginia House of Burgesses, his compliment to Washington,
  i. 102.

  Robinson, Colonel,
    loyalist, i. 282.

  Rumsey, James,
    the inventor, asks Washington's consideration of his steamboat, ii. 4.

  Rush, Benjamin,
    describes Washington's impressiveness, ii. 389.

  Rutledge, John,
    letter of Washington to, i. 281;
    nomination rejected by Senate, ii. 63;
    nominated to Supreme Court, 73.

  ST. CLAIR, Arthur,
    removed after loss of Ticonderoga, i. 208;
    appointed to command against Indians, ii. 94;
    receives instructions and begins expedition, 95;
    defeated, 96;
    his character, 99;
    fair treatment by Washington, 99;
    popular execration of, 105.

  St. Pierre, M. de,
    French governor in Ohio, i. 67.

  St. Simon, Count,
    reinforces Lafayette, i. 312.

  Sandwich, Lord,
    calls all Yankees cowards, i. 155.

    anecdote concerning, i. 202.

  Savage, Edward,
    characteristics of his portrait of Washington, i. 13.

    siege of, i. 247.

  Scammel, Colonel,
    amuses Washington, ii. 374.

  Schuyler, Philip,
    accompanies Washington to Boston, i. 136;
    appointed military head in New York, 136;
    directed by Washington how to meet Burgoyne, 204;
    fails to carry out directions, 207;
    removed, 208;
    value of his preparations, 209.

  Scott, Charles, commands expedition against Indians, ii. 95.

    its necessity seen by Washington, i. 283, 303, 304, 306, 310, 318, 319.

  Sectional feeling,
    deplored by Washington, ii. 222.

  Sharpe, Governor,
    offers Washington a company, i. 80;
    Washington's reply to, 81.

  Shays's Rebellion,
    comments of Washington and Jefferson upon, ii. 26, 27.

  Sherman, Roger,
    makes sarcastic remark about Wilkinson, i. 220.

  Shirley, Governor William,
    adjusts matter of Washington's rank, i. 91, 97.

  Short, William, minister to Holland,
    on commission regarding opening of Mississippi, ii. 166.

  Six Nations,
    make satisfactory treaties, ii. 88;
    stirred up by English, 94;
    but pacified, 94, 101.

    in Virginia, i. 20;
    its evil effects, 104;
    Washington's attitude toward slaves, 105;
    his condemnation of the system, 106, 107;
    gradual emancipation favored, 107, 108.

  Smith, Colonel,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 340.

    instigates Indians to hostilities, ii. 89, 94, 101;
    blocks Mississippi, 135;
    makes treaty with Pinckney opening Mississippi, 167, 168;
    angered at Jay treaty, 210.

  Sparks, Jared,
    his alterations of Washington's letters, ii. 337, 338.

  Spotswood, Alexander,
    asks Washington's opinion of Alien and Sedition Acts, ii. 297.

  Stamp Act,
    Washington's opinion of, i. 119, 120.

  Stark, General,
    leads attack at Trenton, i. 181.

  States, in the Revolutionary war,
    appeals of Washington to, i. 142, 186, 204, 259, 277, 295, 306, 323,
  324, 326, 344;
    issue paper money, 258;
    grow tired of the war, 290;
    alarmed by mutinies, 294;
    try to appease soldiers, 295, 296;
    their selfishness condemned by Washington, 333; ii. 21, 23;
    thwart Indian policy of Congress, 88.

  Stephen, Adam,
    late in attacking at Germantown, i. 199.

  Steuben, Baron,
    Washington's appreciation of, i. 192, 249;
    drills the army at Valley Forge, 232;
    annoys Washington by wishing higher command, 249;
    sent on mission to demand surrender of Western posts, 343;
    his worth recognized by Washington, ii. 334.

  Stirling, Lord,
    defeated and captured at Long Island, i. 165.

  Stockton, Mrs.,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 349.

  Stone, General,
    tells stories of Washington's closeness, ii. 353, 354.

  Stuart, David,
    letters of Washington to, ii. 107, 221, 222, 258.

  Stuart, Gilbert,
    his portrait of Washington contrasted with Savage's, i. 13.

  Sullivan, John, General,
    surprised at Long Island, i. 165;
    attacks at Trenton, 180;
    surprised and crushed at Brandywine, 197, 198;
    unites with D'Estaing to attack Newport, 243;
    angry at D'Estaing's desertion, 244;
    soothed by Washington, 244;
    sent against Indians, 266, 269.

  Supreme Court,
    appointed by Washington, ii. 72.

    kindness of Washington toward, ii. 367.

    eulogistic report to Napoleon on death of Washington, i. 1, note;
    remark on Hamilton, ii. 139;
    refused reception by Washington, 253.

  Tarleton, Sir Banastre,
    tries to escape at Yorktown, i. 317.

  Thatcher, Dr.,
    on Washington's appearance when taking command of army, i. 137.

  Thomson, Charles,
    complimented by Washington on retiring from secretary-ship of
  Continental Congress, ii. 350.

    hated by Washington, i. 156;
    his reasons, 157;
    active in New York, 158;
    suppressed by Washington, 159;
    in Philadelphia, impressed by Continental army, 196;
    make raids on frontier, 266;
    strong in Southern States, 267;
    raids under Tryon, 269.

  Trent, Captain,
    his incompetence in dealing with Indians and French, i. 72.

  Trenton, campaign of, i. 180-183.

  Trumbull, Governor,
    letter of Washington to, refusing to stand for a third term,
  ii. 269-271;
    other letters, 298.

  Trumbull, John,
    on New England army before Boston, i. 139.

  Trumbull, Jonathan,
    his message on better government praised by Washington, ii. 21;
    letters to, 42;
    Washington's friendship for, 363.

  Tryon, Governor,
    Tory leader in New York, i. 143;
    his intrigues stopped by Washington, 158, 159;
    conspires to murder Washington, 160;
    makes raids in Connecticut, 269.

    Continental Army at, i. 228-232.

  Van Braam, Jacob,
    friend of Lawrence Washington, trains George in fencing, i. 65;
    accompanies him on mission to French, 66.

    requests release of Asgill, i. 329, 330;
    letter of Washington to, 330;
    proposes to submit disposition of a subsidy to Washington, 332.

  Virginia, society in,
    before the Revolution, i. 15-29;
    its entire change since then, 15, 16;
    population, distribution, and numbers, 17, 18;
    absence of towns, 18;
    and town life, 19;
    trade and travel in, 19;
    social classes, 20-24;
    slaves and poor whites, 20;
    clergy, 21;
    planters and their estates, 22;
    their life, 22;
    education, 23;
    habits of governing, 24;
    luxury and extravagance, 25;
    apparent wealth, 26;
    agreeableness of life, 27;
    aristocratic ideals, 28;
    vigor of stock, 29;
    unwilling to fight French, 71;
    quarrels with Dinwiddie, 71;
    thanks Washington after his French campaign, 79;
    terrified at Braddock's defeat, 88;
    gives Washington command, 89;
    fails to support him, 89, 90, 93;
    bad economic conditions in, 104,105;
    local government in, 117;
    condemns Stamp Act, 119;
    adopts non-importation, 121;
    condemns Boston Port Bill, 123;
    asks opinion of counties, 124;
    chooses delegates to a congress, 127;
    prepares for war, 132;
    British campaign in, 307, 315-318;
    ratifies Constitution, ii. 40;
    evil effect of free trade upon, 116, 117;
    nullification resolutions, 266;
    strength of its aristocracy, 315.

    in command at West Point after Arnold's flight, i. 285.

  Walker, Benjamin,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 257.

  Warren, James,
    letters of Washington to, i. 262, ii. 118.

    ancestry, i. 30-40;
    early genealogical researches concerning, 30-32;
    pedigree finally established, 32;
    origin of family, 33;
    various members during middle ages, 34;
    on royalist side in English civil war, 34, 36;
    character of family, 35;
    emigration to Virginia, 35, 36;
    career of Washingtons in Maryland, 37;
    in Virginia history, 38;
    their estates, 39.

  Washington, Augustine, father of George Washington,
    birth, i. 35;
    death, 39;
    character, 39;
    his estate, 41;
    ridiculous part played by in Weems's anecdotes, 44, 47.

  Washington, Augustine, half brother of George Washington,
    keeps him after his father's death, i. 48.

  Washington, Bushrod,
    refused appointment as attorney by Washington, ii. 62;
    educated by him, 370.

  Washington, George,
    honors to his memory in France, i. 1;
    in England, 2;
    grief in America, 3, 4;
    general admission of his greatness, 4;
    its significance, 5, 6;
    tributes from England, 6;
    from other countries, 6, 7;
    yet an "unknown" man, 7;
    minuteness of knowledge concerning, 8;
    has become subject of myths, 9;
    development of the Weems myth about, 10, 11;
    necessity of a new treatment of, 12;
    significant difference of real and ideal portraits of, 13;
    his silence regarding himself, 14;
    underlying traits, 14.

  _Early Life_.
    Ancestry, 30-41;
    birth, 39;
    origin of Weems's anecdotes about, 41-44;
    their absurdity and evil results, 45-48;
    early schooling, 48;
    plan to send him to sea, 49, 50;
    studies to be a surveyor, 51;
    his rules of behavior, 52;
    his family connections with Fairfaxes, 54, 55;
    his friendship with Lord Fairfax, 56;
    surveys Fairfax's estate, 57, 58, 59;
    made public surveyor, 60;
    his life at the time, 60, 61;
    influenced by Fairfax's cultivation, 62;
    goes to West Indies with his brother, 62;
    has the small-pox, 63;
    observations on the voyage, 63, 64;
    returns to Virginia, 64;
    becomes guardian of his brother's daughter, 64.

  _Service against the French and Indians_.
    Receives military training, 65;
    a military appointment, 66;
    goes on expedition to treat with French, 66;
    meets Indians, 67;
    deals with French, 67;
    dangers of journey, 68;
    his impersonal account, 69, 70;
    appointed to command force against French, 71, 72;
    his anger at neglect of Virginia Assembly, 73;
    attacks and defeats force of Jumonville, 74;
    called murderer by the French, 74;
    surrounded by French at Great Meadows, 76;
    surrenders, 76;
    recklessness of his expedition, 77, 78;
    effect of experience upon, 79;
    gains a European notoriety, 79;
    thanked by Virginia, 79;
    protests against Dinwiddie's organization of soldiers, 80;
    refuses to serve when ranked by British officers, 81;
    accepts position on Braddock's staff, 82;
    his treatment there, 82;
    advises Braddock, 84;
    rebuked for warning against surprise, 85;
    his bravery in the battle, 86;
    conducts retreat, 86, 87;
    effect of experience on him, 87;
    declines to solicit command of Virginia troops, 88;
    accepts it when offered, 88;
    his difficulties with Assembly, 89;
    and with troops, 90;
    settles question of rank, 91;
    writes freely in criticism of government, 91, 92;
    retires for rest to Mt. Vernon, 93;
    offers services to General Forbes, 93;
    irritated at slowness of English, 93, 94;
    his love affairs, 95, 96;
    journey to Boston, 97-101;
    at festivities in New York and Philadelphia, 99;
    meets Martha Custis, 101;
    his wedding, 101, 102;
    elected to House of Burgesses, 102;
    confused at being thanked by Assembly, 102;
    his local position, 103;
    tries to farm his estate, 104;
    his management of slaves, 105, 106, 108, 109;
    cares for interests of old soldiers, 109;
    rebukes a coward, 110;
    cares for education of stepson, 111;
    his furnishing of house, 112;
    hunting habits, 113-115;
    punishes a poacher, 116;
    participates in colonial and local government, 117;
    enters into society, 117, 118.

  _Congressional delegate from Virginia_.
    His influence in Assembly, 119;
    discusses Stamp Act with Mason, 119;
    foresees result to be independence, 119;
    rejoices at its repeal, but notes Declaratory Act, 120;
    ready to use force to defend colonial rights, 120;
    presents non-importation resolutions to Burgesses, 121;
    abstains from English products, 121;
    notes ominous movements among Indians, 122;
    on good terms with royal governors, 122, 123;
    observes fast on account of Boston Port Bill, 123;
    has controversy with Bryan Fairfax over Parliamentary policy,
  124, 125, 126;
    presides at Fairfax County meeting, 126;
    declares himself ready for action, 126;
    at convention of counties, offers to march to relief of Boston, 127;
    elected to Continental Congress, 127;
    his journey, 128;
    silent in Congress, 129;
    writes to a British officer that independence is not
    desired, but war is certain, 130, 131;
    returns to Virginia, 132;
    aids in military preparations, 132;
    his opinion after Concord, 133;
    at second Continental Congress, wears uniform, 134;
    made commander-in-chief, 134;
    his modesty and courage in accepting position, 134, 135;
    political motives for his choice, 135;
    his popularity, 136;
    his journey to Boston, 136, 137;
    receives news of Bunker Hill, 136;
    is received by Massachusetts Provincial Assembly, 137.

  _Commander of the Army_.
    Takes command at Cambridge, 137;
    his impression upon people, 137, 138, 139;
    begins reorganization of army, 139;
    secures number of troops, 140;
    enforces discipline, his difficulties, 140, 141;
    forced to lead Congress, 142;
    to arrange rank of officers, 142;
    organizes privateers, 142;
    discovers lack of powder, 143;
    plans campaigns in Canada and elsewhere, 143, 144;
    his plans of attack on Boston overruled by council of war, 144;
    writes to Gage urging that captives be treated as prisoners of war,
    skill of his letter, 146;
    retorts to Gage's reply, 147;
    continues dispute with Howe, 148;
    annoyed by insufficiency of provisions, 149;
    and by desertions, 149;
    stops quarrel between Virginia and Marblehead soldiers, 149;
    suggests admiralty committees, 150;
    annoyed by army contractors, 150;
    and criticism, 151;
    letter to Joseph Reed, 151;
    occupies Dorchester Heights, 152;
    begins to like New England men better, 152;
    rejoices at prospect of a fight, 153;
    departure of British due to his leadership, 154;
    sends troops immediately to New York, 155;
    enters Boston, 156;
    expects a hard war, 156;
    urges upon Congress the necessity of preparing for a long struggle,
    his growing hatred of Tories, 156, 157;
    goes to New York, 157, 158;
    difficulties of the situation, 158;
    suppresses Tories, 159;
    urges Congress to declare independence, 159, 160;
    discovers and punishes a conspiracy to assassinate, 160;
    insists on his title in correspondence with Howe, 161;
    justice of his position, 162;
    quiets sectional jealousies in army, 162;
    his military inferiority to British, 163;
    obliged by political considerations to attempt defense of New York,
  163, 164;
    assumes command on Long Island, 164;
    sees defeat of his troops, 165;
    sees plan of British fleet to cut off retreat, 166;
    secures retreat of army, 167;
    explains his policy of avoiding a pitched battle, 167;
    anger at flight of militia at Kip's Bay, 168;
    again secures safe retreat, 169;
    secures slight advantage in a skirmish, 170;
    continues to urge Congress to action, 170, 171;
    success of his letters in securing a permanent army, 171;
    surprised by advance of British fleet, 172;
    moves to White Plains, 173;
    blocks British advance, 174;
    advises abandonment of American forts, 174;
    blames himself for their capture, 175;
    leads diminishing army through New Jersey, 175;
    makes vain appeals for aid, 176;
    resolves to take the offensive, 177;
    desperateness of his situation, 178;
    pledges his estate and private fortune to raise men, 179;
    orders disregarded by officers, 180;
    crosses Delaware and captures Hessians, 180, 181;
    has difficulty in retaining soldiers, 181;
    repulses Cornwallis at Assunpink, 181;
    outwits Cornwallis and wins battle at Princeton, 182;
    excellence of his strategy, 183;
    effect of this campaign in saving Revolution, 183, 184;
    withdraws to Morristown, 185;
    fluctuations in size of army, 186;
    his determination to keep the field, 186, 187;
    criticised by Congress for not fighting, 187;
    hampered by Congressional interference, 188;
    issues proclamation requiring oath of allegiance, 188;
    attacked in Congress for so doing, 189;
    annoyed by Congressional alterations of rank, 189;
    and by foreign military adventurers, 191;
    value of his services in suppressing them, 192;
    his American feelings, 191, 193;
    warns Congress in vain that Howe means to attack Philadelphia, 193;
    baffles Howe's advance across New Jersey, 195;
    learning of his sailing, marches to defend Philadelphia, 195;
    offers battle at Brandywine, 196, 197;
    out-generaled and beaten, 197;
    rallies army and prepares to fight again, 198;
    prevented by storm, 199;
    attacks British at Germantown, 199;
    defeated, 200;
    exposes himself in battle, 200;
    real success of his action, 201;
    despised by English, 202;
    foresees danger of Burgoyne's invasion, 203;
    sends instructions to Schuyler, 204;
    urges use of New England and New York militia, 304;
    dreads northern advance of Howe, 205;
    determines to hold him at all hazards, 206, 207;
    not cast down by loss of Ticonderoga, 207;
    urges New England to rise, 208;
    sends all possible troops, 208;
    refuses to appoint a commander for Northern army, 208;
    his probable reasons, 209;
    continues to send suggestions, 210;
    slighted by Gates after Burgoyne's surrender, 211;
    rise of opposition in Congress, 212;
    arouses ill-feeling by his frankness, 212, 213;
    distrusted by Samuel and John Adams, 214;
    by others, 214, 215;
    formation of a plan to supplant him by Gates, 215;
    opposed by Gates, Mifflin, and Conway, 215, 216;
    angers Conway by preventing his increase in rank, 216;
    is refused troops by Gates, 217;
    defends and loses Delaware forts, 217;
    refuses to attack Howe, 218;
    propriety of his action, 219;
    becomes aware of cabal, 220;
    alarms them by showing extent of his knowledge, 221;
    attacked bitterly in Congress, 222;
    insulted by Gates, 223;
    refuses to resign, 224;
    refuses to notice cabal publicly, 224;
    complains privately of slight support from Pennsylvania, 225;
    continues to push Gates for explanations, 226;
    regains complete control after collapse of cabal, 226, 227;
    withdraws to Valley Forge, 227;
    desperation of his situation, 228;
    criticised by Pennsylvania legislature for going into winter quarters,
    his bitter reply, 229;
    his unbending resolution, 230;
    continues to urge improvements in army organization, 231;
    manages to hold army together, 232;
    sends Lafayette to watch Philadelphia, 233;
    determines to fight, 234;
    checked by Lee, 234;
    pursues Clinton, 235;
    orders Lee to attack British rearguard, 235;
    discovers his force retreating, 236;
    rebukes Lee and punishes him, 236, 237;
    takes command and stops retreat, 237;
    repulses British and assumes offensive, 238;
    success due to his work at Valley Forge, 239;
    celebrates French alliance, 241;
    has to confront difficulty of managing allies, 241, 242;
    welcomes D'Estaing, 243;
    obliged to quiet recrimination after Newport failure, 244;
    his letter to Sullivan, 244;
    to Lafayette, 245;
    to D'Estaing, 246;
    tact and good effect of his letters, 246;
    offers to cooperate in an attack on New York, 247;
    furnishes admirable suggestions to D'Estaing, 247;
    not dazzled by French, 248;
    objects to giving rank to foreign officers, 248, 249;
    opposes transfer of Steuben from inspectorship to the line, 249;
    his thoroughly American position, 250;
    absence of provinciality, 251, 252;
    a national leader, 252;
    opposes invasion of Canada, 253;
    foresees danger of its recapture by France, 254, 255;
    his clear understanding of French motives, 255, 256;
    rejoices in condition of patriot cause, 257;
    foresees ruin to army in financial troubles, 258;
    has to appease mutinies among unpaid troops, 258;
    appeals to Congress, 259;
    urges election of better delegates to Congress, 259;
    angry with speculators, 260, 261;
    futility of his efforts, 261, 262;
    his increasing alarm at social demoralization, 263;
    effect of his exertions, 264;
    conceals his doubts of the French, 264;
    watches New York, 264;
    keeps dreading an English campaign, 265;
    labors with Congress to form a navy, 266;
    plans expedition to chastise Indians, 266;
    realizes that things are at a standstill in the North, 267;
    sees danger to lie in the South, but determines to remain himself near
  New York, 267;
    not consulted by Congress in naming general for Southern army, 268;
    plans attack on Stony Point, 268;
    hatred of ravaging methods of British warfare, 270;
    again has great difficulties in winter quarters, 270;
    unable to act on offensive in the spring, 270, 272;
    unable to help South, 272;
    advises abandonment of Charleston, 273;
    learns of arrival of French army, 274;
    plans a number of enterprises with it, 275, 276;
    refuses, even after loss of Charleston, to abandon Hudson, 276;
    welcomes Rochambeau, 277;
    writes to Congress against too optimistic feelings, 278, 279;
    has extreme difficulty in holding army together, 280;
    urges French to attack New York, 280;
    sends Maryland troops South after Camden, 281;
    arranges meeting with Rochambeau at Hartford, 282;
    popular enthusiasm over him, 283;
    goes to West Point, 284;
    surprised at Arnold's absence, 284;
    learns of his treachery, 284, 285;
    his cool behavior, 285;
    his real feelings, 286;
    his conduct toward André, 287;
    its justice, 287, 288;
    his opinion of Arnold, 288, 289;
    his responsibility in the general breakdown of the Congress and army,
    obliged to quell food mutinies in army, 291, 292;
    difficulty of situation, 292;
    his influence the salvation of army, 293;
    his greatness best shown in this way, 293;
    rebukes Congress, 294;
    appoints Greene to command Southern army, 295;
    sends Knox to confer with state governors, 296;
    secures temporary relief for army, 296;
    sees the real defect is in weak government, 296;
    urges adoption of Articles of Confederation, 297;
    works for improvements in executive, 298,299;
    still keeps a Southern movement in mind, 301;
    unable to do anything through lack of naval power, 303;
    rebukes Lund Washington for entertaining British at Mt. Vernon, 303;
    still unable to fight, 304;
    tries to frighten Clinton into remaining in New York, 305;
    succeeds with aid of Rochambeau, 306;
    explains his plan to French and to Congress, 306;
    learns of De Grasse's approach, prepares to move South, 306;
    writes to De Grasse to meet him in Chesapeake, 308;
    fears a premature peace, 308;
    pecuniary difficulties, 309;
    absolute need of command of sea, 310;
    persuades De Barras to join De Grasse, 311;
    starts on march for Chesapeake, 311;
    hampered by lack of supplies, 312;
    and by threat of Congress to reduce army, 313;
    passes through Mt. Vernon, 314;
    succeeds in persuading De Grasse not to abandon him, 315;
    besieges Cornwallis, 315;
    sees capture of redoubts, 316;
    receives surrender of Cornwallis, 317;
    admirable strategy and management of campaign, 318;
    his personal influence the cause of success, 318;
    especially his use of the fleet, 319;
    his management of Cornwallis through Lafayette, 319;
    his boldness in transferring army away from New York, 320;
    does not lose his head over victory, 321;
    urges De Grasse to repeat success against Charleston, 322;
    returns north, 322;
    saddened by death of Custis, 322;
    continues to urge Congress to action, 323;
    writes letters to the States, 323;
    does not expect English surrender, 324;
    urges renewed vigor, 324;
    points out that war actually continues, 325;
    urges not to give up army until peace is actually secured, 325;
    failure of his appeals, 326;
    reduced to inactivity, 326;
    angered at murder of Huddy, 327;
    threatens Carleton with retaliation, 328;
    releases Asgill at request of Vergennes and order of Congress,
  329, 330;
    disclaims credit, 330;
    justification of his behavior, 330;
    his tenderness toward the soldiers, 331;
    jealousy of Congress toward him, 332;
    warns Congress of danger of further neglect of army, 333, 334;
    takes control of mutinous movement, 335;
    his address to the soldiers, 336;
    its effect, 336;
    movement among soldiers to make him dictator, 337;
    replies to revolutionary proposals, 337;
    reality of the danger, 339;
    causes for his behaviour, 340, 341;
    a friend of strong government, but devoid of personal ambition, 342;
    chafes under delay to disband army, 343;
    tries to secure Western posts, 343;
    makes a journey through New York, 343;
    gives Congress excellent but futile advice, 344;
    issues circular letter to governors, 344;
    and farewell address to army, 345;
    enters New York after departure of British, 345;
    his farewell to his officers, 345;
    adjusts his accounts, 346;
    appears before Congress, 347;
    French account of his action, 347;
    makes speech resigning commission, 348, 349.

  _In Retirement_.
    Returns to Mt. Vernon, ii. I;
    tries to resume old life, 2;
    gives up hunting, 2;
    pursued by lion-hunters and artists, 3;
    overwhelmed with correspondence, 3;
    receives letters from Europe, 4;
    from cranks, 4;
    from officers, 4;
    his share in Society of Cincinnati, 4;
    manages his estate, 5;
    visits Western lands, 5;
    family cares, 5, 6;
    continues to have interest in public affairs, 6;
    advises Congress regarding peace establishment, 6;
    urges acquisition of Western posts, 7;
    his broad national views, 7;
    alone in realizing future greatness of country, 7, 8;
    appreciates importance of the West, 8;
    urges development of inland navigation, 9;
    asks Jefferson's aid, 9, 10;
    lays canal scheme before Virginia legislature, 10;
    his arguments, 10;
    troubled by offer of stock, 11;
    uses it to endow two schools, 12;
    significance of his scheme, 12, 13;
    his political purposes in binding West to East, 13;
    willing to leave Mississippi closed for this purpose, 14, 15, 16;
    feels need of firmer union during Revolution, 17;
    his arguments, 18, 19;
    his influence starts movement for reform, 20;
    continues to urge it during retirement, 21;
    foresees disasters of confederation, 21;
    urges impost scheme, 22;
    condemns action of States, 22, 23, 25;
    favours commercial agreement between Maryland and Virginia, 23;
    stung by contempt of foreign powers, 24;
    his arguments for a national government, 24;
    points out designs of England, 25;
    works against paper money craze in States, 26;
    his opinion of Shays's rebellion, 26;
    his position contrasted with Jefferson's, 27;
    influence of his letters, 28, 29;
    shrinks from participating in Federal convention, 29;
    elected unanimously, 30;
    refuses to go to a feeble convention, 30, 31;
    finally makes up his mind, 31.

  _In the Federal Convention_.
    Speech attributed to Washington by Morris on duties of delegates,
  31, 32;
    chosen to preside, 33;
    takes no part in debate, 34;
    his influence in convention, 34, 35;
    despairs of success, 35;
    signs the Constitution, 36;
    words attributed to him, 36;
    silent as to his thoughts, 36, 37;
    sees clearly danger of failure to ratify, 37;
    tries at first to act indifferently, 38;
    begins to work for ratification, 38;
    writes letters to various people, 38, 39;
    circulates copies of "Federalist," 40;
    saves ratification in Virginia, 40;
    urges election of Federalists to Congress, 41;
    receives general request to accept presidency, 41;
    his objections, 41, 42;
    dreads failure and responsibility, 42;
    elected, 42;
    his journey to New York, 42-46;
    speech at Alexandria, 43;
    popular reception at all points, 44, 45;
    his feelings, 46;
    his inauguration, 46.

    His speech to Congress, 48;
    urges no specific policy, 48, 49;
    his solemn feelings, 49;
    his sober view of necessities of situation, 50;
    question of his title, 52;
    arranges to communicate with Senate by writing, 52, 53;
    discusses social etiquette, 53;
    takes middle ground, 54;
    wisdom of his action, 55;
    criticisms by Democrats, 55, 56;
    accused of monarchical leanings, 56, 57;
    familiarizes himself with work already accomplished under
  Confederation, 58;
    his business habits, 58;
    refuses special privileges to French minister, 59, 60;
    skill of his reply, 60, 61;
    solicited for office, 61;
    his views on appointment, 62;
    favors friends of Constitution and old soldiers, 62;
    success of his appointments, 63;
    selects a cabinet, 64;
    his regard for Knox 65;
    for Morris, 66;
    his skill in choosing, 66;
    his appreciation of Hamilton, 67;
    his grounds for choosing Jefferson, 68;
    his contrast with Jefferson, 69;
    his choice a mistake in policy, 70;
    his partisan characteristics, 70, 71;
    excludes anti-Federalists, 71;
    nominates justices of Supreme Court, 72;
    their party character, 73;
    illness, 73;
    visits the Eastern States, 73;
    his reasons, 74;
    stirs popular enthusiasm, 74;
    snubbed by Hancock in Massachusetts, 75;
    accepts Hancock's apology, 75;
    importance of his action, 76;
    success of journey, 76;
    opens Congress, 78, 79;
    his speech and its recommendations, 81;
    how far carried out, 81-83;
    national character of the speech, 83;
    his fitness to deal with Indians, 87;
    his policy, 88;
    appoints commission to treat with Creeks, 90;
    ascribes its failure to Spanish intrigue, 90;
    succeeds by a personal interview in making treaty, 91;
    wisdom of his policy, 92;
    orders an expedition against Western Indians, 93;
    angered at its failure, 94;
    and at conduct of frontiersmen, 94;
    prepares St. Clair's expedition, 95;
    warns against ambush, 95;
    hopes for decisive results, 97;
    learns of St. Clair's defeat, 97;
    his self-control, 97;
    his outburst of anger against St. Clair, 97, 98;
    masters his feelings, 98;
    treats St. Clair kindly, 99;
    determines on a second campaign, 100;
    selects Wayne and other officers, 100;
    tries to secure peace with tribes, 101;
    efforts prevented by English influence, 101, 102;
    and in South by conduct of Georgia, 103;
    general results of his Indian policy, 104;
    popular misunderstandings and criticism, 104, 105;
    favors assumption of state debts by the government, 107, 108;
    satisfied with bargain between Hamilton and Jefferson, 108;
    his respectful attitude toward Constitution, 109;
    asks opinions of cabinet on constitutionality of bank, 110;
    signs bill creating it, 110;
    reasons for his decision, 111;
    supports Hamilton's financial policy, 112;
    supports Hamilton's views on protection, 115, 116;
    appreciates evil economic condition of Virginia, 116, 117;
    sees necessity for self-sufficient industries in war time, 117;
    urges protection, 118, 119, 120;
    his purpose to build up national feeling, 121;
    approves national excise tax, 122, 123;
    does not realize unpopularity of method, 123;
    ready to modify but insists on obedience, 124, 125;
    issues proclamation against rioters, 125;
    since Pennsylvania frontier continues rebellious, issues second
  proclamation threatening to use force, 127;
    calls out the militia, 127;
    his advice to leaders and troops, 128;
    importance of Washington's firmness, 129;
    his good judgment and patience, 130;
    decides success of the central authority, 130;
    early advocacy of separation of United States from European politics,
    studies situation, 134, 135;
    sees importance of binding West with Eastern States, 135;
    sees necessity of good relations with England, 137;
    authorizes Morris to sound England as to exchange of ministers and a
  commercial treaty, 137;
    not disturbed by British bad manners, 138;
    succeeds in establishing diplomatic relations, 138;
    early foresees danger of excess in French Revolution, 139, 140;
    states a policy of strict neutrality, 140, 142, 143;
    difficulties of his situation, 142;
    objects to action of National Assembly on tobacco and oil, 144;
    denies reported request by United States that England mediate with
  Indians, 145;
    announces neutrality in case of a European war, 146;
    instructs cabinet to prepare a neutrality proclamation, 147;
    importance of this step not understood at time, 148, 149;
    foresees coming difficulties, 149, 150;
    acts cautiously toward _émigrés_, 151;
    contrast with Genet, 152;
    greets him coldly, 152;
    orders steps taken to prevent violations of neutrality, 153, 154;
    retires to Mt. Vernon for rest, 154;
    on returning finds Jefferson has allowed Little Sarah to escape, 156;
    writes a sharp note to Jefferson, 156;
    anger at escape, 157;
    takes matters out of Jefferson's hands, 157;
    determines on asking recall of Genet, 158;
    revokes exequatur of Duplaine, French consul, 159;
    insulted by Genet, 159, 160;
    refuses to deny Jay's card, 160;
    upheld by popular feeling, 160;
    his annoyance at the episode, 160;
    obliged to teach American people self-respect, 162, 163;
    deals with troubles incited by Genet in the West, 162, 163;
    sympathizes with frontiersmen, 163;
    comprehends value of Mississippi, 164, 165;
    sends a commission to Madrid to negotiate about free navigation, 166;
    later sends Thomas Pinckney, 166;
    despairs of success, 166;
    apparent conflict between French treaties and neutrality, 169, 170;
    value of Washington's policy to England, 171;
    in spite of England's attitude, intends to keep peace, 177;
    wishes to send Hamilton as envoy, 177;
    after his refusal appoints Jay, 177;
    fears that England intends war, 178;
    determines to be prepared, 178;
    urges upon Jay the absolute necessity of England's giving up Western
  posts, 179;
    dissatisfied with Jay treaty but willing to sign it, 184;
    in doubt as to meaning of conditional ratification, 184;
    protests against English "provision order" and refuses signature, 185;
    meets uproar against treaty alone, 188;
    determines to sign, 189;
    answers resolutions of Boston town meeting, 190;
    refuses to abandon his judgment to popular outcry, 190;
    distinguishes temporary from permanent feeling, 191;
    fears effect of excitement upon French government, 192;
    his view of dangers of situation, 193, 194;
    recalled to Philadelphia by cabinet, 195;
    receives intercepted correspondence of Fauchet, 195, 196;
    his course of action already determined, 197, 198;
    not influenced by the Fauchet letter, 198;
    evidence of this, 199, 200;
    reasons for ratifying before showing letter to Randolph, 199, 200;
    signs treaty, 201;
    evidence that he did not sacrifice Randolph, 201, 202;
    fairness of his action, 203;
    refuses to reply to Randolph's attack, 204;
    reasons for signing treaty, 205;
    justified in course of time, 206;
    refuses on constitutional grounds the call of representatives for
  documents, 208;
    insists on independence of treaty-making by executive and Senate, 209;
    overcomes hostile majority in House, 210;
    wishes Madison to succeed Morris at Paris, 211;
    appoints Monroe, 216;
    his mistake in not appointing a political supporter, 212;
    disgusted at Monroe's behavior, 213, 214;
    recalls Monroe and appoints C.C. Pinckney, 214;
    angered at French policy, 214;
    his contempt for Monroe's self-justification, 215, 216;
    review of foreign policy, 216-219;
    his guiding principle national independence, 216;
    and abstention from European politics, 217;
    desires peace and time for growth, 217, 218;
    wishes development of the West, 218, 219;
    wisdom of his policy, 219;
    considers parties dangerous, 220;
    but chooses cabinet from Federalists, 220;
    prepared to undergo criticism, 221;
    willingness to bear it, 221;
    desires to learn public feeling, by travels, 221, 222;
    feels that body of people will support national government, 222;
    sees and deplores sectional feelings in the South, 222, 223;
    objects to utterances of newspapers, 223;
    attacked by "National Gazette," 227;
    receives attacks on Hamilton from Jefferson and his friends, 228, 229;
    sends charges to Hamilton, 229;
    made anxious by signs of party division, 229;
    urges both Hamilton and Jefferson to cease quarrel, 230, 231;
    dreads an open division in cabinet, 232;
    desirous to rule without party, 233;
    accomplishes feat of keeping both secretaries in cabinet, 233;
    keeps confidence in Hamilton, 234;
    urged by all parties to accept presidency again, 235;
    willing to be reelected, 235;
    pleased at unanimous vote, 235;
    his early immunity from attacks, 237;
    later attacked by Freneau and Bache, 238;
    regards opposition as dangerous to country, 239;
    asserts his intention to disregard them, 240;
    his success in Genet affair, 241;
    disgusted at "democratic" societies, 242;
    thinks they fomented Whiskey Rebellion, 242;
    denounces them to Congress, 243;
    effect of his remarks, 244;
    accused of tyranny after Jay treaty, 244;
    of embezzlement, 245;
    of aristocracy, 245;
    realizes that he must compose cabinet of sympathizers, 246;
    reconstructs it, 246;
    states determination to govern by party, 247;
    slighted by House, 247;
    refuses a third term, 248;
    publishes Farewell Address, 248;
    his justification for so doing, 248;
    his wise advice, 249;
    address Attacked by Democrats, 250, 251;
    assailed in Congress by Giles, 251;
    resents charge of being a British sympathizer, 252;
    his scrupulously fair conduct toward France, 253;
    his resentment at English policy, 254;
    his retirement celebrated by the opposition, 255;
    remarks of the "Aurora," 256;
    forged letters of British circulated, 257;
    he repudiates them, 257;
    his view of opposition, 259.

  _In Retirement_.
    Regards Adams's administration as continuation of his own, 259;
    understands Jefferson's attitude, 259;
    wishes generals of provisional army to be Federalist, 260;
    doubts fidelity of opposition as soldiers, 260;
    dreads their poisoning mind of army, 261;
    his condemnation of Democrats, 261, 262;
    snubs Dr. Logan for assuming an unofficial mission to France, 263-265;
    alarmed at Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, 266;
    urges Henry to oppose Virginia resolutions, 267;
    condemns the French party as unpatriotic, 267;
    refuses request to stand again for presidency, 269;
    comments on partisanship of Democrats, 269;
    believes that he would be no better candidate than any other
  Federalist, 270, 271;
    error of statement that Washington was not a party man, 271, 272;
    slow to relinquish non-partisan position, 272;
    not the man to shrink from declaring his position, 273;
    becomes a member of Federalist party, 273, 274;
    eager for end of term of office, 275;
    his farewell dinner, 275;
    at Adams's inauguration, 276;
    popular enthusiasm at Philadelphia, 276;
    at Baltimore, 277;
    returns to Mt. Vernon, 279;
    describes his farm life, 278, 279;
    burdened by necessities of hospitality, 280;
    account of his meeting with Bernard, 281-283;
    continued interest in politics, 284;
    accepts command of provisional army, 285;
    selects Hamilton, Pinckney, and Knox as major-generals, 286;
    surprised at Adams's objection to Hamilton, 286;
    rebukes Adams for altering order of rank of generals, 286, 287;
    not influenced by intrigue, 287;
    annoyed by Adams's conduct, 288;
    tries to soothe Knox's irritation, 289;
    fails to pacify him, 289;
    carries out organization of army, 290;
    does not expect actual war, 291;
    disapproves of Gerry's conduct, 292;
    disapproves of Adams's nomination of Vans Murray, 292;
    his dread of French Revolution, 295;
    distrusts Adams's attempts at peace, 296;
    approves Alien and Sedition laws, 296;
    his defense of them, 297;
    distressed by dissensions among Federalists, 298;
    predicts their defeat, 298;
    his sudden illness, 299-302;
    death, 303.

    misunderstood, 304;
    extravagantly praised, 304;
    disliked on account of being called faultless, 305;
    bitterly attacked in lifetime, 306;
    sneered at by Jefferson, 306;
    by Pickering, 307;
    called an Englishman, not an American, 307, 308;
    difference of his type from that of Lincoln, 310;
    none the less American, 311, 312;
    compared with Hampden, 312;
    his manners those of the times elsewhere in America, 314;
    aristocratic, but of a non-English type, 314-316;
    less affected by Southern limitations than his neighbors, 316;
    early dislike of New England changed to respect, 316, 317;
    friendly with people of humble origin, 317, 318;
    never an enemy of democracy, 318;
    but opposes French excesses, 318;
    his self-directed and American training, 319, 320;
    early conception of a nation, 321;
    works toward national government during Revolution, 321;
    his interest in Western expansion, 321, 322;
    national character of his Indian policy, 322;
    of his desire to secure free Mississippi navigation, 322;
    of his opposition to war as a danger to Union, 323;
    his anger at accusation of foreign subservience, 323;
    continually asserts necessity for independent American policy,
  324, 325;
    opposes foreign educational influences, 325, 326;
    favors foundation of a national university, 326;
    breadth and strength of his national feeling, 327;
    absence of boastfulness about country, 328;
    faith in it, 328;
    charge that he was merely a figure-head, 329;
    its injustice, 330;
    charged with commonplaceness of intellect, 330;
    incident of the deathbed explained, 330, 331;
    falsity of the charge, 331;
    inability of mere moral qualities to achieve what he did, 331;
    charged with dullness and coldness, 332;
    his seriousness, 333;
    responsibility from early youth, 333;
    his habits of keen observation, 333;
    power of judging men, 334;
    ability to use them for what they were worth, 335;
    anecdote of advice to Hamilton and Meade, 335;
    deceived only by Arnold, 336;
    imperfect education, 337;
    continual efforts to improve it, 337, 338;
    modest regarding his literary ability, 339, 340;
    interested in education, 339;
    character of his writing, 340;
    tastes in reading, 341;
    modest but effective in conversation, 342;
    his manner and interest described by Bernard, 343-347;
    attractiveness of the picture, 347, 348;
    his pleasure in society, 348;
    power of paying compliments, letter to Mrs. Stockton, 349;
    to Charles Thompson, 350;
    to De Chastellux, 351;
    his warmth of heart, 352;
    extreme exactness in pecuniary matters, 352;
    illustrative anecdotes, 353,354;
    favorable opinion of teller of anecdotes, 356;
    stern towards dishonesty or cowardice, 357;
    treatment of André and Asgill, 357, 358;
    sensitive to human suffering, 357, 358;
    kind and courteous to poor, 359;
    conversation with Cleaveland, 359;
    sense of dignity in public office, 360;
    hospitality at Mt. Vernon, 360, 361;
    his intimate friendships, 361,362;
    relations with Hamilton, Knox, Mason, Henry Lee, Craik, 362, 363;
    the officers of the army, 363;
    Trumbull, Robert and Gouverneur Morris, 363;
    regard for and courtesy toward Franklin, 364;
    love for Lafayette, 365;
    care for his family, 366;
    lasting regard for Fairfaxes, 366, 367;
    kindness to Taft family, 367, 368;
    destroys correspondence with his wife, 368;
    their devoted relationship, 368;
    care for his step-children and relatives, 369, 370;
    charged with lack of humor, 371;
    but never made himself ridiculous, 372;
    not joyous in temperament, 372;
    but had keen pleasure in sport, 373;
    enjoyed a joke, even during Revolution, 374;
    appreciates wit, 375;
    writes a humorous letter, 376-378;
    not devoid of worldly wisdom, 378, 379;
    enjoys cards, dancing, the theatre, 380;
    loves horses, 380;
    thorough in small affairs as well as great, 381;
    controversy over site of church, 381;
    his careful domestic economy, 382;
    love of method, 383;
    of excellence in dress and furniture, 383, 384;
    gives dignity to American cause, 385;
    his personal appearance, 385;
    statements of Houdon, 386;
    of Ackerson, 386, 387;
    his tremendous muscular strength, 388;
    great personal impressiveness, 389, 390;
    lacking in imagination, 391;
    strong passions, 391;
    fierce temper, 392;
    anecdotes of outbreaks, 392;
    his absence of self-love, 393;
    confident in judgment of posterity, 393;
    religious faith, 394;
    summary and conclusion, 394, 395.

  _Characteristics of_.
    General view, ii. 304-395;
    general admiration for, i. 1-7;
    myths about, i. 9-12, ii. 307 ff.;
    comparisons with Jefferson, ii. 69;
    with Lincoln, ii. 310-312;
    with Hampden, ii. 312, 313;
    absence of self-seeking, i. 341;
    affectionateness, i. 111, 285,331,345, ii. 332, 362-371;
    agreeableness, ii. 344-347, 377;
    Americanism, ii. 307-328;
    aristocratic habits, ii. 314, 316;
    business ability, i. 105, 109, ii. 5, 352, 382;
    coldness on occasion, i. 223, 224, 263, ii. 318;
    courage, i. 77, 78, 86, 127, 168, 292;
    dignity, i. 81,161, ii. 52-57, 76;
    hospitality, ii. 360;
    impressiveness, i. 56, 83, 130, 138, 319, ii. 385;
    indomitableness, i. 177, 181, 227;
    judgments of men, i. 295, ii. 64, 86, 334, 335;
    justice and sternness, i. 287, 330, ii. 203, 352-358, 389;
    kindliness, ii. 349-356, 359;
    lack of education, i. 62, ii. 337;
    love of reading, i. 62, ii. 341, 342;
    love of sport, i. 56, 98, 113-116, 118, ii. 380;
    manners, ii. 282-283, 314;
    military ability, i. 154, 166, 174, 183, 197, 204, 207, 239, 247,
  265, 267, 305-320, ii. 331;
    modesty, i. 102, 134;
    not a figure-head, ii. 329, 330;
    not a prig, i. 10-12, 41-47;
    not cold and inhuman, ii. 332, 342;
    not dull or commonplace, ii. 330, 332;
    not superhuman and distant, i. 9, 10, 12, ii. 304, 305;
    open-mindedness, ii. 317;
    passionateness, i. 58, 73, 90;
    personal appearance, i. 57, 136, 137, ii. 282, 343, 385-389;
    religious views, i. 321, ii. 393;
    romantic traits, i. 95-97;
    sense of humor, ii. 371-377;
    silence regarding self, i. 14, 69, 70, 116, 129, 285; ii. 37, 336;
    simplicity, i. 59, 69, 348; ii. 50, 340;
    sobriety, i. 49, 52, 134; ii. 43, 45, 333, 373;
    tact, i. 162, 243, 244-246;
    temper, i. 73, 92, 110, 168, 236, 237, 260; ii. 98, 392;
    thoroughness, i. 112, 323, 341, ii. 381.

  _Political Opinions_.
    On Alien and Sedition Acts, ii. 196;
    American nationality, i. 191, 250, 251, 255, 262, 279, ii. 7, 61,
  133, 145, 324, 325, 327, 328;
    Articles of Confederation, i. 297, ii. 17, 24;
    bank, ii. 110, 111;
    colonial rights, i. 120, 124-126, 130;
    Constitution, i. 38-41;
    democracy, ii. 317-319;
    Democratic party, ii. 214, 239, 240, 258, 261, 267, 268;
    disunion, ii. 22;
    duties of the executive, ii. 190;
    education, ii. 81, 326, 330;
    Federalist party, ii. 71, 246, 247, 259, 260, 261, 269-274, 298;
    finance, ii. 107, 108, 112, 122;
    foreign relations, ii. 25, 134, 142, 145, 147, 179, 217-219, 323;
    French Revolution, ii. 139, 140, 295, 318;
    independence of colonies, i. 131, 159, 160;
    Indian policy, ii. 82, 87, 88, 91, 92, 104, 105;
    Jay treaty, ii. 184-205;
    judiciary, i. 150;
    nominations to office, ii. 62;
    party, ii. 70, 222, 233, 249;
    protection, ii. 116-122;
    slavery, i. 106-108;
    Stamp Act, i. 119;
    strong government, i. 298, ii. 18, 24, 129, 130;
    treaty power, ii. 190, 207-210;
    Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, ii. 266, 267;
    Western expansion, ii. 6, 8-16, 135, 163-165, 218, 322.

  Washington, George Steptoe,
    his sons educated by Washington, ii. 370.

  Washington, John, brother of George,
    letter of Washington, to, i. 132.

  Washington, Lawrence, brother of George Washington,
    educated in England, i. 54;
    has military career, 54;
    returns to Virginia and builds Mt. Vernon, 54;
    marries into Fairfax family, 54, 55;
    goes to West Indies for his health, 62;
    dies, leaving George guardian of his daughter, 64;
    chief manager of Ohio Company, 65;
    gives George military education, 65.

  Washington, Lund,
    letter of Washington to, i. 152;
    rebuked by Washington for entertaining British, ii. 303.

  Washington, Martha, widow of Daniel P. Custis,
    meets Washington, i. 101;
    courtship of, and marriage, 101, 102;
    hunts with her husband, 114;
    joins him at Boston, 151;
    holds levees as wife of President, ii. 54;
    during his last illness, 300;
    her correspondence destroyed, 368;
    her relations with her husband, 368, 369.

  Washington, Mary,
    married to Augustine Washington, i. 39;
    mother of George Washington, 39;
    limited education but strong character, 40, 41;
    wishes George to earn a living, 49;
    opposes his going to sea, 49;
    letters to, 88;
    visited by her son, ii. 5.

  Waters, Henry E.,
    establishes Washington pedigree, i. 32.

  Wayne, Anthony,
    defeated after Brandywine, i. 198;
    his opinion of Germantown, 199;
    at Monmouth urges Washington to come, 235;
    ready to attack Stony Point, 268;
    his successful exploit, 269;
    joins Lafayette in Virginia, 307;
    appointed to command against Indians, ii. 100;
    his character, 100;
    organizes his force, 101;
    his march, 102;
    defeats the Indians, 103.

  Weems, Mason L.,
    influence of his life of Washington on popular opinion, i. 10;
    originates idea of his priggishness, 11;
    his character, 41, 43;
    character of his book, 42;
    his mythical "rectorate" of Mt. Vernon, 43, 44;
    invents anecdotes of Washington's childhood, 44;
    folly of cherry-tree and other stories, 46;
    their evil influence, 47.

  West, the,
    its importance realized by Washington, ii. 7-16;
    his influence counteracted by inertia of Congress, 8;
    forwards inland navigation, 9;
    desires to bind East to West, 9-11, 14;
    formation of companies, 11-13;
    on Mississippi navigation, 14-16, 164;
    projects of Genet in, 162;
    its attitude understood by Washington, 163, 164;
    Washington wishes peace in order to develop it, 218, 219, 321.

  "Whiskey Rebellion,"
    passage of excise law, ii. 123;
    outbreaks of violence in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, 124;
    proclamation issued warning rioters to desist, 125;
    renewed outbreaks in Pennsylvania, 125, 126;
    the militia called out, 127;
    suppression of the insurrection, 128;
    real danger of movement, 129;
    its suppression emphasizes national authority, 129, 130;
    supposed by Washington to have been stirred up by Democratic clubs,

  White Plains,
    battle at, i. 173.

  Wilkinson, James,
    brings Gates's message to Washington at Trenton, i. 180;
    brings news of Saratoga to Congress, 220;
    nettled at Sherman's sarcasm, discloses Conway cabal, 220;
    quarrels with Gates, 223;
    resigns from board of war, 223, 226;
    leads expedition against Indians, ii. 95.

  Willett, Colonel,
    commissioner to Creeks, his success, ii. 91.

  William and Mary College,
    Washington Chancellor of, ii. 339.

    Washington's teacher, i. 48, 51.

  Willis, Lewis,
    story of Washington's school days, i. 95.

  Wilson, James,
    appointed to Supreme Court, ii. 72.

  Wilson, James, "of England,"
    hunts with Washington, i. 115.

  Wolcott, Oliver,
    receives Fauchet letter, ii. 195;
    succeeds Hamilton as Secretary of Treasury, 246.

  Wooster, Mrs.,
    letter of Washington to, ii. 61.

    siege of, i. 315-318.

  "Young Man's Companion,"
    used by George Washington, origin of his rules of conduct, i. 52.

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