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Title: George Washington, Volume II
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 II" ***

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American Statesmen


[Illustration: Mount Vernon]

       *       *       *       *       *




    VOL. II.


       *       *       *       *       *







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 from letter written from Valley Forge, March 7, 1778, now in
the possession of Hon. Winslow Warren.

The vignette of Mount Vernon is from a photograph.


From the original painting by Trumbull in the Art Gallery of Yale


From a contemporary French folio engraving in the Emmet collection,
New York Public Library, Lenox Building.


From the original portrait by Gilbert Stuart in the Museum of Fine
Arts, Boston.

Autograph from Winsor's "America."


From the original painting by C.W. Peale, by kind permission of its
present owner, Mrs. Wm. Brenton Greene, Jr., Princeton, N.J.

Autograph from Winsor's "America."

       *       *       *       *       *




Having resigned his commission, Washington stood not upon the order of
his going, but went at once to Virginia, and reached Mount Vernon the
next day, in season to enjoy the Christmas-tide at home. It was with
a deep sigh of relief that he sat himself down again by his own
fireside, for all through the war the one longing that never left his
mind was for the banks of the Potomac. He loved home after the fashion
of his race, but with more than common intensity, and the country life
was dear to him in all its phases. He liked its quiet occupations and
wholesome sports, and, like most strong and simple natures, he loved
above all an open-air existence. He felt that he had earned his rest,
with all the temperate pleasures and employments which came with it,
and he fondly believed that he was about to renew the habits which he
had abandoned for eight weary years. Four days after his return he
wrote to Governor Clinton: "The scene is at last closed. I feel myself
eased of a load of public care. I hope to spend the remainder of my
days in cultivating the affections of good men and in the practice of
the domestic virtues." That the hope was sincere we may well suppose,
but that it was more than a hope may be doubted. It was a wish, not a
belief, for Washington must have felt that there was still work which
he would surely be called to do. Still for the present the old life
was there, and he threw himself into it with eager zest, though age
and care put some of the former habits aside. He resumed his hunting,
and Lafayette sent him a pack of splendid French wolf-hounds. But they
proved somewhat fierce and unmanageable, and were given up, and after
that the following of the hounds was never resumed. In other respects
there was little change. The work of the plantation and the affairs of
the estate, much disordered by his absence, once more took shape and
moved on successfully under the owner's eye. There were, as of old,
the long days in the saddle, the open house and generous hospitality,
the quiet evenings, and the thousand and one simple labors and
enjoyments of rural life. But with all this were the newer and deeper
cares, born of the change which had been wrought in the destiny of the
country. The past broke in and could not be pushed aside, the future
knocked at the door and demanded an answer to its questionings.

He had left home a distinguished Virginian; he returned one of the
most famous men in the world, and such celebrity brought its usual
penalties. Every foreigner of any position who came to the country
made a pilgrimage to Mount Vernon, and many Americans did the same.
Their coming was not allowed to alter the mode of life, but they were
all hospitably received, and they consumed many hours of their host's
precious time. Then there were the artists and sculptors, who came
to paint his portrait or model his bust. "_In for a penny, in for
a pound_ is an old adage," he wrote to Hopkinson in 1785. "I am so
hackneyed to the touches of painters' pencils that I am now altogether
at their beck, and sit 'like patience on a monument,' whilst they are
delineating the lines of my face. It is a proof, among many others, of
what habit and custom can accomplish." Then there were the people who
desired to write his memoirs, and the historians who wished to have
his reminiscences, in their accounts of the Revolution. Some of these
inquiring and admiring souls came in person, while others assailed him
by letter and added to the vast flood of correspondence which poured
in upon him by every post. His correspondence, in fact, in the
needless part of it, was the most formidable waste of his time. He
seems to have formed no correct idea of his own fame and what it
meant, for he did not have a secretary until he found not only that he
could not arrange his immense mass of papers, but that he could not
even keep up with his daily letters. His correspondence came from all
parts of his own country, and of Europe as well. The French officers
who had been his companions in arms wrote him with affectionate
interest, and he was urged by them, one and all, and even by the king
and queen, to visit France. These were letters which he was only too
happy to answer, and he would fain have crossed the water in response
to their kindly invitation; but he professed himself too old, which
was a mere excuse, and objected his ignorance of the language, which
to a man of his temperament was a real obstacle. Besides these letters
of friendship, there were the schemers everywhere who sought his
counsel and assistance. The notorious Lady Huntington, for example,
pursued him with her project of Christianizing the Indians by means of
a missionary colony in our western region, and her persistent ladyship
cost him a good deal of time and thought, and some long and careful
letters. Then there was the inventor Kumsey, with his steamboat, to
which he gave careful attention, as he did to everything that seemed
to have merit. Another class of correspondents were his officers, who
wanted his aid with Congress and in a thousand other ways, and to
these old comrades he never turned a deaf ear. In this connection also
came the affairs of the Society of the Cincinnati. He took an active
part in the formation of the society, became its head, steered it
through its early difficulties, and finally saved it from the wreck
with which it was threatened by unreasoning popular prejudice. All
these things were successfully managed, but at much expense of time
and thought.


Then again, apart from this mass of labor thrust upon him by
outsiders, there were his own concerns. His personal affairs required
looking after, and he regulated accounts, an elaborate business always
with him, put his farms in order, corresponded with his merchants
in England, and introduced agricultural improvements, which always
interested him deeply. He had large investments in land, of which from
boyhood he had been a bold and sagacious purchaser. These investments
had been neglected and needed his personal inspection; so in
September, 1784, he mounted his horse, and with a companion and a
servant rode away to the western country to look after his property.
He camped out, as in the early days, and heartily enjoyed it, although
reports that the Indians were moving in a restless and menacing manner
shortened his trip, and prevented his penetrating beyond his settled
lands to the wild tracts which he owned to the westward. Still he
managed to ride some six hundred and eighty miles and get a good taste
of that wild life which he never ceased to love, besides gathering a
stock of information on many points of deeper and wider interest than
his own property.

In the midst of all these employments, too, he attended closely to his
domestic duties. At frequent intervals he journeyed to Fredericksburg
to visit his mother, who still lived, and to whom he was always a
dutiful and affectionate son. He watched over Mrs. Washington's
grandchildren, and two or three nephews of his own, whose education
he had undertaken, with all the solicitude of a father, and at the
expense again of much thought and many wise letters of instruction and

Even from this brief list it is possible to gain some idea of the
occupations which filled Washington's time, and the only wonder is
that he dealt with them so easily and effectively. Yet the greatest
and most important work, that which most deeply absorbed his mind, and
which affected the whole country, still remains to be described. With
all his longing for repose and privacy, Washington could not separate
himself from the great problems which he had solved, or from the
solution of the still greater problems which he had done more than any
man to bring into existence. In reality, despite his reiterated wish
for the quiet of home, he never ceased to labor at the new questions
which confronted the country, and the old issues which were the legacy
of the Revolution.

In the latter class was the peace establishment, on which he advised
Congress, much in vain; for their idea of a peace establishment was
to get rid of the army as rapidly as possible, and retain only a
corporal's guard in the service of the confederation. Another question
was that concerning the western posts. As has been already pointed
out, Washington's keen eye had at once detected that this was the
perilous point in the treaty, and he made a prompt but unavailing
effort to secure these posts in the first flush of good feeling when
peace had just been made. After he had retired he observed with regret
the feebleness of Congress in this matter, and he continued to write
about it. He wrote especially to Knox, who was in charge of the war
department, and advised him to establish posts on our side, since we
could not obtain the withdrawal of the British. This deep anxiety as
to the western posts was due not merely to his profound distrust of
the intention of England, but to his extreme solicitude as to the
unsettled regions of the West. He repeatedly referred to the United
States, even before the close of the war, as an infant empire, and he
saw before any one else the destined growth of the country.

No man of that time, with the exception of Hamilton, ever grasped and
realized as he did the imperial future which stretched before the
United States. It was a difficult thing for men who had been born
colonists to rise to a sense of national opportunities, but Washington
passed at a single step from being a Virginian to being an American,
and in so doing he stood alone. He was really and thoroughly national
from the beginning of the war, at a time when, except for a few
oratorical phrases, no one had ever thought of such a thing as a
practical and living question. In the same way he had passed rapidly
to an accurate conception of the probable growth and greatness of
the country, and again he stood alone. Hamilton, born outside the
colonies, unhampered by local prejudices and attachments, and living
in Washington's family, as soon as he turned his mind to the subject,
became, like his chief, entirely national and imperial in his views;
but the other American statesmen of that day, with the exception
of Franklin, only followed gradually and sometimes reluctantly in
adopting their opinions. Some of them never adopted them at all, but
remained imbedded in local ideas, and very few got beyond the region
of words and actually grasped the facts with the absolutely clear
perception which Washington had from the outset. Thus it was that when
the war closed, one of the two ruling ideas in Washington's mind was
to assure the future which he saw opening before the country. He
perceived at a glance that the key and the guarantee of that future
were in the wild regions of the West. Hence his constant anxiety as to
the western posts, as to our Indian policy, and as to the maintenance
of a sufficient armed force upon our borders to check the aggressions
of Englishmen or of savages, and to secure free scope for settlement.
In advancing these ideas on a national scale, however, he was rendered
helpless by the utter weakness of Congress, which even his influence
was powerless to overcome. He therefore began, immediately after his
retreat to private life, to formulate and bring into existence such
practical measures as were possible for the development of the West,
believing that if Congress could not act, the people would, if any
opportunity were given to their natural enterprise.

The scheme which he proposed was to open the western country by means
of inland navigation. The thought had long been in his mind. It had
come to him before the Revolution, and can be traced back to the early
days when he was making surveys, buying wild lands, and meditating
very deeply, but very practically, on the possible commercial
development of the colonies. Now the idea assumed much larger
proportions and a much graver aspect. He perceived in it the first
step toward the empire which he foresaw, and when he had laid down
his sword and awoke in the peaceful morning at Mount Vernon, "with
a strange sense of freedom from official cares," he directed his
attention at once to this plan, in which he really could do something,
despite an inert Congress and a dissolving confederation. His first
letter on the subject was written in March, 1784, and addressed
to Jefferson, who was then in Congress, and who sympathized with
Washington's views without seeing how far they reached. He told
Jefferson how he despaired of government aid, and how he therefore
intended to revive the scheme of a company, which he had started in
1775, and which had been abandoned on account of the war. He showed
the varying interests which it was necessary to conciliate, asked
Jefferson to see the governor of Maryland, so that that State might
be brought into the undertaking, and referred to the danger of being
anticipated and beaten by New York, a chord of local pride which he
continued to touch most adroitly as the business proceeded. Very
characteristically, too, he took pains to call attention to the fact
that by his ownership of land he had a personal interest in the
enterprise. He looked far beyond his own lands, but he was glad to
have his property developed, and with his usual freedom from anything
like pretense, he drew attention to the fact of his personal

On his return from his tour in the autumn, he proceeded to bring
the matter to public attention and to the consideration of the
legislature. With this end in view he addressed a long letter to
Governor Harrison, in which he laid out his whole scheme. Detroit was
to be the objective point, and he indicated the different routes by
which inland navigation could thence be obtained, thus opening the
Indian trade, and affording an outlet at the same time for the
settlers who were sure to pour in when once the fear of British
aggression was removed. He dwelt strongly upon the danger of Virginia
losing these advantages by the action of other States, and yet at the
same time he suggested the methods by which Maryland and Pennsylvania
could be brought into the plan. Then he advanced a series of arguments
which were purely national in their scope. He insisted on the
necessity of binding to the old colonies by strong ties the Western
States, which might easily be decoyed away if Spain or England had the
sense to do it. This point he argued with great force, for it was now
no longer a Virginian argument, but an argument for all the States.

The practical result was that the legislature took the question up,
more in deference to the writer's wishes and in gratitude for his
services, than from any comprehension of what the scheme meant. The
companies were duly organized, and the promoter was given a hundred
and fifty shares, on the ground that the legislature wished to take
every opportunity of testifying their sense of "the unexampled merits
of George Washington towards his country." Washington was much touched
and not a little troubled by this action. He had been willing, as he
said, to give up his cherished privacy and repose in order to forward
the enterprise. He had gone to Maryland even, and worked to engage
that State in the scheme, but he could not bear the idea of taking
money for what he regarded as part of a great public policy. "I would
wish," he said, "that every individual who may hear that it was a
favorite plan of mine may know also that I had no other motive for
promoting it than the advantage of which I conceived it would be
productive to the Union, and to this State in particular, by cementing
the eastern and western territory together, at the same time that it
will give vigor and increase to our commerce, and be a convenience to
our citizens."

"How would this matter be viewed, then, by the eye of the world, and
what would be the opinion of it, when it comes to be related that
George Washington has received twenty thousand dollars and five
thousand pounds sterling of the public money as an interest therein?"
He thought it would make him look like a "pensioner or dependent"
to accept this gratuity, and he recoiled from the idea. There is
something entirely frank and human in the way in which he says "George
Washington," instead of using the first pronoun singular. He always
saw facts as they were; he understood the fact called "George
Washington" as perfectly as any other, and although he wanted
retirement and privacy, he had no mock modesty in estimating his own
place in the world. At the same time, while he wished to be rid of the
kindly gift, he shrank from putting on what he called the appearance
of "ostentatious disinterestedness" by refusing it. Finally he took
the stock and endowed two charity schools with the dividends. The
scheme turned out successfully, and the work still endures, like the
early surveys and various other things of a very different kind to
which Washington put his hand. In the greater forces which were
presently set in motion for the preservation of the future empire,
the inland navigation, started in Virginia, dropped out of sight, and
became merely one of the rills which fed the mighty river. But it was
the only really practical movement possible at the precise moment when
it was begun, and it was characteristic of its author, who always
found, even in the most discouraging conditions, something that could
be done. It might be only a very little something, but still that was
better than nothing to the strong man ever dealing with facts as they
actually were on this confused earth, and not turning aside because
things were not as they ought to be. Thus many a battle and campaign
had been saved, and so inland navigation played its part now. It
helped, among other things, to bring Maryland and Virginia together,
and their combination was the first step toward the Constitution of
the United States. There is nothing fanciful in all this. No one would
pretend that the Constitution of the United States was descended from
Washington's James River and Potomac River companies. But he worked at
them with that end in view, and so did what was nearest to his hand
and most practical toward union, empire, and the development of
national sentiment.

Ah, says some critic in critic's fashion, you are carried away by your
subject; you see in a simple business enterprise, intended merely to
open western lands, the far-reaching ideas of a statesman. Perhaps
our critic is right, for as one goes on living with this Virginian
soldier, studying his letters and his thoughts, one comes to believe
many things of him, and to detect much meaning in his sayings and
doings. Let us, however, show our evidence at least. Here is what he
wrote to his friend Humphreys a year after his scheme was afoot: "My
attention is more immediately engaged in a project which I think big
with great political as well as commercial consequences to the
States, especially the middle ones;" and then he went on to argue the
necessity of fastening the Western States to the Atlantic seaboard
and thus thwarting Spain and England. This looks like more than a
money-making scheme; in fact, it justifies all that has been said,
especially if read in connection with certain other letters of this
period. Great political results, as well as lumber and peltry, were
what Washington intended to float along his rivers and canals.

In this same letter to Humphreys he touched also on another point
in connection with the development of the West, which was of vast
importance to the future of the country, and was even then agitating
men's minds. He said: "I may be singular in my ideas, but they are
these: that, to open a door to, and make easy the way for those
settlers to the westward (who ought to advance regularly and
compactly), before we make any stir about the navigation of the
Mississippi, and before our settlements are far advanced towards that
river, would be our true line of policy." Again he wrote: "However
singular the opinion may be, I cannot divest myself of it, that the
navigation of the Mississippi, _at this time_ [1785], ought to be no
object with us. On the contrary, until we have a little time allowed
to open and make easy the ways between the Atlantic States and the
western territory, the obstructions had better remain." He was right
in describing himself as "singular" in his views on this matter, which
just then was exciting much attention.

At that time indeed much feeling existed, and there were many sharp
divisions about the Mississippi question. One party, for the sake of a
commercial treaty with Spain, and to get a troublesome business out of
the way, was ready to give up our claims to a free navigation of
the great river; and this was probably the prevalent sentiment in
Congress, for to most of the members the Mississippi seemed a very
remote affair indeed. On the other side was a smaller and more violent
party, which was for obtaining the free navigation immediately and
at all hazards, and was furious at the proposition to make such a
sacrifice as its opponents proposed. Finally, there was Spain herself
intriguing to get possession of the West, holding out free navigation
as a bait to the settlers of Kentucky, and keeping paid agents in that
region to foster her schemes. Washington saw too far and too
clearly to think for one moment of giving up the navigation of the
Mississippi, but he also perceived what no one else seems to have
thought of, that free navigation at that moment would give the western
settlements "the habit of trade" with New Orleans before they had
formed it with the Atlantic seaboard, and would thus detach them from
the United States. He wished, therefore, to have the Mississippi
question left open, and all our claims reserved, so that trade by
the river should be obstructed until we had time to open our inland
navigation and bind 'the western people to us by ties too strong to
be broken. The fear that the river would be lost by waiting did not
disturb him in the least, provided our claims were kept alive. He
wrote to Lee in June, 1786: "Whenever the new States become so
populous, and so extended to the westward, as really to need it,
there will be no power which can deprive them of the use of the
Mississippi." Again, a year later, while the convention was sitting in
Philadelphia, he said: "My sentiments with respect to the navigation
of the Mississippi have been long fixed, and are not dissimilar to
those which are expressed in your letter. I have ever been of opinion
that the true policy of the Atlantic States, instead of contending
prematurely for the free navigation of that river (which eventually,
and perhaps as soon as it will be our true interest to obtain it, must
happen), would be to open and improve the natural communications
with the western country." The event justified his sagacity in all
respects, for the bickerings went on until the United States were able
to compel Spain to give what was wanted to the western communities,
which by that time had been firmly bound to those of the Atlantic

Much as Washington thought about holding fast the western country,
there was yet one idea that overruled it as well as all others. There
was one plan which he knew would be a quick solution of the dangers
and difficulties for which inland navigation and trade connections
were at best but palliatives. He had learned by bitter experience, as
no other man had learned, the vital need and value of union. He felt
it as soon as he took command of the army, and it rode like black care
behind him from Cambridge to Yorktown. He had hoped something from the
confederation, but he soon saw that it was as worthless as the utter
lack of system which it replaced, and amounted merely to substituting
one kind of impotence and confusion for another. Others might be
deceived by phrases as to nationality and a general government, but
he had dwelt among hard facts, and he knew that these things did not
exist. He knew that what passed for them, stood in their place and
wore their semblance, were merely temporary creations born of the
common danger, and doomed, when the pressure of war was gone, to fall
to pieces in imbecility and inertness. To the lack of a proper
union, which meant to his mind national and energetic government, he
attributed the failures of the campaigns, the long-drawn miseries, and
in a word the needless prolongation of the Revolution. He saw, too,
that what had been so nearly ruinous in war would be absolutely so in
peace, and before the treaty was actually signed he had begun to call
attention to the great question on the right settlement of which the
future of the country depended.

To Hamilton he wrote on March 4, 1783: "It is clearly my opinion,
unless Congress have powers competent to all general purposes, that
the distresses we have encountered, the expense we have incurred, and
the blood we have spilt, will avail us nothing." Again he wrote to
Hamilton, a few weeks later: "My wish to see the union of these States
established upon liberal and permanent principles, and inclination
to contribute my mite in pointing out the defects of the present
constitution, are equally great. All my private letters have teemed
with these sentiments, and whenever this topic has been the subject
of conversation, I have endeavored to diffuse and enforce them." His
circular letter to the governors of the States at the close of the
war, which was as eloquent as it was forcible, was devoted to urging
the necessity of a better central government. "With this conviction,"
he said, "of the importance of the present crisis, silence in me would
be a crime. I will therefore speak to your Excellency the language of
freedom and of sincerity without disguise.... There are four things
which I humbly conceive are essential to the well-being, I may
even venture to say, to the existence, of the United States, as an
independent power:--

"First. An indissoluble union of the States under one federal head.

"Second. A regard to public justice.

"Third. The adoption of a proper peace establishment; and,

"Fourth. The prevalence of that pacific and friendly disposition among
the people of the United States, which will induce them to forget
their local prejudices and policies; to make those mutual concessions
which are requisite to the general prosperity; and in some instances
to sacrifice their individual advantages to the interest of the
community." The same appeal went forth again in his last address to
the army, when he said: "Although the general has so frequently given
it as his opinion, in the most public and explicit manner, that unless
the principles of the federal government were properly supported, and
the powers of the Union increased, the honor, dignity, and justice of
the nation would be lost forever; yet he cannot help repeating on
this occasion so interesting a sentiment, and leaving it as his last
injunction to every soldier, who may view the subject in the same
serious point of light, to add his best endeavors to those of his
worthy fellow-citizens towards effecting those great and valuable
purposes on which our very existence as a nation so materially

These two papers were the first strong public appeals for union. The
letter to the governors argued the question elaborately, and was
intended for the general public. The address to the army was simply a
watchword and last general order; for the army needed no arguments to
prove the crying need of better government. Before this, Hamilton had
written his famous letters to Duane and Morris, and Madison was
just beginning to turn his thoughts toward the problem of federal
government; but with these exceptions Washington stood alone. In
sending out these two papers he began the real work that led to the
Constitution. What he said was read and heeded throughout the country,
for at the close of the war his personal influence was enormous, and
with the army his utterances were those of an oracle. By his appeal he
made each officer and soldier a missionary in the cause of the Union,
and by his arguments to the governors he gave ground and motive for
a party devoted to procuring better government. Thus he started the
great movement which, struggling through many obstacles, culminated in
the Constitution and the union of the States. No other man could
have done it, for no one but Washington had a tithe of the influence
necessary to arrest public attention; and, save Hamilton, no other
man then had even begun to understand the situation which Washington
grasped so easily and firmly in all its completeness.

He sent out these appeals as his last words to his countrymen at the
close of their conflict; but he had no intention of stopping there.
He had written and spoken, as he said, to every one on every occasion
upon this topic, and he continued to do so until the work was done. He
had no sooner laid aside the military harness than he began at once to
push on the cause of union. In the bottom of his heart he must have
known that his work was but half done, and with the same pen with
which he reiterated his intention to live in repose and privacy, and
spend his declining years beneath his own vine and fig-tree, he wrote
urgent appeals and wove strong arguments addressed to leaders in
every State. He had not been at home five days before he wrote to the
younger Trumbull, congratulating him on his father's vigorous message
in behalf of better federal government, which had not been very well
received by the Connecticut legislature. He spoke of "the jealousies
and contracted temper" of the States, but avowed his belief that
public sentiment was improving. "Everything," he concluded, "my dear
Trumbull, will come right at last, as we have often prophesied.
My only fear is that we shall lose a little reputation first." A
fortnight later he wrote to the governor of Virginia: "That the
prospect before us is, as you justly observe, fair, none can deny; but
what use we shall make of it is exceedingly problematical; not but
that I believe all things will come right at last, but like a young
heir come a little prematurely to a large inheritance, we shall wanton
and run riot until we have brought our reputation to the brink of
ruin, and then like him shall have to labor with the current of
opinion, when compelled, perhaps, to do what prudence and common
policy pointed out as plain as any problem in Euclid in the first
instance." The soundness of the view is only equaled by the accuracy
of the prediction. He might five years later have repeated this
sentence, word for word, only altering the tenses, and he would have
rehearsed exactly the course of events.

While he wrote thus he keenly watched Congress, and marked its sure
and not very gradual decline. He did what he could to bring about
useful measures, and saw them one after the other come to naught. He
urged the impost scheme, and felt that its failure was fatal to the
financial welfare of the country, on which so much depended. He
always was striving to do the best with existing conditions, but the
hopelessness of every effort soon satisfied him that it was a waste of
time and energy. So he turned again in the midst of his canal schemes
to renew his exhortations to leading men in the various States on the
need of union as the only true solution of existing troubles.

To James McHenry, of Maryland, he wrote in August, 1785: "I confess to
you candidly that I can foresee no evil greater than disunion; than
those unreasonable jealousies which are continually poisoning our
minds and filling them with imaginary evils for the prevention of real
ones." To William Grayson of Virginia, then a member of Congress,
he wrote at the same time: "I have ever been a friend to adequate
congressional powers; consequently I wish to see the ninth article of
the confederation amended and extended. Without these powers we cannot
support a national character, and must appear contemptible in the eyes
of Europe. But to you, my dear Sir, I will candidly confess that in
my opinion it is of little avail to give them to Congress." He was
already clearly of opinion that the existing system was hopeless, and
the following spring he wrote still more sharply as to the state of
public affairs to Henry Lee, in Congress. "My sentiments," he said,
"with respect to the federal government are well known. Publicly and
privately have they been communicated without reserve; but my opinion
is that there is more wickedness than ignorance in the conduct of the
States, or, in other words, in the conduct of those who have too
much influence in the government of them; and until the curtain is
withdrawn, and the private views and selfish principles upon which
these men act are exposed to public notice, I have little hope of
amendment without another convulsion."

He did not confine himself, however, to letters, important as the work
done in this way was, but used all his influence toward practical
measures outside of Congress, of whose action he quite despaired. The
plan for a commercial agreement between Maryland and Virginia was
concerted at Mount Vernon, and led to a call to all the States to
meet at Annapolis for the same object. This, of course, received
Washington's hearty approval and encouragement, but he evidently
regarded it, although important, as merely a preliminary step to
something wider and better. He wrote to Lafayette describing the
proposed gathering at Annapolis, and added: "A general convention
is talked of by many for the purpose of revising and correcting the
defects of the federal government; but whilst this is the wish of
some, it is the dread of others, from an opinion that matters are
not yet sufficiently ripe for such an event." This expressed his own
feeling, for although he was entirely convinced that only a radical
reform would do, he questioned whether the time had yet arrived, and
whether things had become bad enough, to make such a reform either
possible or lasting. He was chiefly disturbed because he felt that
there was "more wickedness than ignorance mixed in our councils,"
and he grew more and more anxious as public affairs declined without
apparently producing a reaction. The growing contempt shown by foreign
nations and the arrogant conduct of Great Britain especially alarmed
him, while the rapid sinking of the national reputation stung him to
the quick. "I do not conceive," he wrote to Jay, in August, 1786, "we
can exist long as a nation without having lodged somewhere a power
which will pervade the whole Union in as energetic a manner as the
authority of the state governments extends over the several States."
Thus with unerring judgment he put his finger on the vital point in
the whole question, which was the need of a national government that
should deal with the individual citizens of the whole country and
not with the States. "To be fearful," he continued, "of investing
Congress, constituted as that body is, with ample authorities for
national purposes, appears to me the very climax of popular absurdity
and madness.... Requisitions are actually little better than a jest
and a byword throughout the land. If you tell the legislatures they
have violated the treaty of peace, and invaded the prerogatives of the
confederacy, they will laugh in your face.... It is much to be feared,
as you observe, that the better kind of people, being disgusted with
the circumstances, will have their minds prepared for any revolution
whatever.... I am told that even respectable characters speak of
a monarchical government without horror. From thinking proceeds
speaking; thence to acting is often but a single step. But how
irrevocable and tremendous! What a triumph for our enemies to verify
their predictions!... It is not my business to embark again upon a sea
of troubles. Nor could it be expected that my sentiments and opinions
would have much weight on the minds of my countrymen. They have been
neglected, though given as a last legacy in the most solemn manner. I
had then perhaps some claims to public attention. I consider myself as
having none at present."

It is interesting to observe the ease and certainty with which, in
dealing with the central question, he grasped all phases of the
subject and judged of the effect of the existing weakness with regard
to every relation of the country and to the politics of each State.
He pointed out again and again the manner in which we were exposed
to foreign hostility, and analyzed the designs of England, rightly
detecting a settled policy on her part to injure and divide where she
had failed to conquer. Others were blind to the meaning of the
English attitude as to the western posts, commerce, and international
relations. Washington brought it to the attention of our leading men,
educating them on this as on other points, and showing, too, the
stupidity of Great Britain in her attempt to belittle the trade of a
country which, as he wrote Lafayette in prophetic vein, would one day
"have weight in the scale of empires."

He followed with the same care the course of events in the several
States. In them all he resisted the craze for issuing irredeemable
paper money, writing to his various correspondents, and urging
energetic opposition to this specious and pernicious form of public
dishonesty. It was to Massachusetts, however, that his attention was
most strongly attracted by the social disorders which culminated in
the Shays rebellion. There the miserable condition of public affairs
was bearing bitter fruit, and Washington watched the progress of the
troubles with profound anxiety. He wrote to Lee: "You talk, my
good sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults in
Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found, or,
if attainable, that it would be a proper remedy for the disorders.
_Influence_ is not _government_. Let us have a government by which our
lives, liberties, and properties will be secured, or let us know the
worst at once." Through "all this mist of intoxication and folly,"
however, Washington saw that the Shays insurrection would probably be
the means of frightening the indifferent, and of driving those who
seemed impervious to every appeal to reason into an active support
of some better form of government. He rightly thought that riot and
bloodshed would prove convincing arguments.

In order to understand the utter demoralization of society, politics,
and public opinion at that time, the offspring of a wasting civil war
and of colonial habits of thought, it is interesting to contrast the
attitude of Washington with that of another distinguished American in
regard to the Shays rebellion. While Washington was looking solemnly
at this manifestation of weakness and disorder, and was urging strong
measures with passionate vehemence, Jefferson was writing from Paris
in the flippant vein of the fashionable French theorists, and uttering
such ineffable nonsense as the famous sentence about "once in twenty
years watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants." There
could be no better illustration of what Washington was than this
contrast between the man of words and the man of action, between the
astute leader of a party, the shrewd manager of men, and the silent
leader of armies, the master builder of states and governments.

I have followed Washington through the correspondence of this time
with some minuteness, because it is the only way by which his work in
overcoming the obstacles in the path to good government can be seen.
He held no public office; he had no means of reaching the popular ear.
He was neither a professional orator nor a writer of pamphlets, and
the press of that day, if he had controlled it, had no power to mould
or direct public thought. Yet, despite these obstacles, he set himself
to develop public opinion in favor of a better government, and he
worked at this difficult and impalpable task without ceasing, from
the day that he resigned from the army until he was called to the
presidency of the United States. He did it by means of private
letters, a feeble instrument to-day, but much more effective then.
Jefferson never made speeches nor published essays, but he built up a
great party, and carried himself into power as its leader by means
of letters. In the same fashion Washington started the scheme for
internal waterways, in order to bind the East and the West together,
set on foot the policy of commercial agreements between the States,
and argued on the "imperial theme" with leading men everywhere. A
study of these letters reveals a strong, logical, and deliberate
working towards the desired end. There was no scattering fire. Whether
he was writing of canals, or the Mississippi, or the Western posts,
or paper money, or the impost, or the local disorders, he always was
arguing and urging union and an energetic central government. These
letters went to the leaders of thought and opinion, and were quoted
and passed from hand to hand. They brought immediately to the cause
all the soldiers and officers of the army, and they aroused and
convinced the strongest and ablest men in every State. Washington's
personal influence was very great, something we of this generation,
with a vast territory and seventy millions of people, cannot readily
understand. To many persons his word was law; to all that was best in
the community, everything he said had immense weight. This influence
he used with care and without waste. Every blow he struck went home.
It is impossible to estimate just how much he effected, but it is safe
to say that it is to Washington, aided first by Hamilton and then
by Madison, that we owe the development of public opinion and the
formation of the party which devised and carried the Constitution.
Events of course worked with them, but they used events, and did not
suffer the golden opportunities, which without them would have been
lost, to slip by.

When Washington wrote of the Shays rebellion to Lee, the movement
toward a better union, which he had begun, was on the brink of
success. That ill-starred insurrection became, as he foresaw, a
powerful spur to the policy started at Mount Vernon, and adopted by
Virginia and Maryland. From this had come the Annapolis convention,
and thence the call for another convention at Philadelphia. As soon
as the word went abroad that a general convention was to be held, the
demand for Washington as a delegate was heard on all sides. At first
he shrank from it. Despite the work which he had been doing, and which
he must have known would bring him once more into public service, he
still clung to the vision of home life which he had brought with him
from the army. November 18, 1786, he wrote to Madison, that from a
sense of obligation he should go to the convention, were it not that
he had declined on account of his retirement, age, and rheumatism to
be at a meeting of the Cincinnati at the same time and place. But
no one heeded him, and Virginia elected him unanimously to head
her delegation at Philadelphia. He wrote to Governor Randolph,
acknowledging the honor, but reiterating what he had said to Madison,
and urging the choice of some one else in his place. Still Virginia
held the question open, and on February 3 he wrote to Knox that his
private intention was not to attend. The pressure continued, and, as
usual when the struggle drew near, the love of battle and the sense of
duty began to reassert themselves. March 8 he again wrote to Knox that
he had not meant to come, but that the question had occurred to him,
"Whether my non-attendance in the convention will not be considered
as dereliction of republicanism; nay, more, whether other motives may
not, however injuriously, be ascribed for my not exerting myself
on this occasion in support of it;" and therefore he wished to be
informed as to the public expectation on the matter. On March 28 he
wrote again to Randolph that ill-health might prevent his going, and
therefore it would be well to appoint some one in his place. April 2
he said that if representation of the States was to be partial, or
powers cramped, he did not want to be a sharer in the business. "If
the delegates assemble," he wrote, "with such powers as will enable
the convention to probe the defects of the constitution to the bottom
and point out radical cures, it would be an honorable employment;
otherwise not." This idea of inefficiency and failure in the
convention had long been present to his mind, and he had already said
that, if their powers were insufficient, the convention should go
boldly over and beyond them and make a government with the means of
coercion, and able to enforce obedience, without which it would be, in
his opinion, quite worthless. Thus he pondered on the difficulties,
and held back his acceptance of the post; but when the hour of action
drew near, the rheumatism and the misgivings alike disappeared before
the inevitable, and Washington arrived in Philadelphia, punctual as
usual, on May 13, the day before the opening of the convention.

The other members were by no means equally prompt, and a week elapsed
before a bare quorum was obtained and the convention enabled to
organize. In this interval of waiting there appears to have been some
informal discussion among the members present, between those who
favored an entirely new Constitution and those who timidly desired
only half-way measures. On one of these occasions Washington is
reported by Gouverneur Morris, in a eulogy delivered twelve years
later, to have said: "It is too probable that no plan we propose will
be adopted. Perhaps another dreadful conflict is to be sustained. If,
to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can
we afterwards defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the
wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God." The
language is no doubt that of Morris, speaking from memory and in a
highly rhetorical vein, but we may readily believe that the quotation
accurately embodied Washington's opinion, and that he took this high
ground at the outset, and strove from the beginning to inculcate upon
his fellow-members the absolute need of bold and decisive action.
The words savor of the orator who quoted them, but the noble and
courageous sentiment which they express is thoroughly characteristic
of the man to whom they were attributed.[1]

[Footnote 1: It is necessary to say a few words in regard to this
quotation of Washington's words made by Morris, because both Mr.
Bancroft (_History of the Constitution_, ii. 8) and Mr. John Fiske
(_The Critical Period of American History_, p. 232) quote them as if
they were absolutely and verbally authentic. It is perfectly certain
that from May 25 to September 17 Washington spoke but once; that
is, he spoke but once in the convention after it became such by
organization. This point is determined by Madison's statement (Notes,
in. 1600), that when Washington took the floor in behalf of Gorham's
amendment, "it was the only occasion on which the president entered _at
all_ into the discussions of the convention." (The italics are mine.)
I have examined the manuscript at the State Department, and these
words are written in Madison's own hand in the body of the text and
inclosed in brackets. Madison was the most accurate of men. His notes
are only abstracts of what was said, but he was never absent from
the convention, and there can be no question that if Washington had
uttered the words attributed to him by Morris, a speech so important
would have been given as fully as possible, and Madison would not have
said distinctly that the Gorham amendment was the only occasion when
the president entered into the discussions of the convention.

It is, therefore, certain that Washington said nothing in the
convention except on the occasion of the Gorham amendment, and Mr.
Bancroft rightly assigns the Morris quotation to some time during the
week which elapsed between the date fixed for the assembling of the
convention and that on which a quorum of States was obtained. The
words given by Morris, if uttered at all, must have been spoken
informally in the way of conversation before there was any convention,
strictly speaking, and of course before Washington was chosen
president. Mr. Fiske, who devotes a page to these sentences from the
eulogy, describes Washington as rising from his president's chair and
addressing the convention with great solemnity. There is no authority
whatever to show that he rose from the chair to address the other
delegates, and, if he used the words quoted by Morris, he was
certainly not president of the convention when he did so. The latter
blunder, however, is Morris's own, and in making it he contradicts
himself. These are his words: "He is their president. It is a question
previous to their first meeting what course shall be pursued." In
other words, he was their president before they had met and chosen a
president. This is a fair illustration of the loose and rhetorical
character of the passage in which Washington's admonition is quoted.
The entire paragraph, with its mixture of tenses arising from the use
of the historical present which Morris's classical fancies led him to
employ, is, in fact, purely rhetorical, and has only the authority
due to performances of that character. It seems to me impossible,
therefore, to fairly suppose that the words quoted by Morris were
anything more than his own presentation of a sentiment which he, no
doubt, heard Washington urge frequently and forcibly. Even in this
limited acceptation his account is both interesting and valuable,
as indicating Washington's opinion and the tone he took with his
fellow-members; but this, I think, is the utmost weight that can be
attached to it. I have discussed the point thus minutely because two
authorities so distinguished as Mr. Bancroft and Mr. Fiske have laid
so much stress on the words given by Morris, and have seemed to me to
accord to them a greater weight and a higher authenticity than the
facts warrant. Morris's eulogy on Washington was delivered in New
York, and may be found most readily in a little volume entitled
_Washingtoniana_ (p. 110), published at Lancaster in 1802.]

When a quorum was finally obtained, Washington was unanimously chosen
to preside over the convention; and there he sat during the sessions
of four months, silent, patient, except on a single occasion,[1]
taking no part in debate, but guiding the business, and using all his
powers with steady persistence to compass the great end. The debates
of that remarkable body have been preserved in outline in the full and
careful notes of Madison. Its history has been elaborately written,
and the arguments and opinions of its members have been minutely
examined and unsparingly criticised. We are still ignorant, and shall
always remain ignorant, of just how much was due to Washington for the
final completion of the work. His general views and his line of action
are clearly to be seen in his letters and in the words attributed to
him by Morris. That he labored day and night for success we know, and
that his influence with his fellow-members was vast we also know, but
the rest we can only conjecture. There came a time when everything
was at a standstill, and when it looked as if no agreement could
be reached by the men representing so many conflicting interests.
Hamilton had made his great speech, and, finding the vote of his State
cast against him by his two colleagues on every question, had gone
home in a frame of mind which we may easily believe was neither very
contented nor very sanguine. Even Franklin, most hopeful and buoyant
of men, was nearly ready to despair. Washington himself wrote to
Hamilton, on July 10: "When I refer you to the state of the counsels
which prevailed at the period you left this city, and add that they
are now, if possible, in a worse train than ever, you will find but
little ground on which the hope of a good establishment can be formed.
In a word, I almost despair of seeing a favorable issue to the
proceedings of our convention, and do therefore repent having had any
agency in the business." Matters were certainly in a bad state when
Washington could write in this strain, and when his passion for
success was so cooled that he repented of agency in the business.
There was much virtue, however, in that little word "almost." He did
not quite despair yet, and, after his fashion, he held on with grim
tenacity. We know what the compromises finally were, and how they were
brought about, but we can never do exact justice to the iron will
which held men together when all compromises seemed impossible, and
which even in the darkest hour would not wholly despair. All that can
be said is, that without the influence and the labors of Washington
the convention of 1787, in all probability, would have failed of

[Footnote 1: Just at the close of the convention, when the
Constitution in its last draft was in the final stage and on the eve
of adoption, Mr. Gorham of Massachusetts moved to amend by reducing
the limit of population in a congressional district from forty to
thirty thousand. Washington took the floor and argued briefly and
modestly in favor of the change. His mere request was sufficient, and
the amendment was unanimously adopted.]

At all events it did not fail, and after much tribulation the work was
done. On September 17, 1787, a day ever to be memorable, Washington
affixed his bold and handsome signature to the Constitution of the
United States. Tradition has it that as he stood by the table, pen in
hand, he said: "Should the States reject this excellent Constitution,
the probability is that opportunity will never be offered to cancel
another in peace; the next will be drawn in blood." Whether the
tradition is well or ill founded, the sentence has the ring of truth.
A great work had been accomplished. If it were cast aside, Washington
knew that the sword and not the pen would make the next Constitution,
and he regarded that awful alternative with dread. He signed first,
and was followed by all the members present, with three notable
exceptions. Then the delegates dined together at the city tavern, and
took a cordial leave of each other. "After which," the president of
the convention wrote in his diary, "I returned to my lodgings, did
some business with, and received the papers from, the secretary of the
convention, and retired to meditate upon the momentous work which had
been executed." It is a simple sentence, but how much it means! The
world would be glad to-day to know what the thoughts were which
filled Washington's mind as he sat alone in the quiet of that summer
afternoon, with the new Constitution lying before him. But he was then
as ever silent. He did not go alone to his room to exhibit himself on
paper for the admiration of posterity. He went there to meditate for
his own guidance on what had been done for the benefit of his country.
The city bells had rung a joyful chime when he arrived four months
before. Ought they to ring again with a new gladness, or should they
toll for the death of bright hopes, now the task was done? Washington
was intensely human. In that hour of silent thought his heart must
have swelled with a consciousness that he had led his people through
a successful Revolution, and now again from the darkness of political
confusion and dissolution to the threshold of a new existence. But at
the same time he never deceived himself. The new Constitution was but
an experiment and an opportunity. Would the States accept it? And
if they accepted it, would they abide by it? Was this instrument of
government, wrought out so painfully, destined to go to pieces after
a few years of trial, or was it to prove strong enough to become the
charter of a nation and hold the States together indissolubly against
all the shocks of politics and revolution? Washington, with his
foresight and strong national instinct, plainly saw these momentous
questions, somewhat dim then, although clear to all the world to-day.
We can guess how solemnly he thought about them as he meditated alone
in his room on that September afternoon. Whatever his reflections, his
conclusions were simple. He made up his mind that the only chance for
the country lay in the adoption of the new scheme, but he was sober
enough in his opinions as to the Constitution itself. He said of it to
Lafayette the day after the signing: "It is the result of four months'
deliberation. It is now a child of fortune, to be fostered by some and
buffeted by others. What will be the general opinion or the reception
of it is not for me to decide; nor shall I say anything for or against
it. If it be good, I suppose it will work its way; if bad, it will
recoil on the framers." We catch sight here of the old theory that his
public life was at an end, and now, when this exceptional duty had
been performed, that he would retire once more to remote privacy. This
fancy, as well as the extremely philosophical mood about the fate of
the Constitution, apparent in this letter, soon disappeared. Within a
week he wrote to Henry, in whom he probably already suspected the
most formidable opponent of the new plan in Virginia: "I wish the
Constitution, which is offered, had been more perfect; but I sincerely
believe it is the best that could be obtained at this time, and as a
constitutional door is opened for amendments hereafter, the adoption
of it under the present circumstances of the Union is, in my opinion,
desirable." Copies of this letter were sent to Harrison and Nelson,
and the correspondence thus started soon increased rapidly. He wrote
to Hamilton and Madison to counsel with them as to the prospects of
the Constitution, and to Knox to supply him with arguments and
urge him to energetic work. By January of the new year the tone of
indifference and doubt manifested in the letter to Lafayette had quite
gone, and we find him writing to Governor Randolph, in reply to that
gentleman's objections: "There are some things in the new form, I will
readily acknowledge, which never did, and I am persuaded never will,
obtain my cordial approbation, but I did then conceive and do now most
firmly believe that in the aggregate it is the best Constitution that
can be obtained at this epoch, and that this or a dissolution of the
Union awaits our choice, and is the only alternative before us. Thus
believing, I had not, nor have I now, any hesitation in deciding on
which to lean."

Thus the few letters to a few friends extended to many letters to many
friends, and traveled into every State. They all urged the necessity
of adopting the Constitution as the best that could be obtained. What
Washington's precise objections to the Constitution were is not clear.
In a general way it was not energetic enough to come up to his ideal,
but he never particularized in his criticisms. He may have admitted
the existence of defects in order simply to disarm opposition, and
doubtless he, like most of the framers, was by no means completely
satisfied with his work. But he brushed all faults aside, and drove
steadily forward to the great end in view. He was as far removed as
possible from that highly virtuous and very ineffective class of
persons who will not support anything that is not perfect, and who
generally contrive to do more harm than all the avowed enemies of
sound government. Washington did not stop to worry over and argue
about details, but sought steadily to bring to pass the main object
at which he aimed. As he had labored for the convention, so he now
labored for the Constitution, and his letters to his friends not
only had great weight in forming a Federal party and directing its
movements, but extracts from them were quoted and published, thus
exerting a direct and powerful influence on public opinion.

He made himself deeply felt in this way everywhere, but of course more
in his own State than anywhere else. His confidence at first in regard
to Virginia changed gradually to an intense and well-grounded anxiety,
and he not only used every means, as the conflict extended, to
strengthen his friends and gain votes, but he received and circulated
personally copies of "The Federalist," in order to educate public
opinion. The contest in the Virginia convention was for a long time
doubtful, but finally the end was reached, and the decision was
favorable. Without Washington's influence, it is safe to say that the
Constitution would have been lost in Virginia, and without Virginia
the great experiment would probably have failed. In the same spirit he
worked on after the new scheme had secured enough States to insure
a trial. The Constitution had been ratified; it must now be made to
work, and Washington wrote earnestly to the leaders in the various
States, urging them to see to it that "Federalists," stanch friends
of the Constitution, were elected to Congress. There was no vagueness
about his notions on this point. A party had carried the Constitution
and secured its ratification, and to that party he wished the
administration and establishment of the new system to be intrusted.
He did not take the view that, because the fight was over, it was
henceforth to be considered that there had been no fight, and that all
men were politically alike. He was quite ready to do all in his power
to conciliate the opponents of union and the Constitution, but he did
not believe that the momentous task of converting the paper system
into a living organism should be confided to any hands other than
those of its tried and trusty friends.

But while he was looking so carefully after the choice of the right
men to fill the legislature of the new government, the people of the
country turned to him with the universal demand that he should stand
at the head of it, and fill the great office of first President of the
Republic. In response to the first suggestion that came, he recognized
the fact that he was likely to be again called upon for another
great public service, and added simply that at his age it involved a
sacrifice which admitted of no compensation. He maintained this tone
whenever he alluded to the subject, in response to the numerous
letters urging him to accept. But although he declined to announce any
decision, he had made up his mind to the inevitable. He had put his
hand to the plough, and he would not turn back. His only anxiety was
that the people should know that he shrank from the office, and would
only leave his farm to take it from a sense of overmastering duty.
Besides his reluctance to engage in a fresh struggle, and his fear
that his motives might be misunderstood, he had the same diffidence in
his own abilities which weighed upon him when he took command of the
armies. His passion for success, which determined him to accept the
presidency, if it was deemed indispensable that he should do so, made
him dread failure with an almost morbid keenness, although his courage
was too high and his will too strong ever to draw back. Responsibility
weighed upon his spirits, but it could not daunt him. He wrote to
Trumbull in December, 1788, that he saw "nothing but clouds and
darkness before him," but when the hour came he was ready. The
elections were favorable to the Federalists. The electoral colleges
gave Washington their unanimous vote, and on April 16, having been
duly notified by Congress of his election, he left Mount Vernon for
New York, to assume the conduct of the government, and stand at the
head of the new Union in its first battle for life.

From the early day when he went out to seek Shirley and win redress
against the assumptions of British officers, Washington's journeys
to the North had been memorable in their purposes. He had traveled
northward to sit in the first continental congress, to take command of
the army, and to preside over the constitutional convention. Now
he went, in the fullness of his fame, to enter upon a task less
dangerous, perhaps, than leading armies, but more beset with
difficulties, and more perilous to his reputation and peace of mind,
than any he had yet undertaken. He felt all this keenly, and noted in
his diary: "About ten o'clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private
life, and to domestic felicity; and with a mind oppressed with more
anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set
out for New York, with the best disposition to render service to my
country, in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its

The first stage of his journey took him only to Alexandria, a few
miles from his home, where a public dinner was given to him by his
friends and neighbors. He was deeply moved when he rose to reply to
the words of affection addressed to him by the mayor as spokesman of
the people. "All that now remains for me," he said, "is to commit
myself and you to the care of that beneficent Being who, on a former
occasion, happily brought us together after a long and distressing
separation. Perhaps the same gracious Providence will again indulge
me. But words fail me. Unutterable sensations must then be left to
more expressive silence, while from an aching heart I bid all my
affectionate friends and kind neighbors farewell."

So he left his home, sad at the parting, looking steadily, but not
joyfully, to the future, and silent as was his wont. The simple dinner
with his friends and neighbors at Alexandria was but the beginning of
the chorus of praise and Godspeed which rose higher and stronger as he
advanced. The road, as he traveled, was lined with people, to see him
and cheer him as he passed. In every village the people from the farm
and workshop crowded the streets to watch for his carriage, and the
ringing of bells and firing of guns marked his coming and his going.
At Baltimore a cavalcade of citizens escorted him, and cannon roared a
welcome. At the Pennsylvania line Governor Mifflin, with soldiers and
citizens, gathered to greet him. At Chester he mounted a horse, and
in the midst of a troop of cavalry rode into Philadelphia, beneath
triumphal arches, for a day of public rejoicing and festivity. At
Trenton, instead of snow and darkness, and a sudden onslaught upon
surprised Hessians, there was mellow sunshine, an arch of triumph,
and young girls walking before him, strewing flowers in his path, and
singing songs of praise and gratitude. When he reached Elizabethtown
Point, the committees of Congress met him, and he there went on board
a barge manned by thirteen pilots in white uniform, and was rowed to
the city of New York. A long procession of barges swept after him with
music and song, while the ships in the harbor, covered with flags,
fired salutes in his honor. When he reached the landing he declined
to enter a carriage, but walked to his house, accompanied by Governor
Clinton. He was dressed in the familiar buff and blue, and, as the
people caught sight of the stately figure and the beloved colors, hats
went off and the crowd bowed as he went by, bending like the ripened
grain when the summer wind passes over it, and breaking forth into
loud and repeated cheers.

From Mount Vernon to New York it had been one long triumphal march.
There was no imperial government to lend its power and military
pageantry. There were no armies, with trophies to dazzle the eyes
of the beholders; nor were there wealth and luxury to give pomp and
splendor to the occasion. It was the simple outpouring of popular
feeling, untaught and true, but full of reverence and gratitude to a
great man. It was the noble instinct of hero-worship, always keen
in humanity when the real hero comes to awaken it to life. Such an
experience, rightly apprehended, would have impressed any man, and it
affected Washington profoundly. He was deeply moved and touched, but
he was neither excited nor elated. He took it all with soberness,
almost with sadness, and when he was alone wrote in his diary:--

"The display of boats which attended and joined us on this occasion,
some with vocal and some with instrumental music on board; the
decorations of the ships, the roar of cannon and the loud acclamations
of the people, which rent the skies as I passed along the wharves,
filled my mind with sensations as painful (considering the reverse of
this scene, which may be the case after all my labors to do good) as
they were pleasing."

In the very moment of the highest personal glory, the only thought is
of the work which he has to do. There is neither elation nor cynicism,
neither indifference nor self-deception, but only deep feeling and a
firm, clear look into the future of work and conflict which lay silent
and unknown beyond the triumphal arches and the loud acclaim of the

On April 30 he was inaugurated. He went in procession to the hall, was
received in the senate chamber, and thence proceeded to the balcony
to take the oath. He was dressed in dark brown cloth of American
manufacture, with a steel-hilted sword, and with his hair powdered and
drawn back in the fashion of the time. When he appeared, a shout went
up from the great crowd gathered beneath the balcony. Much overcome,
he bowed in silence to the people, and there was an instant hush over
all. Then Chancellor Livingston administered the oath. Washington laid
his hand upon the Bible, bowed, and said solemnly when the oath was
concluded, "I swear, so help me God," and, bending reverently, kissed
the book. Livingston stepped forward, and raising his hand cried,
"Long live George Washington, President of the United States!" Then
the cheers broke forth again, the cannon roared, and the bells rang
out. Washington withdrew to the hall, where he read his inaugural
address to Congress, and the history of the United States of America
under the Constitution was begun.



Washington was deeply gratified by his reception at the hands of the
people from Alexandria to New York. He was profoundly moved by the
ceremonies of his inauguration, and when he turned from the balcony to
the senate chamber he showed in his manner and voice how much he felt
the meaning of all that had occurred. His speech to the assembled
Congress was solemn and impressive, and with simple reverence he
acknowledged the guiding hand of Providence in the fortunes of the
States. He made no recommendations to Congress, but expressed his
confidence in their wisdom and patriotism, adjured them to remember
that the success of republican government would probably be finally
settled by the success of their experiment, reminded them that
amendments to the Constitution were to be considered, and informed
them that he could not receive any pecuniary compensation for his
services, and expected only that his expenses should be paid as in the
Revolution. This was all. The first inaugural of the first President
expressed only one thought, but that thought was pressed home with
force. Washington wished the Congress to understand as he understood
the weight and meaning of the task which had been imposed upon them,
for he felt that if he could do this all would be well. How far he
succeeded it would be impossible to say, but there can be no doubt as
to the wisdom of his position. To have attempted to direct the first
movements of Congress before he had really grasped the reins of the
government would have given rise, very probably, to jealousy and
opposition at the outset. When he had developed a policy, then it
would be time to advise the senators and representatives how to carry
it out. Meanwhile it was better to arouse their patriotism, awaken
their sense of responsibility, and leave them free to begin their work
under the guidance of these impressions.

As for himself, his feelings remained unchanged. He had accepted the
great post with solemn anxiety, and when the prayers had all been
said, and the last guns fired, when the music had ceased and the
cheers had died away, and the illuminations had flickered and gone
out, he wrote that in taking office he had given up all expectation
of private happiness, but that he was encouraged by the popular
affection, as well as by the belief that his motives were appreciated,
and that, thus supported, he would do his best. In a few words,
written some months later, he tersely stated what his office meant to
him, and what grave difficulties surrounded his path.

"The establishment of our new government," he said, "seemed to be the
last great experiment for promoting human happiness by a reasonable
compact in civil society. It was to be, in the first instance, in
a considerable degree, a government of accommodation as well as
a government of laws. Much was to be done by prudence, much by
conciliation, much by firmness. Few who are not philosophical
spectators can realize the difficult and delicate part which a man in
my situation had to act. All see, and most admire, the glare which
hovers round the external happiness of elevated office. To me there
is nothing in it beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its
connection with a power of promoting human felicity. In our progress
towards political happiness my station is new, and, if I may use the
expression, I walk on untrodden ground. There is scarcely an action
the motive of which may not be subject to a double interpretation.
There is scarcely any part of my conduct which may not hereafter be
drawn into precedent. If, after all my humble but faithful endeavors
to advance the felicity of my country and mankind, I may indulge a
hope that my labors have not been altogether without success, it will
be the only real compensation I can receive in the closing scenes of

There is nothing very stimulating to the imagination in this soberness
of mind and calmness of utterance. The military conquerors and the
saviors of society, with epigrammatic sayings, dramatic effects and
rhythmic proclamations, are much more exciting and dazzle the fancy
much better. But it is this seriousness of mind, coupled with
intensity of purpose and grim persistence, which has made the
English-speaking race spread over the world and carry successful
government in its train. The personal empire of Napoleon had crumbled
before he died an exile in St. Helena, but the work of Washington
still endures. Just what that work was, and how it was achieved, is
all that still remains to be considered.

The policies set on foot and carried through under the first federal
administration were so brilliant and so successful that we are apt
to forget that months elapsed before the first of them was even
announced. When Washington, on May 1, 1789, began his duties, there
was absolutely nothing of the government of the United States in
existence but a President and a Congress. The imperfect and broken
machinery of the confederation still moved feebly, and performed some
of the absolutely necessary functions of government. But the new
organization had nothing to work with except these outworn remnants of
a discarded system. There were no departments, and no arrangements for
the collection of revenue or the management of the postal service. A
few scattered soldiers formed the army, and no navy existed. There
were no funds and no financial resources. There were not even
traditions and forms of government, and, slight as these things may
seem, settled methods of doing public business are essential to its
prompt and proper transaction. These forms had to be devised and
adopted first, and although they seem matters of course now, after
a century of use, they were the subject of much thought and of some
sharp controversy in 1789. The manner in which the President was to be
addressed caused some heated discussion even before the inauguration.
America had but just emerged from the colonial condition, and the
colonial habits were still unbroken. In private letters we find
Washington referred to as "His Highness," and in some newspapers as
"His Highness the President-General," while the Senate committee
reported in favor of addressing him as "His Highness the President of
the United States and Protector of their Liberties." In the House,
however, the democratic spirit was strong, there was a fierce attack
upon the proposed titles, and that body ended by addressing Washington
simply as the "President of the United States," which, as it happened,
settled the question finally. Washington personally cared little for
titles, although, as John Adams wrote to Mrs. Warren, he thought them
appropriate to high office. But in this case he saw that there was a
real danger lurking in the empty name, and so he was pleased by the
decision of the House. Another matter was the relation between the
President and the Senate. Should he communicate with them in writing
or orally, being present during their deliberations as if they formed
an executive council? It was promptly decided that nominations should
be made in writing; but as to treaties, it was at first thought best
that the President should deliver them to the Senate in person, and
it was arranged with minute care where he should sit, beside
the Vice-President, while the matter was under discussion. This
arrangement, however, was abandoned after a single trial, and it was
agreed that treaties, like nominations, should come with written

Last and most important of all was the question of the mode of conduct
and the etiquette to be established with regard to the President
himself. In this, as in the matter of titles, Washington saw a real
importance in what many persons might esteem only empty forms, and he
proceeded with his customary thoroughness in dealing with the subject.
What he did would be a precedent for the future as well as a target
for present criticism, and he determined to devise a scheme which
would resist attack, and be worthy to stand as an example for his
successors. He therefore wrote to Madison: "The true medium, I
conceive, must lie in pursuing such a course as will allow him (the
President) time for all the official duties of his station. This
should be the primary object. The next, to avoid as much as may be the
charge of superciliousness, and seclusion from information, by too
much reserve and too great a withdrawal of himself from company on
the one hand, and the inconveniences, as well as a diminution of
respectability, from too free an intercourse and too much familiarity
on the other." This letter, with a set of queries, was also sent to
the Vice-President, to Jay, and to Hamilton. They all agreed in the
general views outlined by Washington. Adams, fresh from Europe, was
inclined to surround the office, of which he justly had a lofty
conception, with a good deal of ceremony, because he felt that these
things were necessary in our relations with foreign nations. In the
main, however, the advice of all who were consulted was in favor
of keeping the nice line between too much reserve and too much
familiarity, and this line, after all the advising, Washington of
course drew for himself. He did it in this way. He decided that he
would return no calls, and that he would receive no general visits
except on specified days, and official visitors at fixed hours.
The third point was in regard to dinner parties. The presidents of
Congress hitherto had asked every one to dine, and had ended by
keeping a sort of public table, to the waste of both time and dignity.
Many persons, disgusted with this system, thought that the President
ought not to ask anybody to dinner. But Washington, never given to
extremes, decided that he would invite to dinner persons of official
rank and strangers of distinction, but no one else, and that he would
accept no invitations for himself. After a time he arranged to have a
reception every Tuesday, from three to four in the afternoon, and Mrs.
Washington held a similar levee on Fridays. These receptions, with a
public dinner every week, were all the social entertainments for which
the President had either time or health.

By these sensible and apparently unimportant arrangements, Washington
managed to give free access to every one who was entitled to it, and
yet preserved the dignity and reserve due to his office. It was one
of the real although unmarked services which he rendered to the new
government, and which contributed so much to its establishment, for it
would have been very easy to have lowered the presidential office by a
false idea of republican simplicity. It would have been equally easy
to have made it odious by a cold seclusion on the one hand, or by pomp
and ostentation on the other. With his usual good judgment and perfect
taste, Washington steered between the opposing dangers, and yet
notwithstanding the wisdom of his arrangements, and in spite of
their simplicity, he did not escape calumny on account of them. One
criticism was that at his reception every one stood, which was thought
to savor of incipient monarchy. To this Washington replied, with the
directness of which he was always capable, that it was not usual to
sit on such occasions, and, if it were, he had no room large enough
for the number of chairs that would be required, and that, as the
whole thing was perfectly unceremonious, every one could come and go
as he pleased. Fault was also found with the manner in which he bowed,
an accusation to which he answered with an irony not untinged with
bitterness and contempt: "That I have not been able to make bows to
the taste of poor Colonel B. (who, by the by, I believe never saw one
of them) is to be regretted, especially too, as, upon those occasions,
they were indiscriminately bestowed, and the best I was master of.
Would it not have been better to throw the veil of charity over
them, ascribing their stiffness to the effects of age, or to the
unskillfulness of my teacher, rather than to pride and dignity of
office, which God knows has no charms for me?"

As party hostility developed, these attacks passed from the region of
private conversation to the columns of newspapers and the declamation
of mob orators, and an especial snarl was raised over the circumstance
that at some public ball the President and Mrs. Washington were
escorted to a sofa on a raised platform, and that guests passed before
them and bowed. Much monarchy and aristocracy were perceived in this
little matter, and Jefferson carefully set it down in that collection
of withered slanders which he gave to an admiring posterity, after the
grave had safely covered both him and those whom he feared and hated
in his lifetime. This incident, however, was but an example of
the political capital which was sought for in the conduct of the
presidential office. The celebration of the birthday, the proposition
to put Washington's head upon the coins, and many other similar
trifles, were all twisted to the same purpose. The dynasty of Cleon
has been a long one, so long that even the succession of the Popes
seems temporary beside it, and it flourished in Washington's time as
rankly as it did in Athens, or as it does to-day. The object of the
assault varies, but the motives and the purpose are as old and as
lasting as human nature. Envy and malice will always find a convenient
shelter in pretended devotion to the public weal, and will seek
revenge for their own lack of success by putting on the cloak of the
tribune of the people, and perverting the noblest of offices to the
basest uses.

But time sets all things even. The demagogues and the critics who
assailed Washington's demeanor and behavior are forgotten, while the
wise and simple customs which he established and framed for the great
office that he honored, still prevail by virtue of their good sense.
We part gladly with all remembrance of those bold defenders of liberty
who saw in these slight forms forerunners of monarchy. We would even
consent to drop into oblivion the precious legacy of Jefferson. But
we will never part with the picture drawn by a loving hand of that
stately figure, clad in black velvet, with the hand on the hilt of the
sword, standing at one of Mrs. Washington's levees, and receiving with
gentle and quiet dignity, full of kindliness but untinged by cheap
familiarity, the crowd that came to pay their respects. It was well
for the republic that at the threshold of its existence it had for
President a man who, by the kindness of his heart, by his good sense,
good manners, and fine breeding, gave to the office which he held and
the government he founded the simple dignity which was part of himself
and of his own high character.

Thus the forms and shows, important in their way, were dealt with,
while behind them came the sterner realities of government, demanding
regulation and settlement. At the outset Washington knew about the
affairs of the government, especially for the last six years, only
in a general way. He felt it to be his first duty, therefore, to
familiarize himself with all these matters, and, although he was in
the midst of the stir and bustle of a new government, he nevertheless
sent for all the papers of each department of the confederation
since the signature of the treaty of peace, went through them
systematically, and made notes and summaries of their contents. This
habit he continued throughout his presidency in dealing with all
official documents. The natural result followed. He knew more at the
start about the facts in each and every department of the public
business than any other one man, and he continued to know more
throughout his administration. In this method and this capacity for
taking infinite pains is to be found a partial explanation at least
of the easy mastery of affairs which he always showed, whether on the
plantation, in the camp, or in the cabinet. It was in truth a striking
instance of that "long patience" which the great French naturalist
said was genius.

While he was thus regulating forms of business, and familiarizing
himself with public questions, it became necessary to fix the manner
of dealing with foreign powers. There were not many representatives of
foreign nations present at the birth of the republic, but there was
one who felt, and perhaps not without reason, that he was entitled
to peculiar privileges. The Count de Moustier, minister of France,
desired to have private access to the President, and even to discuss
matters of business with him. Washington's reply to this demand was,
in its way, a model. After saying that the only matter which could
come up would relate to commerce, with which he was unfamiliar, he
continued: "Every one, who has any knowledge of my manner of acting in
public life, will be persuaded that I am not accustomed to impede
the dispatch or frustrate the success of business by a ceremonious
attention to idle forms. Any person of that description will also be
satisfied that I should not readily consent to lose one of the most
important functions of my office for the sake of preserving an
imaginary dignity. But perhaps, if there are rules of proceeding which
have originated from the wisdom of statesmen, and are sanctioned by
the common consent of nations, it would not be prudent for a young
state to dispense with them altogether, at least without some
substantial cause for so doing. I have myself been induced to think,
possibly from habits of experience, that in general the best mode of
conducting negotiations, the detail and progress of which might be
liable to accidental mistakes or unintentional misrepresentations, is
by writing. This mode, if I was obliged by myself to negotiate with
any one, I should still pursue. I have, however, been taught to
believe that there is in most polished nations a system established
with regard to the foreign as well as the other great departments,
which, from the utility, the necessity, and the reason of the thing,
provides that business should be digested and prepared by the heads of
those departments."

The Count de Moustier hastened to excuse himself on the ground that
he expressed himself badly in English, which was over-modest, for he
expressed himself extremely well. He also explained and defended his
original propositions by trying to show that they were reasonable and
usual; but it was labor lost. Washington's letter was final, and the
French minister knew it. The count was aware that he was dealing with
a good soldier, but in statecraft he probably felt he had to do with a
novice. His intention was to take advantage of the position of France,
secure for her peculiar privileges, and put her in the attitude of
patronizing inoffensively but effectively the new government founded
by the people she had helped to free. He found himself turned aside
quietly, almost deferentially, and yet so firmly and decidedly that
there was no appeal. No nation, he discovered, was to have especial
privileges. France was the good friend and ally of the United States,
but she was an equal, not a superior. It was also fixed by this
correspondence that the President, representing the sovereignty of
the people, was to have the respect to which that sovereignty was
entitled. The pomp and pageant of diplomacy in the old world were
neither desired nor sought in America; yet the President was not to be
approached in person, but through the proper cabinet officer, and all
diplomatic communications after the fashion of civilized governments
were to be in writing. Thus within a month France, and in consequence
other nations, were quietly given to understand that the new republic
was to be treated like other free and independent governments, and
that there was to be nothing colonial or subservient in her attitude
to foreign nations, whether those nations had been friends or foes in
the past.

It required tact, firmness, and a sure judgment to establish proper
relations with foreign ministers. But once done, it was done for all
time. This was not the case with another and far more important
class of people, whose relation to the new administration had to be
determined at the very first hour of its existence. Indeed, before
Washington left Mount Vernon he had begun to receive letters from
persons who considered themselves peculiarly well fitted to serve the
government in return for a small but certain salary. In a letter to
Mrs. Wooster, for whom as the widow of an old soldier he felt the
tenderest sympathy, he wrote soon after his arrival in New York: "As
a public man acting only with reference to the public good, I must be
allowed to decide upon all points of my duty, without consulting my
private inclinations and wishes. I must be permitted, with the best
lights I can obtain, and upon a general view of characters and
circumstances, to nominate such persons alone to offices as in my
judgment shall be the best qualified to discharge the functions of
the departments to which they shall be appointed." This sentiment in
varying forms has been declared since 1789 by many Presidents and many
parties. Washington, however, lived up exactly to his declarations.
At the same time he did not by any means attempt to act merely as an
examining board.

Great political organizations, as we have known them since, did not
exist at the beginning of the government, but there were nevertheless
two parties, divided by the issue which had been settled by the
adoption of the Constitution. Washington took, and purposed to take,
his appointees so far as he could from those who had favored the
Constitution and were friends of the new system. It is also clear
that he made every effort to give the preference to the soldiers
and officers of the army, toward whom his affectionate thought ever
turned. Beyond this it can only be said that he was almost nervously
anxious to avoid any appearance of personal feeling in making
appointments, as was shown in the letter refusing to make his nephew
Bushrod a district attorney, and that he resented personal pressure
of any kind. He preferred always to reach his conclusions so far as
possible from a careful study of written testimony. These principles,
rigidly adhered to, his own keen perception of character, and his
knowledge of men, resulted in a series of appointments running through
eight years which were really marvelously successful. The only
rejection, outside the special case of John Rutledge, was that of
Benjamin Fishbourn for naval officer of the port of Savannah, which
was due apparently to the personal hostility of the Georgia senators.
Washington, conscious of his own painstaking, was not a little
provoked by this setting aside of an old soldier. He sent in a sharp
message on the subject, pointing out the trouble he took to make sure
of the fitness of an appointment, and intimated that the same effort
would not come amiss in the Senate when they rejected one of his
nominees. In view of the fact that it was a new government, the
absence of mistakes in the appointments is quite extraordinary,
and the value of such success can be realized by considering the
disastrous consequences which would have come from inefficient
officers or malfeasance in office when the great experiment was just
put on trial, and was surrounded by doubters and critics ready and
eager to pick flaws and find faults.

The general tone of the government and its reputation at widely
scattered points depended largely on the persons appointed to the
smaller executive offices. Important, however, as these were, the
fate of the republic under the new Constitution was infinitely more
involved in the men whom Washington called about him in his cabinet,
to decide with him as to the policies which were to be begun, and
on which the living vital government was to be founded. Congress,
troubled about many things, and struggling with questions of revenue
and taxation, managed in the course of the summer to establish and
provide for three executive departments and for an attorney-general.
To the selection of the men to fill these high offices Washington
gave, of course, the most careful thought, and succeeded in forming
a cabinet which, in its aggregate ability, never has been equaled in
this country.

Edmund Randolph was appointed attorney-general. Losing his father at
an early age, and entering the army, he had been watched over and
protected by Washington with an almost paternal care, and at the time
of his appointment he was one of the most conspicuous men in public
life, as well as a leading lawyer at the bar of Virginia. He came from
one of the oldest and strongest of the Virginian families, and had
been governor of his State, and a leader in the constitutional
convention, where he had introduced what was known as the Virginian
plan. He had refused to sign the Constitution, but had come round
finally to its support, largely through Washington's influence. There
was then, and there can be now, no question as to Randolph's really
fine talents, or as to his fitness for his post. His defect was a lack
of force of character and strength of will, which was manifested by a
certain timidity of action, and by an infirmity of purpose, such as
had appeared in his course about the Constitution. He performed the
duties of his office admirably, but in the decision of the momentous
questions which came before the cabinet he showed an uncertainty of
opinion which was felt by all his colleagues.[1]

[Footnote 1: This passage was written before the recent appearance of
Mr. Conway's _Life of Randolph_. That ample biography, in my opinion,
confirms the view of Randolph here given. If, in the light of this new
material, I have erred at all, it is, I think, on the charitable side.
Mr. Conway, in order to vindicate Randolph, has sacrificed so far as
he could nearly every conspicuous public man of that period. From
Washington, whom he charges with senility, down, there is hardly a
man who ever crossed Randolph's path whom he has not assailed. Yet he
presents no reason, so far as I can see, to alter the present opinion
of Randolph.]

Henry Knox of Massachusetts was head of the War Department under the
confederacy, and was continued in office by Washington, who appointed
him secretary of war under the new arrangement. It was a natural and
excellent selection. Knox was a distinguished soldier, he had served
well through the Revolution, and Washington was warmly attached to
him. He was not a statesman by training or habit of mind, nor was he
possessed of commanding talents. But he was an able man, sound in his
views and diligent in his office, devoted to his chief and unswerving
in his loyalty to the administration and all its measures. There was
never any doubt as to the attitude of Henry Knox, and Washington found
him as faithful and efficient in the cabinet as he had always been in
the field.

Second in rank, but first in importance, was the secretaryship of the
treasury. "Finance! Ah, my friend, all that remains of the American
Revolution grounds there." So Gouverneur Morris had written to Jay. So
might he have written again of the American Union, for the fate of the
experiment rested at the outset on the Treasury Department. Yet there
was probably less hesitation as to the proper man for this place than
for any other. Washington no doubt would have been glad to give it to
Robert Morris, whose great services in the Revolution he could never
forget. But this could not be, and acting on his own judgment,
fortified by that of Morris himself, he made Alexander Hamilton
secretary of the treasury.

It is one of the familiar marks of greatness to know how to choose the
right men to perform the tasks which no man, either in war or peace,
can complete single-handed. Napoleon's marshals were conspicuous
proofs of his genius, and Washington had a similar power of selection.
The generals whom he trusted were the best generals, the statesmen
whom he consulted stand highest in history. He was fallible, as other
mortals are fallible. He, too, had his Varus, and the time was coming
when he could echo the bitter cry of the great emperor for his lost
legions. But the mistakes were the exceptions. He chose with the
sureness of a strong and penetrating mind, and the most signal example
of this capacity was his secretary of the treasury. He knew Hamilton
well. He had known him as his staff officer, active, accomplished, and
efficient. He had seen him leave his side in a tempest of boyish rage,
and he had watched him charging with splendid gallantry the Yorktown
redoubts. He was familiar with Hamilton's extraordinary mastery of
financial and political problems, and he had found him a powerful
leader in the work of forming the Constitution. He understood
Hamilton's strength, and he knew where his dangers lay. Now he called
him to his cabinet, and gave into his hands the department on which
the immediate success of the government hinged. It was a brilliant
choice. The mark in his lifetime for all the assaults of his political
opponents, the leader and the victim of the schism which rent his own
party, Hamilton, after his death, was made the target for attack and
reprobation by his political foes, who for nearly sixty years, with
few intermissions, controlled the government. His work, however, could
not be undone, and as passions have subsided his fame has proved to
be of that highest and rarest kind which broadens and rises with the
lapse of years, until in the light of history it overtops that of any
of our statesmen, except of his own great chief and Abraham Lincoln.
The work to which he was called was that of organizing a national
government, and in the performance of this work he showed that he
belonged to the highest type of constructive statesmen, and was one of
the rare men who build, and whose building stands the test of time.

Last to be mentioned, but first in rank, was the Department of State.
For this high place Washington chose Thomas Jefferson, who was then
our minister in Paris, and who did not return to take up his official
duties until the following March. Of the four cabinet offices, this
was the only one where Washington proceeded entirely on public
grounds. He took Jefferson on account of his wide reputation, his
unquestioned ability, his standing before the country, and his
experience in our foreign relations. With the other three there was
a strong element of personal friendship and familiarity. With the
secretary of state his intercourse had been, so far as we can judge,
almost wholly of a public character, and, so far as can be inferred
from an expression of some years before, the selection was made by
Washington in deference simply to what he believed to be the public
interest. The only allusion to Jefferson in all the printed volumes of
correspondence prior to 1789 occurs in a letter to Robert Livingston,
of January 8, 1783. He there said: "What office is Mr. Jefferson
appointed to that he has, you say, lately accepted? If it is that of
commissioner of peace, I hope he will arrive too late to have any hand
in it." There is no indication that their personal relations were then
or afterwards other than pleasant. Yet this brief sentence is a
strong expression of distrust, and especially so from the fact that
Washington was not at all given to criticising other people in his
letters. What he distrusted was not Jefferson's ability, for that
no man could doubt, still less his patriotism. But Washington read
character well, and he felt that Jefferson might be lacking in the
qualities of boldness and determination, so needful in a negotiation
like that which resulted in the acknowledgment of our independence.

The truth was that the two men were radically different, and never
could have been sympathetic. Washington was strong, direct, masculine,
and at times fierce in anger. Jefferson was adroit, subtle, and
feminine in his sensitiveness. Washington was essentially a fighting
man, tamed by a stern self-control from the recklessness of his early
days, but always a fighter. Jefferson was a lover of peace, given to
quiet, hating quarrels and bloodshed, and at times timid in dealing
with public questions. Washington was deliberate and conservative,
after the fashion of his race. Jefferson was quick, impressionable,
and always fascinated by new notions, even if they were somewhat
fantastic. A thoroughly liberal and open-minded man, Washington never
turned a deaf ear to any new suggestion, whether it was a public
policy or a mechanical invention, but to all alike he gave careful
consideration before he adopted them. To Jefferson, on the other hand,
mere novelty had a peculiar charm, and he jumped at any device, either
to govern a state or improve a plough, provided that it had the
flavor of ingenuity. The two men might easily have thought the same
concerning the republic, but they started from opposite poles, and no
full communion of thought and feeling was possible between them. That
Washington chose fitly from purely public and outside considerations
can not be questioned, but he made a mistake when he put next to
himself a man for whom he did not have the personal regard and
sympathy which he felt for his other advisers. The necessary result
finally came, after many troubles in the cabinet, in dislike and
distrust, if not positive alienation.

Looking at the cabinet, however, as it stood in the beginning, we can
only admire the wisdom of the selection and the high abilities which
were thus brought together for the administration and construction of
a great national government. It has always been the fashion to speak
of this first cabinet as made up without reference to party, but the
idea is a mistaken one from any point of view. Washington himself gave
it color, for he felt very rightly that he was the choice of the whole
people and not of a party. He wished to rise above party, and in fact
to have no party, but a devotion of all to the good of the country.
The time came when he sorrowed for and censured party bitterness and
party strife, but it is to be observed that the party feeling which he
most deplored was that which grew up against his own policies and his
own administration. The fact was that Washington, who rose above party
more than any other statesman in our history, was nevertheless, like
most men of strong will and robust mind, and like all great political
leaders, a party man, as we shall have occasion to see further on.
It is true that his cabinet contained the chiefs and founders of two
great schools of political thought, which have ever since divided
the country; but when these parties were once fairly developed, the
cabinet became a scene of conflict and went to pieces, only to be
reformed on party lines. When it was first made up, the two parties of
our subsequent history, with which we are familiar, did not exist, and
it was in the administration of Washington that they were developed.
Yet the cabinet of 1789 was, so far as there were parties, a partisan
body. The only political struggle that we had had was over the
adoption of the Constitution. The parties of the first Congress were
the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, the friends and the enemies
of the Constitution. Among those who opposed the Constitution were
many able and distinguished men, but Washington did not invite Sam
Adams, or George Mason, or Patrick Henry, or George Clinton to enter
his cabinet. On the contrary, he took only friends and supporters
of the Constitution. Hamilton was its most illustrious advocate.
Randolph, after some vacillation, had done very much to turn the
wavering scale in Virginia in its favor. Knox was its devoted friend;
and Jefferson, although he had carped at it and criticised it in
his letters, was not known to have done so, and was considered, and
rightly considered, to be friendly to the new system. In other words,
the cabinet was made up exclusively of the party of the Constitution,
which was the victorious party of the moment. This was of course
wholly right, and Washington was too great and wise a leader to have
done anything else. The cabinet was formed with regard to existing
divisions, and, when those divisions changed, the cabinet which gave
birth to them changed too.

Outside the cabinet, the most weighty appointments were those of the
Supreme Court. No one then quite appreciated, probably, the vast
importance which this branch of the government was destined to assume,
or the great part it was to play in the history of the country and the
development of our institutions. At the same time no one could fail to
see that much depended on the composition of the body which was to be
the ultimate interpreter of the Constitution. The safety of the entire
scheme might easily have been imperiled by the selection of men as
judges who were lacking in ability or character. Washington chose with
his wonted sureness. At the head of the court he placed John Jay, one
of the most distinguished of the public men of the day, who gave to
the office at once the impress of his own high character and spotless
reputation. With him were associated Wilson of Pennsylvania, Cushing
of Massachusetts, Blair of Virginia, Iredell of North Carolina, and
Rutledge of South Carolina. They were all able and well-known
men, sound lawyers, and also, be it noted, warm friends of the

Thus the business of organizing the government in the first great and
essential points was completed. It was the work of the President, and,
anxious and arduous as it was, it is worth remembering, too, that
it was done, and thoroughly done, in the midst of severe physical
suffering. Just after the inauguration, Washington was laid up with an
anthrax or carbuncle in his thigh, which brought him at one time very
near death. For six weeks he could lie only on one side, endured the
most constant and acute pain, and was almost incapable of motion. He
referred to his illness at the time in a casual and perfectly simple
way, and mind and will so prevailed over the bodily suffering that
the great task of organizing the government was never suspended nor

When the work was done and Congress had adjourned, Washington, feeling
that he had earned a little rest and recreation, proceeded to carry
out a purpose, which he had formed very early in his presidency, of
visiting the Eastern States. This was the first part of a general plan
which he had conceived of visiting while in office all portions of
the Union. The personal appearance of the President, representing
the whole people, would serve to bring home to the public mind the
existence and reality of a central government, which to many if not to
most persons in the outlying States seemed shadowy and distant. But
General Washington was neither shadowy nor distant to any one. Every
man, woman, and child had heard of and loved the leader of the
Revolution. To his countrymen everywhere, his name meant political
freedom and victory in battle; and when he came among them as the
head of a new government, that government took on in some measure the
character of its chief. His journey was a well-calculated appeal, not
for himself but for his cause, to the warm human interest which a man
readily excites, but which only gathers slowly around constitutions
and forms of government. The world owes a good deal to the right kind
of hero-worship, and the United States have been no exception.

The journey itself was uneventful, and was carried out with
Washington's usual precision. It served its purpose, too, and brought
out a popular enthusiasm which spoke well for the prospects of the
federal government, and which was the first promise of the loyal
support which New England gave to the President, as she had already
given it to the general. In the succession of crowds and processions
and celebrations which marked the public rejoicing, one incident of
this journey stands out as still memorable, and possessed of real
meaning. Mr. John Hancock was governor of Massachusetts. There is
no need to dwell upon him. He was a man of slender abilities,
large wealth, and ready patriotism, with a great sense of his own
importance, and a fine taste for impressive display. Every external
thing about him, from his handsome house and his Copley portrait to
his imposing gout and his immortal signature, was showy and effective.
He was governor of Massachusetts, and very proud of that proud old
commonwealth as well as of her governor. Within her bounds he was the
representative of her sovereignty, and he felt that deference was due
to him from the President of the United States when they both stood on
the soil of Massachusetts. He did not meet Washington on his arrival,
and Washington thereupon did not dine with the governor as he had
agreed to do. It looked a little stormy. Here was evidently a man with
some new views as to the sovereignty of States and the standing of the
union of States. It might have done for Governor Hancock to allow the
President of Congress to pass out of Massachusetts without seeing its
governor, and thereby learn a valuable lesson, but it would never
do to have such a thing happen in the case of George Washington, no
matter what office he might hold. A little after noon on Sunday,
October 26, therefore, the governor wrote a note to the President,
apologizing for not calling before, and asking if he might call
in half an hour, even though it was at the hazard of his health.
Washington answered at once, expressing his pleasure at the prospect
of seeing his excellency, but begging him, with a touch of irony, not
to do anything to endanger his health. So in half an hour Hancock
appeared. Picturesque, even if defeated, he was borne up-stairs on
men's shoulders, swathed in flannels, and then and there made his
call. The old house in Boston where this happened has had since then a
series of successors, but the ground on which it stood has been duly
remembered and commemorated. It is a more important spot than we are
wont to think; for there it was settled, on that autumn Sunday, that
the idea that the States were able to own and to bully the Union they
had formed was dead, and that the President of the new United States
was henceforth to be regarded as the official superior of every
governor in the land. It was a mere question of etiquette, nothing
more. But how the general government would have sunk in popular
estimation if the President had not asserted, with perfect dignity and
yet entire firmness, its position! Men are governed very largely by
impressions, and Washington knew it. Hence his settling at once and
forever the question of precedence between the Union and the States.
Everywhere and at all times, according to his doctrine, the nation was
to be first.[1]

[Footnote 1: The most lately published contemporary account of
this affair with Hancock can be found in the _Magazine of American
History_, June, 1888, p. 508, entitled "Incidents in the Life of John
Hancock, as related by Dorothy Quincy Hancock Scott (from the Diary of
Gen. W.H. Sumner)."]

So the President traveled on to the North, and then back by another
road to New York, and that excellent bit of work in familiarizing the
people with their federal government was accomplished. Meantime the
wheels had started, the machine was in motion, and the chief officers
were at their places. The preliminary work had been done, and the next
step was to determine what policies should be adopted, and to find out
if the new system could really perform the task for which it had been



To trace in detail the events of Washington's administration would be
to write the history of the country during that period. It is only
possible here to show, without much regard to chronological sequence,
the part of the President in developing the policy of the government
at home, and his attitude toward each question as it arose. We are
concerned here merely with the influence and effect of Washington in
our history, and not with the history itself. What did he do, and what
light do we get on the man himself from his words and deeds? These are
the only questions that a brief study of a career so far-reaching can
attempt to answer.

Congress came together for the first time with the government actually
organized on January 4, 1790. On the day when the session opened,
Washington drove down to the hall where the Congress met, alone in his
own coach drawn by four horses. He was preceded by Colonel Humphreys
and Major Jackson, mounted on his two white horses, while immediately
behind came his chariot with his private secretaries, and Mr. Lewis on
horseback. Then followed in their own coaches the chief justice and
the secretaries of war and of the treasury. When the President reached
the hall he was met at the entrance by the doorkeeper of the Congress,
and was escorted to the Senate chamber. There he passed between the
members of each branch, drawn up on either hand, and took his seat by
the Vice-President. When order and silence were obtained, he rose and
spoke to the assembled representatives of the people standing before
him. Having concluded his speech, he bowed and withdrew with his
suite as he had come. Jefferson killed this simple ceremonial, and
substituted for it the written message, sent by a secretary and read
by a clerk in the midst of talk and bustle, which is the form we
have to-day. Jefferson's change was made, of course, in the name of
liberty, and also because he was averse to public speaking. From the
latter point of view, it was reasonable enough, but the ostensible
cause was as hollow and meaningless as any of the French notions to
which it was close akin. It is well for the head of the state to meet
face to face the representatives of the same people who elected him.
For more than a century this has been the practice in Massachusetts,
to take a single instance, and liberty in that commonwealth has not
been imperiled, nor has the State been obliged to ask Federal aid to
secure to her a republican form of government because of her adherence
to this ancient custom.

The forms adopted by Washington had the grave and simple dignity which
marked all he did, and it was senseless to abandon what his faultless
taste and patriotic feeling approved. Forms are in their way important
things: they may conceal perils to liberty, or they may lend dignity
and call forth respect to all that liberty holds most dear. The net
result of all this business has been very curious. Jefferson's
written message prevails; and yet at the same time we inaugurate
our Presidents with a pomp and parade to which those of the dreaded
Federalists seem poor and quiet, and which would make the hero of the
message-in-writing fancy that the air was darkened by the shadows of
monarchy and despotism. The author of the Declaration of Independence
was a patriotic man and lover of freedom, but he who fought out the
Revolution in the field was quite as safe a guardian of American
liberty; and his clear mind was never confused by the fantasies of
that Parisian liberty which confused facts with names, and ended in
the Terror and the first Empire. The people of the United States
to-day surround the first office of the land with a respect and
dignity which they deem equal to the mighty sovereignty that it
represents, and in this is to be found the genuine American feeling
expressed by Washington in the plain and simple ceremonial which he
adopted for his meetings with the Congress.

In this first speech, thus delivered, Washington indicated the
subjects to which he wished Congress to direct their attention, and
which in their development formed the policies of his administration.
His first recommendation was to provide for the common defense by a
proper military establishment. His last and most elaborate was in
behalf of education, for which he invoked the aid of Congress and
urged the foundation of a national university, a scheme he had much at
heart, and to which he constantly returned. The history of these
two recommendations is soon told. Provision was made for the army,
inadequate enough, as Washington thought, but still without dispute,
and such additional provision was afterwards made from time to time as
the passing exigency of the moment demanded. For education nothing
was done, and the national university has never advanced beyond the
recommendation of the first President.

He also advised the adoption of a uniform standard of coinage,
weights, and measures. In two years a mint was duly established after
an able report from Hamilton, and out of his efforts and those of
Jefferson came our decimal system. There was debate over the devices
on the coins in which the ever-vigilant Jeffersonians scented
monarchical dangers, but with this exception the country got its
uniform coinage peacefully enough. The weights and measures did not
fare so well. They obtained a long report from Jefferson, and a still
longer and more learned disquisition from John Quincy Adams thirty
years later. But that was all. We still use the rule of thumb systems
inherited from our English ancestors, and Washington's uniform
standard, except for the two reports, has gone no further than the
national university.

Another recommendation to the effect that invention ought to be
encouraged and protected bore fruit in this same year in patent and
copyright laws, which became the foundation of our present system. The
same good fortune befell the recommendation for a uniform rule for
naturalization, and the law of 1790 was quietly enacted, no one then
imagining that its alteration less than ten years later was destined
to form part of a policy which, after a fierce struggle, settled
the fate of parties and decided the control of the government. The
post-office was also commended to the care of Congress, and for that,
as for the army, provision was duly made, insufficient at the outset,
but growing steadily from this small beginning, as it was called upon
to meet the spread and increase of population.

Provision was also made gradually, and with much occasional conflict,
for a diplomatic service such as the President advised. But this was
merely the machinery to carry out our foreign policy on which, in a
few years, our political history largely turned, and which will demand
a chapter by itself.

A paragraph devoted to Indian affairs informed Congress that measures
were on foot to establish pacific relations with our savage neighbors,
but that it would be well to be prepared to use force. This brief
sentence was the beginning of an important policy, which, in its
consequences and effects, played a large part in the history of the
next eight years.

These various matters thus disposed of, there remained only the
request to the House to provide for the revenue and the public credit.
From this came Hamilton's financial policy which created parties,
and with it was interwoven in the body of the speech the general
recommendation to make all proper effort for the advancement of
manufactures, commerce, and agriculture.

The speech as a whole, short though it was, drew the outline of
a vigorous system, which aimed at the establishment of a strong
government with enlarged powers. It cut at a blow all ties between the
new government and the feeble strivings of the dead confederation. It
displayed a broad conception of the duties of the government under
the Constitution, and in every paragraph it breathed the spirit of a
robust nationality, calculated to touch the people directly in every
State of the Union.

Before taking up the financial question, which became the great issue
in our domestic affairs, it will be well to trace briefly the story of
our relations with the Indians. The policy of the new administration
in this respect was peculiarly Washington's own, and, although it
affected more or less the general course of events at that period, it
did not directly become the subject of party differences. The "Indian
problem" is still with us, but it is now a very mild problem indeed.
Within a few years, it is true, we have had Indian wars, conducted by
the forces of the United States, and ever-recurring outbreaks between
savages and frontiersmen. But it has been a very distant business. To
the great mass of the American people it has been little more than
interesting news, to be leisurely scanned in the newspaper without
any sense of immediate and personal concern. Moreover, the popular
conception of the Indian has for a long time been wildly inaccurate.
We have known him in various capacities, as the innocent victim of
corrupt agents and traders, and as the brutal robber and murderer with
the vices and force of the Western frontiersman, but without any of
the latter's redeeming virtues. Last and most important of all, we
have known him as the rare hero and the conventional villain of
romance, ranging from the admirable stories of Cooper to the last
production of the "penny dreadful." The result has been to create in
the public mind a being who probably never existed anywhere except in
the popular imagination, and who certainly is not the North American

We are always loath to admit that our conceptions are formed by
fiction, but in the case of people remote from our daily observation
it plays in nine instances out of ten a leading part, and it has
certainly done so here. In this way we have been provided with two
types simple and well defined, which represent the abnormally good on
the one hand and the inconceivably bad on the other. The Indian hero
is a person of phenomenal nobility of character, and of an
ability which would do credit to the training of a highly refined
civilization. He is the product of the orator, the novelist, or the
philanthropist, and has but slight and distant relation to facts. The
usual type, however, and the one which has entered most largely into
the popular mind, is the Indian villain. He is portrayed invariably
as cunning, treacherous, cruel, and cowardly, without any relieving
quality. In this there is of course much truth. As a matter of fact,
Indians are cunning, treacherous, and cruel, but they are also bold
fighters. The leading idea of the Indian that has come down from
Cooper's time, and which depicts him as a "cowardly redskin," unable
to stand for a moment against a white man in fair fight, is a complete
delusion designed to flatter the superior race. It has been in a large
measure dissipated by Parkman's masterly histories, but the ideas born
of popular fiction die hard. They are due in part to the theory that
cruelty implies cowardice, just as we say that a bully must be a
coward, another mistaken bit of proverbial wisdom.

As a matter of fact, the records show that the North American Indian
is one of the most remarkable savage warriors of whom we have any
knowledge; and the number of white men killed for each Indian slain
in war exhibits an astonishing disproportion of loss. Captain James
Smith, for many years a captive, and who figured in most of the
campaigns of the last century, estimated that fifty of our people were
killed to one of theirs. This of course includes women and children;
and yet even in the battle of the Big Kanawha, the Virginia riflemen,
although they defeated the Indians with an inferior force, lost two
to one, and a similar disproportion seems to have continued to the
present day.

The Indian, moreover, not only fought well and to the death, if
surrounded, but he had a discipline and plan of battle which were
most effective for the wilderness. It seems probable that, if the
experiment had been properly tried, the Indians might have been turned
into better soldiers than the famous Sikhs; and the French, who
used the red men skillfully, if without much discipline, found them
formidable and effective allies. They cut off more than one English
and American army, and the fact that they resorted to ambush and
surprise does not detract from their exploits. It was a legitimate
mode of warfare, and was used by them with terrible effect. They have
fought more than one pitched battle against superior numbers when the
victory hung long in the balance, and they have carried on guerrilla
wars for years against overwhelming forces with extraordinary
persistence and success. There is no savage, except the Zulu or Maori,
who has begun to exhibit the natural fighting quality of the American
Indian; and although the Zulu appears to have displayed greater dash,
the Indian, by his mastery of the tactics of surprise, has shown a
far better head. In a word, the Indian has always been a formidable
savage, treacherous, cruel, and cunning to an extreme degree, no
doubt, but a desperate and dogged fighter, with a natural instinct for
war. It must be remembered, too, that he was far more formidable
in 1790 than he is to-day, with the ever-rising tide of civilized
population flowing upon him and hemming him in. When the Constitution
came into being, the Indians were pretty well out of the Atlantic
States, but beyond the Alleghanies all was theirs, and they had the
unbroken wilderness as their ally and their refuge. There they lay
like a dark line on the near frontier, threatening war and pillage
and severe check to the westward advance of our people. They were
a serious matter to a new government, limited in resources and
representing only three millions of people.

Fortunately the President was of all men best fitted to deal with
this grave question, for he knew the Indians thoroughly. His earliest
public service had been to negotiate with them, and from that time on
he had been familiar with them in peace and in diplomacy, while he had
fought with them in war over and over again. He was not in the least
confused in his notions about them, but saw them, as he did most
facts, exactly as they were. He had none of the false sentimentality
about the noble and injured red man, which in later days has been at
times highly mischievous, nor on the other hand did he take the purely
brutal view of the fighting scout or backwoodsman. He knew the Indian
as he was, and understood him as a dangerous, treacherous,
fighting savage. Better than any one else he appreciated
the difficulties of Indian warfare when an army had to be
launched into the wilderness and cut off from a base of supplies.
He was well aware, too, that the western tribes were a constant
temptation to England and Spain on either border, and might be used
against us with terrible effect. In taking up the question for
solution, he believed first, as was his nature, in justice, and he
resolved to push every pacific measure, and strive unremittingly by
fair dealing and binding treaties to keep a peace which was of great
moment to the young republic. But he also felt that pacific measures
were an uncertain reliance, and that sharp, decisive blows were often
the only means of maintaining peace and quiet on the frontier, and
of warding off English and Spanish intrigue. This was the policy he
indicated in the brief sentences of his first speech, and it only
remains to see how he carried it out.

The outlook in regard to the Indians, when Washington assumed the
presidency, was threatening enough. The Continental Congress had shown
in this respect most honorable intention and some vigor, but their
honest purposes had been in large measure thwarted by the action of
the various States, which they were unable to control. In New York
peace reigned, despite some grumbling; for the Six Nations had made a
general treaty, and also two special treaties, not long before, which
were on the whole just and satisfactory. At the same time a general
treaty had been made with the western Indians, which modified some of
the injustices of the treaties of 1785, and which were also fair and
reasonable. In this treaty, however, the tribes of the Wabash were not
included, and they therefore were engaged in war with the Kentucky
people. Those hardy backwoodsmen were quick enough to retaliate, and
they generally proceeded on the simple backwoods principle that tribal
distinctions were futile, and that every Indian was an enemy. This
view, it must be admitted, saved a good deal of thought, but it led
the Kentuckians in their raids to kill many Indians who did not belong
to the Wabash tribes, but to those protected by treaty. The result
of this impartiality was, that, besides the chronic Wabash troubles,
there was every probability that a general war with all the western
and northwestern tribes might break out at any moment.

South of the Ohio, matters were even worse. The Choctaws, it is
true, owing to their distance from our frontier settlements, were on
excellent terms with our government. But the Cherokees had just
been beaten and driven back by Sevier and his followers from the
short-lived state of Franklin, and had taken refuge with the Creeks.
These last were a formidable people. Not only were they good fighters,
but they were also well armed, thanks to their alliance with the
Spaniards, from whom they obtained not only countenance, but guns,
ammunition, and supplies. They were led also by a chief of remarkable
ability, a Scotch half-breed, educated at Charlestown, and named
Alexander McGillivray. With a tribe so constituted and commanded, it
was not difficult to bring on trouble, as soon proved to be the case.
Georgia had claimed and seized certain lands under treaties which she
alleged had been made, whereupon the Creeks denied the validity of
these treaties and went to war, in which they were highly successful.
The Georgians had already asked assistance from their neighbors, and
they now demanded it from the new general government. Thereupon, under
an act of Congress, Washington appointed as commissioners to arrange
the difficulties General Lincoln, Colonel Humphrey, and David Griffin
of Virginia, all remote from the scene of conflict, and all judicious
selections. The Creeks readily met the new commissioners, but when
they found that no lands were to be given up, they declined to treat
further, and said they would await a new negotiation.

Washington attributed this failure, and no doubt correctly, to the
intrigues and influence of Spain. On the day the report of the
commissioners went to Congress, he wrote to Governor Pinckney of South
Carolina: "For my own part I am entirely persuaded that the present
general government will endeavor to lay the foundations for its
proceedings in national justice, faith, and honor. But should the
government, after having attempted in vain every reasonable pacific
measure, be obliged to have recourse to arms for the defense of its
citizens, I am also of opinion that sound policy and good economy will
point to a prompt and decisive effort, rather than to defensive and
lingering operations." "Lingering" had been the curse of our Indian
policy, and it was this above all things that Washington was
determined to be rid of. Whether peace or war, there was to be quick
and decisive action. He therefore, in this spirit, at once sent
southward another commissioner, Colonel Willett, who very shrewdly
succeeded in getting McGillivray and his chiefs to agree to accompany
him to New York. Thither they accordingly came in due time, the Scotch
half-breed and twenty-eight of his chiefs. They were entertained and
well treated at the seat of government, and there, with Knox acting
for the United States, they made a treaty which involved concessions
on both sides. The Creeks gave up all claims to lands north and east
of the Oconee, and the United States, under a recent general act
regulating trade and intercourse with the Indians, gave up all lands
south and west of the same river, and agreed to make the tribes an
annual present. Then Washington gave them wampum and tobacco, and
shook hands with them, and the chiefs went home. There was grumbling
on both sides, especially among the Georgians, but nevertheless the
treaty held for a time at least, and there was peace.

Washington's policy of justice had succeeded, and the Indians got an
idea of the power and fair dealing of the new government, which was of
real value. More valuable still was the lesson to the people of the
United States that this central government meant to deal justly
with the Indians, and would try to prevent any single State from
frustrating by bad faith the policy designed to benefit the whole
country. Trouble soon began again in this direction, and in later days
States inflated with state-right doctrines carried this resistance in
Indian affairs to a much greater extent, and flouted the acts of the
federal government. This, however, does not detract from the wisdom of
the President, who inaugurated the policy of acting justly toward
the Indians, and of overruling the selfish injustice of the State
immediately affected. If the policy of justice and firmness adopted by
Washington had never been abandoned, it would have been better for the
honor and the interest both of the nation and the separate States.

The same pacific policy which had succeeded in the south was tried in
the west and failed. The English, with their usual thoughtfulness,
incited the Indians to claim the Ohio as their boundary, which meant
war and murderous assaults on all our people traveling on the river.
Retaliation, of course, followed, and in April, 1790, Colonel Harmer
with a body of Kentucky militia invaded the Indian country, burned a
deserted village, and returned without having accomplished anything
substantial. The desultory warfare of murder and pillage went on for a
time, and then Washington felt that the moment had come for the other
branch of his policy. At all events there should be no lingering, and
there should be action. Peaceful measures having failed, there should
be war and a settlement in some fashion.

Accordingly, in the fall of 1790, soon after his successful Creek
negotiation, he ordered out some three hundred regulars and eleven
hundred militia from Pennsylvania and Kentucky, and sent them under
Harmer into the Miami country. The expedition burned a village on the
Scioto; and then Colonel Hardin, detached with some hundred and
fifty men in pursuit of the Indians, was caught in an ambush and
his regulars cut off, the militia running away apparently quite
successfully. Thereupon Harmer retreated; but, changing his mind in a
day or two, advanced again, and again sent out Hardin with a larger
force than before. Then the advance was again surprised, and the
regulars nearly all killed, while the militia, who stood their ground
better this time, lost about a hundred men. The end was the repulse
of the whites after a pretty savage fight. Then Harmer withdrew
altogether, declaring, with a strange absence of humor, if of no more
important quality, that he had won a victory. After reaching home,
this mismanaged expedition caused much crimination and heart-burning,
followed by courts-martial on Hardin and Harmer, who were both
acquitted, and by the resignation of the latter.

This defeat of course simply made worse the state of affairs in
general, and the Six Nations, who had hitherto been quiet, became
uneasy and were kept so by the ever-kind incitement of the English.
Various mediations with these powerful tribes failed; but Colonel
Pickering, appointed a special commissioner, managed at last to
appease their discontents. To the southward also the Cherokees began
to move and threaten, but were pacified by the exertions of Governor
Blount of the Southwest Territory. Meantime an act had been passed to
increase the army, and Arthur St. Clair was appointed major-general.
Washington, who had been greatly disturbed by the failure of Harmer,
was both angered and disheartened by the conduct of the States and of
the frontier settlers. "Land-jobbing, the intermeddling of the States,
and the disorderly conduct of the borderers, who were indifferent as
to the killing of an Indian," were in his opinion the great obstacles
in the way of success. Yet these very men who shot Indians at sight
and plundered them of their lands, as well as the States immediately
concerned, were the first to cry out for aid from the general
government when a war, brought about usually by their own violation of
the treaties of the United States, was upon them. On the other hand,
the Indians themselves were warlike and quarrelsome, and they were
spurred on by England and Spain in a way difficult to understand at
the present day.

In all this perplexity, however, one thing was now clear to
Washington. There could not longer be any doubt that the western
troubles must be put down vigorously and by the armed hand. Even while
he was negotiating in the north and south, therefore, he threw himself
heart and soul into the preparation of St. Clair's expedition, pushing
forward all necessary arrangements, and planning the campaign with a
care and foresight made possible by his military ability and by his
experience as an Indian fighter. While the main army was thus
getting ready, two lesser expeditions, one under Scott and one under
Wilkinson, were sent into the Indian country; but beyond burning some
deserted villages and killing a few stray savages both were fruitless.

At last all was ready. St. Clair had an interview with Washington, in
which the whole plan of campaign was gone over, and especial warning
given against ambuscades. He then took his departure at once for the
west, and late in September left Cincinnati with some two thousand
men. The plan of campaign was to build a line of forts, and
accordingly one named Fort Hamilton was erected twenty-four miles
north on the Miami, and then Fort Jefferson was built forty-four miles
north of that point. Thence St. Clair pushed slowly on for twenty-nine
miles until he reached the head-waters of the Wabash. He had been
joined on the march by some Kentucky militia, who were disorderly
and undisciplined. Sixty of them promptly deserted, and it became
necessary to send a regiment after them to prevent their plundering
the baggage trains. At the same time some Chickasaw auxiliaries, with
the true rat instinct, deserted and went home. Nevertheless St. Clair
kept on, and finally reached what proved to be his last camp, with
about fourteen hundred men. The militia were on one side of the
stream, the regulars on the other. At sunrise the next day the
Indians surprised the militia, drove them back on the other camp, and
shattered the first line of the regulars. The second line stood their
ground, and a desperate fight ensued; but it was all in vain. The
Indians charged up to the guns, and, though they were repulsed by the
bayonet, St. Clair, who was ill in his tent, was at last forced to
order a retreat. The retreat soon became a rout, and the broken army,
leaving their artillery and throwing away their arms, fled back to
Fort Jefferson, where they left their wounded, and hurried on to their
starting-point at Fort Washington. It was Braddock over again. General
Butler, the second in command, was killed on the field, while the
total loss reached nine hundred men and fifty-nine officers, and of
these six hundred were killed. The Indians do not appear to have
numbered much more than a thousand. No excuse for such a disaster and
such murderous slaughter is possible, for nothing but the grossest
carelessness could have permitted a surprise of that nature upon
an established camp. The troops, too, were not only surprised, but
apparently utterly unprepared to fight, and the battle was merely a
wild struggle for life.

Washington was above all things a soldier, and his heart was always
with his armies whenever he had one in the field. In this case
particularly he hoped much, for he looked to this powerful expedition
to settle the Indian troubles for a time, and give room for that
great western movement which always was in his thoughts. He therefore
awaited reports from St. Clair with keen anxiety, but in this case
the ill tidings did not attain their proverbial speed. The battle was
fought on November 4, and it was not until the close of a December
day that the officer carrying dispatches from the frontier reached
Philadelphia. He rode at once to the President's house, and Washington
was called out from dinner, where he had company. He remained away
some time, and on returning to the table said nothing as to what
he had heard, talked with every one at Mrs. Washington's reception
afterwards, and gave no sign. Through all the weary evening he was as
calm and courteous as ever. When the last guest had gone he walked up
and down the room for a few minutes and then suddenly broke out:
"It's all over--St. Clair's defeated--routed; the officers nearly all
killed, the men by wholesale; the rout complete--too shocking to think
of--and a surprise into the bargain." He paused and strode up and down
the room; stopped again and burst forth in a torrent of indignant
wrath: "Here on this very spot I took leave of him; I wished him
success and honor; 'You have your instructions,' I said, 'from the
secretary of war; I had a strict eye to them, and will add but one
word--Beware of a surprise! I repeat it--_beware of a surprise_! You
know how the Indians fight us.' He went off with that as my last
solemn warning thrown into his ears. And yet, to suffer that army to
be cut to pieces, hacked, butchered, tomahawked, by a surprise, the
very thing I guarded him against! O God, O God, he's worse than a
murderer! How can he answer it to his country! The blood of the slain
is upon him, the curse of widows and orphans, the curse of Heaven!"

His secretary was appalled and silent, while Washington again strode
fiercely up and down the room. Then he sat down, collected himself,
and said, "This must not go beyond this room." Then a long silence.
Then, "General St. Clair shall have justice. I looked hastily through
the dispatches, saw the whole disaster, but not all the particulars;
I will receive him without displeasure; I will hear him without
prejudice; he shall have full justice." The description of this scene
by an eye-witness has been in print for many years, and yet we find
people who say that Washington was cold of heart and lacking in human
sympathy. What could be more intensely human than this? What a warm
heart is here, and what a lightning glimpse of a passionate nature
bursting through silence into burning speech! Then comes the iron will
which has mastered all the problems of his life. "He shall have full
justice;" and St. Clair had justice. He had been an unfortunate
choice, but as a Revolutionary soldier and governor of the Northwest
Territory his selection had been natural. He had never been a
successful general, for it was not in him to be so. Something he
lacked, energy, decision, foresight, it matters not what. But at least
he was brave. Broken by sickness, he had displayed the utmost personal
courage on that stricken field; and for this Washington would always
forgive much. He received the unfortunate general kindly. He could not
order a court martial, for there were no officers of sufficient rank
to form one; but he gave St. Clair every opportunity for vindication,
and a committee of Congress investigated the campaign and exculpated
the leader. His personal bravery saved him and his reputation, but
nothing can alter the fact that the surprise was unpardonable and the
disaster awful.

Immediate results of the St. Clair defeat were not so bad as might
have been expected. Panic, of course, ran rampant along the frontier,
reaching even to Pittsburg; but the Indians failed to follow up
their advantage, and did not come. Still the alarm was there, and
Pennsylvania and Virginia ordered troops to be raised, while Congress
also took action. Another increase of the army was ordered, with
consequent increase of appropriation, so that this Indian victory
entered at this point into the great current of the financial policy,
and thus played its part in the events on which parties were dividing,
and history was being made.

No matter what happened, however, there was to be neither lingering
nor delay in this business. The President set to work at once to
organize a fresh army, and fight out a settlement of the troubles. His
first thought for a new commander was of Henry Lee of Virginia, but
considerations of rank deterred him. He then selected and appointed
Wayne, who recently had got into politics and been deprived, on a
contested election, of his seat in the House. No little grumbling
ensued over this appointment, especially in Virginia, but it was
unheeded by the President, and its causes now are not very clear.
The event proved the wisdom of the choice, as so often happened with
Washington, and it is easy to see the reason for it. Wayne was one
of the shining figures of our Revolution, appealing strongly to the
imagination of posterity. He was not a great general in the highest
sense, but he was a brilliant corps-commander, capable of daring feats
of arms like the storming of Stony Point. He was capable also of
dashing with heedless courage into desperate places, and incurring
thereby defeat and consequent censure, but escaping entire ruin
through the same quickness of action which had involved him in
trouble. He was well fitted for the bold and rapid movement
required in Indian warfare, and with him Washington put well-chosen
subordinates, selected evidently for their fighting capacity, for he
clearly was determined that this should be at all events a fighting

Wayne, after his appointment, betook himself to Pittsburg, and
proceeded with characteristic energy to raise and organize his army,
a work of no little difficulty because he wished to have picked men.
Washington did all that could be done to help him, and at the same
time pushed negotiations with admirable patience, but with very
varying success. Kirkland brought chiefs of the Six Nations to
Congress with good results, and the Cherokees were pacified by
additional presents. On the other hand, the Creeks were restless,
stirred up always by Spain, and two brave officers, sent to try
for peace with the western tribes, were murdered in cold blood.
Nevertheless, treaties were patched up with some of them, and a great
council was held in the fall of 1792, the Six Nations acting as
mediators, which resulted in a badly kept armistice, but in nothing of
lasting value. The next year Congress passed a general act regulating
trade and intercourse with the Indians, and Washington appointed yet
another commission to visit the northwestern tribes, more to
satisfy public opinion than with any hope of peace. Indeed, these
commissioners never succeeded in even meeting the Indians, who
rejected in advance all proposals which would not concede the Ohio as
the boundary. English influence, it was said, was at the bottom of
this demand, and there seems to be little doubt that such was the
case, for England and France were now at war, and England thereupon
had redoubled her efforts to injure the United States by every sort of
petty outrage both on sea and land. This masterly policy had perhaps
reasons for its existence which pass beyond the average understanding,
but, so far as any one can now discover, it seems to have had no
possible motive except to feed an ancient grudge and drive the country
into the arms of France. Carried on for a long time in secret,
this Indian intrigue came to the surface in a speech made by Lord
Dorchester to the western tribes, in which he prophesied a speedy
rupture with the United States and urged his hearers to continue war.
It is worth remembering that for five years, covertly or openly,
England did her best to keep an Indian war with all that it implied
alive upon our borders,--the borders of a friendly nation with whom
she was at peace.

But while Washington persistently negotiated, he as persistently
prepared to fight, not trusting overmuch either the savages or the
English. Wayne, with similar views, moved his army forward in the
autumn of 1793 to a point six miles beyond Fort Jefferson, and then
went into winter quarters. Early in the spring of 1794 he was in
motion again and advanced to St. Clair's battlefield, where he built
Fort Recovery, and where he was attacked by the Indians, whom he
repulsed after two days' fighting. He then marched in an unexpected
direction and struck the central villages at the junction of the Au
Glaize and Maumee. The surprised savages fled, and Wayne burned their
village, laid waste their extensive fields, and built Fort Defiance.
To the Indians, who had retreated thirty miles down the Maumee to the
shelter of a British post, he sent word that he was ready to treat.
The reply came back asking for a delay of ten days; but Wayne at once
advanced, and found the Indians prepared for battle near the English
fort. The ground was unfavorable, especially for cavalry, but Wayne
made good arrangements and attacked. The Indians gave way before the
bayonet, and were completely routed, the American loss being only one
hundred and seven men. The army was not averse to storming the English
fort; but Wayne, with unusual caution, contented himself with a sharp
correspondence with the commandant, and then withdrew after a most
successful campaign. The next year, strengthened by his victory and by
the surrender of the British posts under the Jay treaty, Wayne made
a treaty with the western tribes by which vast tracts of disputed
territory were ceded to the United States, and peace was established
in that long troubled region.

On the southern frontier there were no such fortunate results. While
Washington was negotiating and fighting in the north and west, all
his patient efforts were frustrated in the south by the conduct of
Georgia. The borderers kept assailing the Indians, peaceful tribes
being generally chosen for the purpose; and the State itself broke
through and disregarded all treaties and all arrangements made by the
United States. The result was constant disquiet and chronic war, with
the usual accompaniments of fire, murder, and pillage.

On the whole, however, when Washington left the presidency, his
Indian policy had been a marked success. In place of uncertainty and
weakness, a definite general system had been adopted. The northern
and western tribes had been beaten and pacified, and the southern
incursions and disorders had been much checked. The British posts, the
most dangerous centres of Indian intrigue, had been abandoned, and the
great regions of the west and northwest had been opened to the tide of
settlement. These results were due to a well-defined plan, and above
all to the persistent vigor which pushed steadily forward to its
object without swinging, as had been done before, between feverish and
often misdirected activity on the one side and complete and
feeble inaction on the other. They were achieved, too, amid many
difficulties, for there was anything but a unanimous support of the
government in its Indian affairs. The opposition grumbled at the
expense, and said that money needlessly raised by taxation was
squandered in Indian wars, while the great body of the people, living
safely along the eastern coast, thought but little about the frontier.
Some persons took the sentimental view and considered the government
barbarous to make causeless war. Others believed that altogether
too much of the public time and money were wasted in looking after
outlying settlements. The borderers themselves, on the other hand,
thought that the general government was in league with the savages,
and broke through treaties, and destroyed so far as they could the
national policy. St. Clair was hissed and jeered as he traveled home,
but a wakeful opposition turned from the unsuccessful general to a
vain attempt to prove that ambushed savages and sleeping sentries were
due to a weak war department and a corrupt and inefficient treasury.
The mass of moderate people, no doubt, desired tranquillity on the
frontier, and sustained the President's labors for that end, but for
the most part they were silent. The voices that Washington heard most
loudly joined in a discordant chorus of disapproval around his Indian
policy. No one understood that here was an important part of a scheme
to build up a nation, to make all the movements of the United States
broad and national, and to open the vast west to the people who were
to make it theirs. Washington heard all the criticism and saw all the
opposition, and still pressed forward to his goal, not attaining all
he wished, but fighting in a very clear and manful spirit, and not
laboring in vain.

The Indian question in its management touched, as has been seen, at
various points our financial policy and our foreign relations, on
which the history of the country really turned in those years. The
latter had not risen to their later importance when the government
began, but the former was knocking importunately at the door of
Congress when it first assembled. The condition of affairs is soon
told. The Revolution narrowly escaped shipwreck on the financial
reefs, and the shaky government of the confederation had there gone to
pieces. The country, as a political organism, was bankrupt. It owed
sums of money, which were vast in amount for those days, both at
home and abroad, and it could not pay these debts, nor was there any
provision for them. All interest was in arrears, there were no means
provided for meeting it, and the national credit everywhere was
dishonored and gone. The continental currency had disappeared, and the
circulating medium was represented by a confused jumble of foreign
coins and worthless scrip. Many of the States were up to their eyes in
schemes of inflation, paper money, and repudiation. There was no money
in the treasury to pay the ordinary charges of government; there was
no revenue and no policy for raising one, or for funding the debt.
This picture is darkly drawn, but it is not exaggerated. That high
spirit of public honor, which seventy-five years later rose above the
ravages of war and the temptings of dishonesty to pay the debt and the
interest, dollar for dollar in gold, seemed in 1789 to be wellnigh
extinct. But it was not dead. It was confused and overclouded in the
minds of the people, but it was still there, and it was strong, clear,
and determined in Washington and those who followed him.

Congress grappled with the financial difficulties in the most
courageous and honest way, but it struggled with them rather
helplessly despite its good disposition. It could lay taxes in one way
or another so as to get money, but this was plainly insufficient. It
could not formulate a coherent policy, which was the one essential
thing, nor could it settle the thousand and one perplexing questions
which hedged the subject on every side. The members turned, therefore,
with a sigh of relief to the new Secretary of the Treasury, asked him
the questions which were troubling them, and having directed him to
make various reports, adjourned.

The result is well known. The great statesman to whom the task was
confided assumed it with the boldness and ease of conscious power,
and when Congress reassembled it listened to the first report on
the public credit. In that great state paper all the confusions
disappeared, and in terse sentences an entire scheme for funding the
debt, disposing of the worthless currency, and raising the necessary
revenue came out clear and distinct, so that all men could comprehend
it. The provision for the foreign debt passed without resistance. That
for the domestic debt excited much debate, and also passed. Last came
the assumption of the state debts, and over that there sprang up
a fierce struggle. It was carried by a narrow majority, and then
defeated by the votes of the North Carolina members, who had just
taken their seats. Washington strongly favored this hotly contested
measure. He defended it in a letter to David Stuart, and again
to Jefferson, at a later time, when that statesman was trying to
undermine Hamilton by wailing about a "corrupt squadron" in Congress.

To Washington, assumption seemed as obviously just as it does to
posterity. All the debts had been incurred in a common cause, he said,
why should they not be cared for by the common government? He had
no patience with the sectional argument that assumption was unfair,
because some States got more out of it than others. Some States had
suffered more than others, but all shared in the freedom that had been
won.[1] He saw in it, moreover, as Hamilton had seen, something far
more important than a mere provision for the debts and for the payment
of money to this community or to that. Assumption was essentially a
union measure. The other debts were incurred by the central government
directly, but the state debts were incurred by the States for a common
cause. If the United States assumed them, it showed to the people and
to the world that there were no state lines when the interests of the
whole country were involved. It was therefore a national measure, a
breeder of national sentiment, a new bond to fasten the States to each
other and to the Union. This was enough to assure Washington's hearty
approval; but the measure was saved and carried finally by the famous
arrangement between Hamilton and Jefferson, which took the capital
to the Potomac and made the war debts of the States a part of the
national debt. Washington was more than satisfied with this solution,
for both sides of the agreement pleased him, and there was nothing in
the compromise which meant sacrifice on his part. He rejoiced in
the successful adoption of the great financial policy of his
administration, and he was much pleased to have the capital, in which
he was intensely interested, placed near to his own Mount Vernon, in
the very region he would have selected if he had had the power of
fixing it.

[Footnote 1: Sparks, _Writings of Washington_, x. 98.]

The next great step in the development of the financial policy was the
establishment of the national bank, and on this there arose another
bitter contest in Congress and in the newspapers. A sharp opposition
had developed by this time, and the supporters of the Secretary of the
Treasury became on their side correspondingly ardent. In this debate
much stress was laid on the constitutional point that Congress had no
power to charter a bank. Nevertheless, the bill passed and went to the
President, with the constitutional doubts following it and pressed
home in this last resort. As has been seen from his letters written
just after the Philadelphia convention, Washington was not a blind
worshiper of the Constitution which he had helped so largely to make;
but he believed it would work, and every day confirmed his belief. He
felt, moreover, that one great element of its lasting success lay
in creating a genuine reverence for it among the people, and it was
therefore of the utmost importance that this reverence should begin
among those to whom the management of the government had been
intrusted. For this reason he exercised a jealous care in everything
touching the organic law of the Union, and he was peculiarly sensitive
to constitutional objections to any given measure. In the case of the
national bank, the objections were strongly as well as vigorously
urged, and Washington paused, before signing, to the utmost limit of
the time allowed. He turned to Jefferson and Randolph, both opposed
to the bill, and asked them for their objections to its
constitutionality. They gave him in response two able reports. These
he sent to Hamilton, who returned them with that most masterly
argument, in which he not only defended the bank charter, but
vindicated, in a manner never afterwards surpassed, the new doctrine
of the implied powers of the Constitution. With both sides thus before
him, Washington considered the question, and signed the bill.

Rives, in his "Life of Madison," intimates that Washington had doubts
even after signing, but of this there is no evidence of any weight. He
was not a man who indulged in doubts after he had made up his mind and
rendered a decision, and it was not in his nature to fret over what
had been done and was past, whether in war or peace. The story that he
was worried about his action in this instance arose from his delay in
signing, and from the disappointment of those who had hoped much
from his hesitation. This pause, however, was both natural and
characteristic. Washington had approved Morris's bank policy in the
Revolution, and remembered the service it rendered. He was familiar
with Hamilton's views on the subject, and knew that they were the
result of long study and careful thought. He must also have known that
any financial policy devised by his Secretary of the Treasury would
contain as an integral part a national bank. There can be no doubt
that both the plan for the bank and the report which embodied it were
submitted to him before they went in to Congress, but the violence of
the objections raised there on constitutional grounds awakened
his attention in a new direction. He saw at once the gravity of a
question, which involved not merely the incorporation of a bank,
but which opened up a new field of constitutional powers and
constitutional construction. When such far-reaching results were
involved he paused and reflected, and, as was always the case with him
under such circumstances, listened to and examined all the arguments
on both sides. This done he decided, and with his national feeling
he could not have decided otherwise than he did. The doctrine of the
implied powers of the Constitution was the greatest weapon possible
for those whose leading thought was to develop the union of States
into a great and imperial nation; and we may well believe that it was
this feeling, and not merely faith in the bank as a financial engine,
which led Washington to sign the bill. When he did so he assented to
the charter of a national bank, but he also assented to the doctrine
of the implied powers and gave to that far-reaching construction of
the Constitution the great weight of his name and character. It was,
perhaps, the most important single act of his presidency.

It is impossible here, even were it necessary, to follow Washington's
action in regard to all the details which went to make up and to
sustain Hamilton's policy, to which, as a whole, Washington gave his
hearty approval and support. The revenue system, the public lands,
the arrangement of loans, the mint, all alike met with his active
concurrence. He was too great a man not to value rightly Hamilton's
work, and the way in which that work brought order, credit, honor, and
prosperity out of a chaos of debt and bankruptcy appealed peculiarly
to his own love for method, organization, and sound business
principles. He met every criticism on Hamilton's policy without
concession, and defended it when it was attacked. To Hamilton's genius
that policy must be credited, but it gained its success and strength
largely from the firm support of Washington.

There are two matters, however, connected with the Treasury
Department, which cannot be passed over in this general way. One was
a policy reasoned out and published by Hamilton, but never during his
lifetime put into the form of law in the broad and systematic manner
which he desired. The other was a consequence of his financial policy
as adopted, but which reached far beyond the bounds of financial
arrangements. The first was the policy set forth in Hamilton's Report
on Manufactures. The second was the enforcement of the excise and its

The defense of our commerce against foreign discriminations was a
proximate cause of the movement which resulted in the Constitution of
the United States, and closely allied to it was the anxious wish to
develop our internal resources and our domestic industry. This idea
was not at all new. Sporadic attempts to start and carry on various
industries had been made during the colonial period. They had all
failed, either because the watchful mother-country took pains to
stifle them, or because lack of capital and experience, in addition to
foreign competition, killed them almost at their birth. The idea of
developing American industries was generally diffused for the
first time when the colonists strove to bring England to terms by
non-intercourse acts. The Americans then thought that they could carry
their points by making war upon the British pocket, and excluding
English merchants from their markets. The next step, of course, was
to supply their own markets themselves; and the non-intercourse
agreements, which were economically prohibitory tariff acts, gave a
fitful impulse to various simple industries. In the clash of arms this
idea naturally dropped out of the popular mind, but it began to revive
soon after the return of peace. The government of the confederation
was too feeble to adopt any policy in this or any other matter, but
in the first Congress the desire to develop American industries found
expression. The first tariff was laid primarily to raise the revenue
so sorely needed at that moment. But the effort to do this gave rise
to a debate in which the policy of protection, strongly advocated by
the Pennsylvanian members, was freely discussed. Nobody, however, at
that time, had any comprehensive plan or general system, so that the
efforts for protection were incoherent, and resulted only in certain
special protective features in the tariff bill, and not in a broad
and well-rounded measure. Still the protective idea was there; it was
recognized in the preamble of the act, and the constitutionality of
the policy was affirmed by the framers and contemporaries of the

Hamilton, of course, watched all these movements intently. His guiding
thought in all things was the creation of a great nation. For this he
strove for national unity and national sentiment, and he saw of course
that one essential condition of national greatness was industrial
independence, in addition to the political independence already won.
One of the greatest thinkers of the time on all matters of public
finance and political economy, he perceived at once that the irregular
attempts of Congress to encourage home industries could have at best
but partial results. He saw that a system broad, just, and continental
in its scope must take the place of the isolated industries which
now and again obtained an uncertain protection under the haphazard
measures of Congress. With these views and purposes he wrote and sent
to Congress his Report on Manufactures. In that great state paper he
made an argument in behalf of protection, as applied to the United
States and to the development of home industries, which has never been
overthrown. The system which he proposed was imperial in its range and
national in its design, like everything that proceeded from Hamilton's
mind. He argued, of course, with reference to existing economic
conditions, and in behalf only of what he then sought,--industrial
independence and the establishment and diversification of industries.
The social side of the question, which to-day overshadows all others,
was not visible a hundred years ago. The Report, however, bore no
immediate fruit, and Hamilton had been in his grave for years before
the country turned from this practice of accidental protection, and
tried to replace it by a broad, coherent system as set forth by the
great Secretary.

But although it had no result at the moment, the Report on
Manufactures, which laid the foundation of the American protective
system, and which has so powerfully influenced American political
thought, was one of the very greatest events of Washington's
administration. To trace its effects and history through the
succeeding century would be wholly out of place here. All that
concerns us is Washington's relation to this far-reaching policy of
his Secretary. If we had not a word or a line on the subject from his
pen, we should still know that the policy of Hamilton was his policy
too, for Washington was the head of his own administration, and was
responsible and meant to be responsible for all its acts and policies.
With his keen foresight he saw the full import of the Report on
Manufactures, and we may be sure that when it went forth it was with
his full and cordial approval, and after that minute consideration
which he gave to all public questions. But we are not left to
inference. We have Washington's views and feelings on this matter set
forth again and again, and they show that the principle of the Report
on Manufactures was as near and dear to him, and as full of meaning,
as it was to Hamilton.

Washington was brought up and had lived all his life under a system
which came as near as possible to the ideal of the modern free-trader.
The people of Virginia were devoted almost entirely to a single
interest, tobacco-growing, that being the occupation in which they
could most profitably engage. No legislative artifices had been
employed to enable them to diversify their industries or to establish
manufactures. They bought in the cheapest market every luxury and
most of the necessities of life. British merchants supplied all their
wants, carried their tobacco, and advanced them money. Cheap labor, a
single staple with wide fluctuations of value, a credit system, entire
dependence on foreigners, and absolute free trade according to the
Manchester theories, should have produced an earthly paradise. As a
matter of fact, the Virginia planters had little ready money and were
deeply in debt. Bankruptcy, as has been already said, seems to have
come to them about once in a generation. The land, rapidly exhausted
by tobacco, was prodigally wasted, and the general prosperity
declined. Washington, with his strong sense and perfect business
methods, personally escaped most of these evils, but he saw the
mischief of the system all the more clearly. It was bad enough in
his time, but he did not live to see Virginia with her wasted and
exhausted lands stand still, while her sister States to the north
passed her with giant strides in the race for wealth and population.
He did not live to see her become, as a result of her colonial system,
a mere breeder of slaves for the plantations of the Gulf States. But
he saw enough, and the lesson taught him by the results of industrial
dependence was well learned.

When the war came and he was carrying the terrible burden of the
Revolution, he learned the same lesson in a new and more bitter way.
Nothing went so near to wreck the American cause as lack of all the
supplies by which war was carried on, for the United States produced
little or nothing of what was then needed. The resources of the
northern colonies were soon exhausted, and the South had none. Powder,
cannon, muskets, clothing, medical stores, all were lacking, and the
fate of the nation hung trembling in the balance on account of the
dependence in which the colonies had been kept by the skillful policy
of England. These were teachings that a lesser man than Washington
would have taken to heart and pondered deeply. In the midst of the
struggle he wrote to James Warren (March 31, 1779): "Let vigorous
measures be adopted, ... to punish speculators, forestallers, and
extortioners, and, above all, to sink the money by heavy taxes,
to promote public and private economy, and _to encourage
manufactures_.[1] Measures of this sort, gone heartily into by the
several States, would strike at once at the root of all our evils,
and give the _coup de grâce_ to the British hope of subjugating this
continent either by their arms or their acts."

[Footnote 1: The italics are mine.]

To Lafayette he wrote in 1789: "Though I would not force the
introduction of manufactures by extravagant encouragements and to the
prejudice of agriculture, yet I conceive much might be done in
that way by women, children, and others, without taking one really
necessary hand from tilling the earth. Certain it is, great savings
are already made in many articles of apparel, furniture, and
consumption. Equally certain it is, that no diminution in agriculture
has taken place at this time, when greater and more substantial
improvements in manufactures are making than were ever before known in

In the same year he wrote to Governor Randolph, favoring bounties, the
strongest form of protection; and this encouragement he wished to have
given to that industry which a hundred years later has been held up as
one of the least deserving of all that have received the assistance of
legislation. He said in this letter: "From the original letter, which
I forward herewith, your Excellency will comprehend the nature of a
proposal for introducing and establishing the woolen manufacture
in the State of Virginia. In the present stage of population and
agriculture, I do not pretend to determine how far that plan may be
practicable and advisable; or, in case it should be deemed so, whether
any or what public encouragement ought to be given to facilitate
its execution. _I have, however, no doubt as to the good policy
of increasing the number of sheep in every state_.[1] By a little
legislative encouragement the farmers of Connecticut have, in two
years past, added one hundred thousand to their former stock. If a
greater quantity of wool could be produced, and if the hands which are
often in a manner idle could be employed in manufacturing it, a spirit
of industry might be promoted, a great diminution might be made in
the annual expenses of individual families, and the public would
eventually be exceedingly benefited." The only hesitation is as to the
time of applying the policy. There is no doubt as to the wisdom of the
policy itself, of giving protection and encouragement in every proper
legislative form to domestic industry.

[Footnote 1: The italics are mine.]

In his first speech to Congress he recommended measures for the
advancement of manufactures, having already affixed his signature to
the bill which declared their encouragement to be one of its objects.
At the same time he wrote, in reply to an address: "The promotion
of domestic manufactures will, in my conception, be among the first
consequences which may naturally be expected to flow from an energetic
government." In 1791 he consulted Hamilton as to the advisability of
urging Congress to offer bounties for the culture of cotton and hemp,
his only doubts being as to the power of the general government in
this respect, and as to the temper of the time in regard to such an
expenditure of public money. The following year Hamilton's Report
on Manufactures was given to the country, finally establishing the
position of the administration as to our economic policy.

The general drift of legislation, although it was not systematized,
followed the direction pointed out by the administration. But this did
not satisfy Washington. In his speech to Congress, December 7, 1796,
he said: "Congress has repeatedly, and not without success, directed
their attention to the encouragement of manufactures. _The object is
of too much consequence not to insure a continuance of their efforts
in every way which shall appear eligible._"[1] He then goes on to
argue at some length that, although manufacturing on the public
account is usually inexpedient, it should be established and carried
on to supply all that was needed for the public force in time of war.
This was his last address to Congress, and his last word on this
matter was to approve the course of Congress in following the
recommendation of his first speech. All his utterances and all his
opinions on the subject were uniform. Washington had never been a
student of public finance or political economy like Hamilton, and he
lived before the days of the Manchester school and its new gospel
of procuring heaven on earth by special methods of transacting the
country's business. But Washington was a great man, a state-builder
who fought wars and founded governments. He knew that nations were
raised up and made great and efficient, and that civilization was
advanced, not by _laissez aller_ and _laissez faire_, but by much
patient human striving. He had fought and conquered, and again he had
fought and been defeated, and through all he had come to victory, and
to certain conclusive results both in peace and war. He had not done
this by sitting still and letting each man go his way, but by strong
brain and strong will, and by much organization and compulsion. He had
set his hand to the building of a nation. He had studied his country
and understood it, and with calm, far-seeing eyes he had looked
forward into the future of his people. Neither the study nor the
outlook were vain, and both told him that political independence
was only part of the work, and that national sentiment, independent
thinking, and industrial independence also must be reached. The
first two, time alone could bring. The last, wise laws could help
to produce; and so he favored protection by legislation to American
industry and manufactures, threw all his potent influence into the
scale, and gave his support to the protective policy set forth by his

[Footnote 1: The italics are mine.]

Two matters connected with the treasury, I have said, deserved
fuller consideration than a general review could give. The one just
described, the policy of the Report on Manufactures, came, as has been
seen, to no clear and immediate result. The other reached a very
sharp and definite conclusion, not without great effect on the new
government of the United States, both at the moment and in the future.
When Hamilton "struck the rock of the national resources," the stream
of revenue which he sought at the outset was that flowing from duties
on imports, for this, in his theory, was not only the first source,
but the best. He would fain have had it the only one; but the
situation drove him forward. The assumption of the state debts, a
part of the legacy of the Revolution, and the continuing and at first
increasing expenses of unavoidable Indian wars, made additional
revenue absolutely essential. He turned therefore to the excise on
domestic spirits to furnish what was needed.

Washington approved assumption. It was a measure of honesty, it would
raise the public credit, and above all, it was thoroughly national in
its operation and results. The appropriations for Indian wars he of
course approved, for their energetic prosecution was part of the
vigorous policy toward our wild neighbors upon which he was so
determined. It followed, of course, that he did not shrink from
imposing the taxes thus made necessary; and to raise the money from
domestic spirits seemed to him, under the existing exigency, to be
what it was,--thoroughly proper and reasonable both in form and

It would seem, however, that neither Washington nor Hamilton realized
the unpopularity of this mode of getting revenue. The frontier
settlers along the line of the Alleghanies in Pennsylvania, Virginia,
and North Carolina, who distilled whiskey, were not very familiar,
perhaps, with Johnson's dictionary, but they would have cordially
accepted his definition of an excise. To them it was indeed a "hateful
tax," and nothing else. In fact, the word was one disliked throughout
the States, for it brought up evil memories, and excited much jealous
hostility and prejudice. The first excise law, therefore, when it went
into force, was the signal for a general outburst of opposition; and
in the Alleghany region, as might have been expected, the resistance
was immediate and most bitter. State legislatures passed resolutions,
public meetings were held and more resolutions were passed, while
in the wilder parts of the country threats of violence were freely
uttered. All these murmurings and menaces came on the passage of the
first bill in 1791. The administration, however, had no desire to
precipitate an uncalled-for strife, and so the law was softened and
amended in the following year, the tax being lowered and the most
obnoxious features removed. The result was general acquiescence
throughout most of the States, and renewed opposition in the western
counties of Pennsylvania and North Carolina. In the former a meeting
was held denouncing the law, pledging the people to "boycott" the
officers, and hinting at forcible resistance. If the people engaged in
this business had stopped to consider the men with whom they had
to deal, they would have been saved a great deal of suffering and
humiliation. The President and his Secretary of the Treasury were not
men who could be frightened by opposition or violent speeches. But
angry frontiersmen, stirred up by demagogues, are not given to much
reflection, and they meant to have their own way.

Washington was quite clear in his policy from the beginning. He was
ready to make every proper concession, but when this was done he meant
on his side to have his own way, which was the way of law and order
and good government. He wrote to Hamilton in August, 1792: "If, after
these regulations are in operation, opposition to the due exercise of
the collection is still experienced, and peaceable procedure is no
longer effectual, the public interests and my duty will make it
necessary to enforce the laws respecting this matter; and however
disagreeable this would be to me, it must nevertheless take place."

Meantime the disorders went on, and the officers were insulted and
thwarted in the execution of their duty. Washington's next letter
(September 7) has a touch of anger. He hated disorder and riot
anywhere, but he was disgusted when they came from the very people for
whose defense the Indian war was pushed and the excise made necessary.
He approved of Hamilton's sending out an officer to examine into the
survey, and said: "If, notwithstanding, opposition is still given to
the due execution of the law, I have no hesitation in declaring, if
the evidence of it is clear and unequivocal, that I shall, however
reluctantly I exercise them, exert all the legal powers with which the
executive is invested to check so daring and unwarrantable a spirit.
It is my duty to see the laws executed. To permit them to be trampled
upon with impunity would be repugnant to it; nor can the government
longer remain a passive spectator of the contempt with which they are
treated. Forbearance, under a hope that the inhabitants of that
survey would recover from the delirium and folly into which they
were plunged, seems to have had no other effect than to increase the

A few weeks later he issued a proclamation, declaring formally and
publicly what he had already said in private. He warned the people
engaged in resistance to the law that the law would be enforced, and
exhorted them to desist. The proclamation was effective in the south,
and the opposition died out in North Carolina. Not so in Pennsylvania.
There the Scotch-Irish borderers who lived in the western counties
were bent on having their way. A brave, self-willed, hotheaded,
turbulent people, they were going to have their fight out. They
had ridden rough-shod over the Quaker and German government in
Pennsylvania before this, and they no doubt thought they could do the
same with this new government of the United States. They merely made a
mistake about the man at the head of the government; nothing more than
that. Such mistakes have been made before. The Paris mob, for example,
made a similar blunder on the 13th Vendémiaire, when Bonaparte settled
matters by the famous whiff of grape-shot. There is some excuse for
the error of our Scotch-Irish borderers in their past experience, more
excuse still in the drift of other events that touched all men just
then with the madness of France, and gave birth to certain democratic
societies which applauded any resistance to law, even if the cause was
no nobler than a whiskey still.

Perhaps, too, the Pennsylvanians were encouraged by the moderation
and deliberate movement of the government. A lull came after the
proclamation of 1792. Then every effort was made to settle the
troubles by civil processes and by personal negotiation, but all
proved vain. The disturbances went on increasing for two years, until
law was at an end in the insurgent counties. The mails were stopped
and robbed, there were violence, bloodshed, rioting, attacks on the
officers of the United States, and meetings threatening still worse

Meanwhile Washington had waited and watched, and bided his time. He
felt now that the moment had come when, if ever, public opinion must
be with him, and that the hour had arrived when he must put his
fortune to the touch, and "try if it were current gold indeed." On
August 7 he issued a second proclamation, setting forth the outrages
committed, and announcing his power to call out the militia, and his
intention to do so if unconditional submission did not follow at once.
As he wrote to a friend three days later: "Actual rebellion exists
against the laws of the United States." On the crucial point, however,
he felt safe. He was confident that all the public opinion worth
having was now on his side, and that the people were ready to stand by
the government. The quick and unconditional submission did not come,
and on September 25 he issued a third proclamation, reciting the facts
and calling out the militia of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and

Washington had judged rightly. The States responded, and the troops
came to the number of fifteen thousand, for he was in the habit of
doing things thoroughly, and meant to have an overwhelming force.
To Governor Lee of Virginia the command of the combined forces was
intrusted. "I am perfectly in sentiment with you, that the
business we are drawn out upon should be effectually executed,
and that the daring and factious spirit which threatens to
overturn the laws and to subvert the Constitution ought to be
subdued." Thus he wrote to Morgan, while the commissioners from the
insurgents were politely received, and told that the march of the
troops could not be countermanded. Washington would fain have gone
himself, in command of the army, but he felt that he could not leave
the seat of government for so long a time with propriety. He went as
far as Bedford with the troops, and then parted from them. When he
took leave, he wrote a letter to Lee, to be read to the army, in which
he said: "No citizen of the United States can ever be engaged in a
service more important to their country. It is nothing less than to
consolidate and to preserve the blessings of that revolution which
at much expense of blood and treasure constituted us a free and
independent nation." Thus admonished, the army marched, Hamilton going
with them in characteristic fashion to the end. They did their work
thoroughly. The insurrection disappeared, and resistance dropped
suddenly out of sight. The Scotch-Irish of the border, with all their
love of fighting, found too late that they were dealing with a power
very different from that of their own State. The ringleaders of the
insurrection were arrested and tried by civil process, the disorders
ceased, law reigned once more, and the "hateful tax" was duly paid and

The "Whiskey Rebellion" has never received due weight in the history
of the United States. Its story has been told in the utmost detail,
but its details are unimportant. As a fact, however, it is full of
meaning, and this meaning has been too much overlooked. That this
should be so, is not to be wondered at, for everything has conspired
to make it seem, after a century has gone by, both mean and trivial.
Its very name suggests ridicule and contempt, and it collapsed so
utterly that people laughed at it and despised it. Its leaders, with
the exception of Gallatin, were cheap and talkative persons of
little worth, and the cause itself was neither noble, romantic, nor
inspiriting. Nevertheless, it was a dangerous and formidable business,
for it was the first direct challenge to the new government. It was
the first clear utterance of the stern question asked of every people
striving to live as a nation, Have you a right to live? Have you a
government able to fight and to endure? Have you men ready to take up
the challenge? These questions were put by rough frontier settlers,
and put in the name and for the sake of distilling whiskey unvexed by
law. But they were there, they had to be answered, and on the reply
the existence of the government was at stake. If it failed, all was
over. If the States did not respond to this first demand, that they
should put down disorder and dissension within the borders of one of
their number, the experiment had failed. It came, as it almost always
does come, to one man to make the answer. That man took up the
challenge. He did not move too soon. He waited with unerring judgment,
as Lincoln waited with the Proclamation of Emancipation, until he had
gathered public opinion behind him by his firmness and moderation.
Then he struck, and struck so hard that the whole fabric of
insurrection and riot fell helplessly to pieces, and wiseacres looked
on and laughed, and thought it had been but a slight matter after all.
The action of the government vindicated the right of the United States
to live, because they had proved themselves able to keep order. It
showed to the American people that their government was a reality
of force and power. If it had gone wrong, the history of the United
States would not have differed widely from that of the confederation.
No mistake was made, and people regarded the whole thing as an
insignificant incident, and historians treat it as an episode. There
could be no greater tribute to the strong and silent man who did the
work and bore the stress of waiting for nearly five years. He did his
duty so well and so completely that it seems nothing now, and yet the
crushing of that insurrection in the western counties of Pennsylvania
was one of the turning-points in a nation's life.



Our present relations with foreign nations fill as a rule but a slight
place in American politics, and excite generally only a languid
interest, not nearly so much as their importance deserves. We have
separated ourselves so completely from the affairs of other people
that it is difficult to realize how commanding and disproportionate a
place they occupied when the government was founded. We were then a
new nation, and our attitude toward the rest of the world was wholly
undefined. There was, therefore, among the American people much
anxiety to discover what that attitude would be, for the unknown is
always full of interest. Moreover, Europe was still our neighbor, for
England, France, and Spain were all upon our borders, and had large
territorial interests in the northern half of the New World. Within
fifteen years we had been colonies, and all our politics, except those
which were purely local and provincial, had been the politics of
Europe; for during the eighteenth century we had been drawn into and
had played a part in every European complication, and every European
war in which England had the slightest share. Thus the American people
came to consider themselves a part of the European system, and looked
to Europe for their politics, which was a habit of thought both
natural and congenial to colonists. We ceased to be colonists when
the Treaty of Paris was signed; but treaties, although they settle
boundaries and divide nations, do not change customs and habits of
thought by a few strokes of the pen. The free and independent people
of the United States, as there has already been occasion to point out,
when they set out to govern themselves under their new Constitution,
were still dominated by colonial ideas and prejudices. They felt,
no doubt, that the new system would put them in a more respectable
attitude toward the other nations of the earth. But this was probably
the only definite popular notion on the subject. What our actual
relations with other nations should be, was something wholly vague,
and very varying ideas were entertained about it by communities and
by individuals, according to their various prejudices, opinions, and

The one idea, however, that the American people did not have on this
subject was, that they should hold themselves entirely aloof from the
politics of the Old World, and have with other nations outside the
Americas no relations except those born of commerce. It had not
occurred to them that they should march steadily forward on a course
which would drive out European governments, and sever the connections
of those governments with the North American continent. After a
century's familiarity, this policy looks so simple and obvious that
it is difficult to believe that our forefathers could even have
considered any other seriously; but in 1789 it was so strange that no
one dreamed of it, except perhaps a few thinkers speculating on the
future of the infant nation. It was something so novel that when
it was propounded it struck the people like a sudden shock of
electricity. It was so broad, so national, so thoroughly American,
that men still struggling in the fetters of colonial thought could not
comprehend it. But there was one man to whom it was neither strange
nor speculative. To Washington it was not a vague idea, but a
well-defined system, which he had been long maturing in his mind.

Before he had been chosen President, he wrote to Sir Edward Newenham:
"I hope the United States of America will be able to keep disengaged
from the labyrinth of European politics and wars; and that before long
they will, by the adoption of a good national government, have become
respectable in the eyes of the world, so that none of the maritime
powers, especially none of those who hold possessions in the New
World or the West Indies, shall presume to treat them with insult or
contempt. It should be the policy of the United States to administer
to their wants without being engaged in their quarrels. And it is
not in the power of the proudest and most polite people on earth to
prevent us from becoming a great, a respectable, and a commercial
nation if we shall continue united and faithful to ourselves." This
plain statement shows his fixed belief that in an absolute breaking
with the political affairs of other peoples lay the most important
part of the work which was to make us a nation in spirit and in truth.
He carried this belief with him when he took up the Presidency, and it
was the chief burden of the last words of counsel which he gave to his
countrymen when he retired to private life. To have begun and carried
on to a firm establishment this policy of a separation from Europe
would have required time, skill, and patience even under the calmest
and most favorable conditions. But it was the fate of the new
government to be born just on the eve of the French Revolution. The
United States were at once caught up and tossed by the waves of that
terrific storm, and it was in the midst of that awful hurly-burly,
when the misdeeds of centuries of wrong-doing were brought to an
account, that Washington opened and developed his foreign policy. It
was a great task, and the manner of its performance deserves much and
serious consideration.

His first act in foreign affairs, on entering the Presidency, was to
make the minister of France understand that the government of the
United States was to be treated with due formality and respect.
His second was to examine the whole mass of foreign correspondence
collected in the State Department of the confederation, and he did
this, as has been said, pencil in hand, making notes and abstracts as
he went. It was well worth doing, for he learned much, and from this
laborious study and thorough knowledge certain facts became apparent,
for the most part of a hard and unpleasant nature. First, he saw that
England, taking advantage of our failure to fulfill completely our
obligations under the treaty, had openly violated hers, and continued
to hold the fortified posts along the northwestern and western
borders. Here was a dangerous thorn which pricked sharply, for the
posts in British hands offered constant temptations to Indian risings,
and threatened war both with the savages and with Great Britain.
Further west still, Spain held the Mississippi, closed navigation,
and intrigued to separate our western settlers from the Union. No
immediate danger lay here, but still peril and need of close watching,
for the Mississippi was never to slip out of our power. The mighty
river and the great region through which it flows were important
features in that empire which Washington foresaw. His plan was that we
should get them by binding the settlers beyond the Alleghanies to the
old States with roads, canals, and trade, and then trust to those
hardy pioneers to keep the river and its valley for themselves and
their country. All that was needed for this were time, and vigilant
firmness with Spain.

Beyond the sea were the West India Islands, the home of a commerce
long carried on by the colonies and of much profit to them, especially
to those of New England. This trade was now hampered by England, and
was soon to be still further blocked, and thereby become the cause of
much bickering and ill-will.

Across the ocean we maintained with the Barbary States the relations
usual between brigands and victims, and we tried to make treaties with
them, and really paid tribute to them, as was the fashion in dealing
with those pirates at that period. With Holland, Sweden, and Prussia
we had commercial treaties, and the Dutch sent a minister to the
United States. With France alone were our relations close. She had
been our ally, and we had formed with her a treaty of alliance and a
treaty of commerce, as well as a consular convention, which we were at
this time engaged in revising. To most of the nations of the world,
however, we were simply an unknown quantity, an unconsidered trifle.
The only people who really knew anything about us were the English,
with whom we had fought, and from whom we had separated; the French,
who had helped us to win our independence; and the Dutch, from whom
we had borrowed money. Even these nations, with so many reasons for
intelligent and profitable interest in the new republic, failed, not
unnaturally, to see the possibilities shut up in the wild American

To the young nation just starting thus unnoticed and unheeded,
Washington believed that honorable peace was essential, if a firm
establishment of the new government, and of a respectable and
respected position in the eyes of the world, was ever to be attained;
and it was toward England, therefore, as the source of most probable
trouble, that Washington turned to begin his foreign policy. The
return of John Adams had left us without a minister at London,
and England had sent no representative to the United States. The
President, therefore, authorized Gouverneur Morris, who was going
abroad on private business, to sound the English government informally
as to an exchange of ministers, the complete execution of the treaty
of peace, and the negotiation of a commercial treaty. The mission was
one of inquiry, and was born of good and generous feelings as well as
of broad and wise views of public policy. "It is in my opinion very
important," he wrote to Morris, "that we avoid errors in our system of
policy respecting Great Britain; and this can only be done by forming
a right judgment of their disposition and views."

What was the response to these fair and sensible suggestions? On the
first point the assent was ready enough; but on the other two, which
looked to the carrying out of the treaty and the making of a treaty of
commerce, there was no satisfaction. Morris, who was as high-spirited
as he was able, was irritated by the indifference and hardly concealed
insolence shown to him and his business. It was the fit beginning of
the conduct by which England for nearly a century has succeeded in
alienating the good-will of the people of the United States. Such a
policy was neither generous nor intelligent, and politically
it was a gross blunder. Washington, however, was too great
a man to be disturbed by the bad temper and narrow ideas
of English ministers. After his fashion he persevered in
what he knew to be right and for his country's interest, and in due
time a diplomatic representation was established, while later still,
in the midst of difficulties of which he little dreamed at the outset,
he carried through a treaty that removed the existing grievances. In a
word, he kept the peace, and it lasted long enough to give the United
States the breathing space they so much needed at the beginning of
their history.

The greatest perils in our foreign relations came, as it happened,
from another quarter, where peace seemed most secure, and where no man
looked for trouble. The government of the United States and the French
revolution began almost together, and it is one of the strangest facts
of history that the nation which helped so powerfully to give freedom
to America brought the results of that freedom into the gravest peril
by its own struggle for liberty. When the great movement in France
began, it was hailed in this country with general applause, and with a
sympathy as hearty as it was genuine, for every one felt that France
was now to gain all the blessings of free government with which
America was familiar. Our glorious example, it was clear, was destined
to change the world, and monarchies and despotisms were to disappear.
There was to be a new political birth for all the nations, and the
reign of peace and good-will was to come at once upon the earth at
the hands of liberated peoples freely governing themselves. It was a
natural delusion, and a kindly one. History, in the modern sense, was
still unwritten, and men did not then understand that the force and
character of a revolution are determined by the duration and intensity
of the tyranny and misgovernment which have preceded and caused it.
The vast benefit destined to flow from the French revolution was to
come many years after all those who saw it begin were in their graves,
but at the moment it was expected to arrive immediately, and in a form
widely different from that which, in the slow process of time, it
ultimately assumed. Moreover, Americans did not realize that the
well-ordered liberty of the English-speaking race was something
unknown and inconceivable to the French.

There were a few Americans who were never deceived for a moment, even
by their hopes. Hamilton, who "divined Europe," as Talleyrand said,
and Gouverneur Morris, studying the situation on the spot with keen
and practical observation, soon apprehended the truth, while others
more or less quickly followed in their wake. But Washington, whom no
one ever credited with divination, and who never crossed the Atlantic,
saw the realities of the thing sooner, and looked more deeply into the
future than anybody else. No man lived more loyal than he, or more
true to the duties of gratitude; but he looked upon the world of facts
with vision never dimmed nor dazzled, and watched in silence, while
others slept and dreamed. Let us follow his letters for a moment. In
October, 1789, in the first flush of hope and sympathy, he wrote to
Morris: "The revolution which has been effected in France is of so
wonderful a nature that the mind can hardly realize the fact. If it
ends as our last accounts to the first of August predict, that nation
will be the most powerful and happy in Europe; but I fear though it
has gone triumphantly through the first paroxysm, it is not the last
it has to encounter before matters are finally settled. In a word,
the revolution is of too great magnitude to be effected in so short
a space, and with the loss of so little blood.... To forbear running
from one extreme to another is no easy matter; and should this be the
case, rocks and shelves, not visible at present, may wreck the vessel,
and give a higher-toned despotism than the one which existed before."

Seven years afterwards, reviewing his opinions in respect to France,
he wrote to Pickering: "My conduct in public and private life, as it
relates to the important struggle in which the latter is engaged, has
been uniform from the commencement of it, and may be summed up in a
few words: that I have always wished well to the French revolution;
that I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation had a
right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another; that every
one had a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked best
to live under themselves; and that if this country could, consistently
with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby
preserve peace, it was bound to do so by motives of policy, interest,
and every other consideration that ought to actuate a people situated
as we are, already deeply in debt, and in a convalescent state from
the struggle we have been engaged in ourselves."

Thus prepared, Washington waited and saw his cautious predictions
verified, and the revolution rush headlong from one extreme to
another. He also saw the flames spread beyond the borders of France,
changing and dividing public opinion everywhere; and he knew it was
only a question of time how soon the new nation, at whose head he
stood, would be affected. Histories and biographies which treat of
that period, as a rule convey the idea that the foreign policy of our
first administration dealt with the complications that arose as they
came upon us. Nothing could be further from the truth, for the general
policy was matured at the outset, as has been seen in the letter to
Newenham, and the occasions for its application were sure to come
sooner or later, in one form or another. Washington was not surprised
by the presence of the perils that he feared, and danger only made
him more set on carrying out the policy upon which he had long since
determined. In July, 1791, he wrote to Morris: "I trust we shall never
so far lose sight of our own interest and happiness as to become
unnecessarily a party to these political disputes. Our local situation
enables us to maintain that state with respect to them which otherwise
could not, perhaps, be preserved by human wisdom." He followed this up
with a strong and concise argument as to the advantage and necessity
of this policy, showing a complete grasp of the subject, which came
from long and patient thought.

All his firmness and knowledge were needed, for the position was most
trying. With every ship that brought news of the extraordinary doings
in Europe, the applause which greeted the early uprisings of Paris
grew less general. The wise, the prudent, the conservative, cooled
gradually at first, and then more quickly in their admiration of the
French; but in the beginning, this deepening and increasing hostility
to the revolution kept silence. It was popular to be the friend of
France, and highly unpopular to be anything else. But when excesses
multiplied and blood flowed, when religion tottered and the
foundations of society were shaken, this silence was broken.
Discussion took the place of harmonious congratulation, and it soon
became apparent that there was to be a sharp and bitter division of
public opinion, growing out of the affairs of France. It was necessary
for the government to maintain a friendly yet cautious attitude toward
our former ally, and not endanger the stability of the Union and the
dignity of the country by giving to the French sympathizers any good
ground for accusing them of ingratitude, or of lukewarmness toward
the cause of human rights. That a time would soon come when decisive
action must be taken, Washington saw plainly enough; and when that
moment arrived, the risk of fierce party divisions on a question of
foreign politics could not be avoided. Meantime domestic bitterness on
these matters was to be repressed and delayed, and yet in so doing
no step was to be taken which would involve the country in any
inconsistency, or compel a change of position when the crisis was
actually reached. The policy of separating the United States from all
foreign politics is usually dated from what is called the neutrality
proclamation; but the theory, as has been pointed out, was clear and
well defined in Washington's mind when he entered upon the presidency.
The outlines were marked out and pursued in practice long before the
outbreak of war between France and England put his system to the
touch. In everything he said or wrote, whether in public or private,
his tone toward France was so friendly that her most zealous supporter
could not take offense, and at the same time it was so absolutely
guarded that the country was committed to nothing which could hamper
it in the future. The course of the administration as a whole, and its
substantive acts as well, were in harmony with the tone of expression
used by the President; for Washington, it may be repeated, was the
head of his own administration, a fact which the biographers of the
very able men who surrounded him are too prone to overlook. In this
case he was not only the leader, but the work was peculiarly his own,
and a few extracts from his letters will show the completeness of his
policy and the firmness with which he followed it whenever occasion

To Lafayette he wrote in July, 1791, a letter full of sympathy, but
with an undertone of warning none the less significant because it was
veiled. Coming to a point where there was an intimation of trouble
between the two countries, he said: "The decrees of the National
Assembly respecting our tobacco and oil do not appear to be very
pleasing to the people of this country; but I do not presume that any
hasty measures will be adopted in consequence thereof; for we have
never entertained a doubt of the friendly disposition of the French
nation toward us, and are therefore persuaded that, if they have done
anything which seems to bear hard upon us at a time when the Assembly
must have been occupied in very important matters, and which, perhaps,
would not allow time for a due consideration of the subject, they will
in the moment of calm deliberation alter it and do what is right."

[Illustration: LAFAYETTE]

The unfriendly act was noted, so that Lafayette would understand that
no tame submission was intended, and yet no resentment was expressed.
The same tone can be noticed in a widely different direction.
Washington foresaw that the troubles in France, sooner or later, would
involve her in war with England. The United States, as the former
allies of the French, were certain to attract the attention of the
mother country, and so he watched on that side also with equal
caution. England, if possible, was to be made to understand that the
American policy was not dictated by anything but the interests and the
dignity of the United States, and their resolve to hold aloof from
European complications. In June, 1792, he wrote to Morris: "One thing,
however, I must not pass over in silence, lest you should infer from
it that Mr. D. had authority for reporting that the United States had
asked the mediation of Great Britain to bring about a peace between
them and the Indians. You may be fully assured, sir, that such
mediation never was asked, that the asking of it never was in
contemplation, and I think I might go further and say that it not only
never will be asked, but would be rejected if offered. The United
States will never have occasion, I hope, to ask for the interposition
of that power, or any other, to establish peace within their own

Here is again the same note, always so true and clear, that the United
States are not colonies but an independent nation. So far as it was in
the power of the President, this was something which should be heard
by all men, even at the risk of much reiteration. It was a fact not
understood at home and not recognized abroad, but Washington proposed
to insist upon it so far as in him lay, until it was both understood
and admitted.

Meantime the flames were ever spreading from Paris, consuming and
threatening to consume the heaped up rubbish of centuries, and also
burning up many other more valuable things, as is the way with great
fires when they get beyond control. Many persons were interested in
the things of worth now threatened with destruction, and many others
in the rubbish and the tyrannous abuses. It was clear that war of a
wide and far-reaching kind could not be long put off. In March, 1793,
Washington wrote: "All our late accounts from Europe hold up the
expectation of a general war in that quarter. For the sake of
humanity, I hope such an event will not take place. But if it should,
I trust that we shall have too just a sense of our own interest to
originate any cause that may involve us in it."

Even while he wrote, the general war that he anticipated, the war
between France and England, had come. The news reached him at Mount
Vernon, and in the letter to Jefferson announcing his immediate
departure for Philadelphia he said: "War having actually commenced
between France and Great Britain, it behooves the government of this
country to use every means in its power to prevent the citizens
thereof from embroiling us with either of those powers, by endeavoring
to maintain a strict neutrality. I therefore require that you will
give the subject mature consideration, that such measures as shall be
deemed most likely to effect this desirable purpose may be adopted
without delay." These instructions were written on April 12, and on
the 18th Washington was in Philadelphia, and had sent out a series
of questions to be considered by his cabinet and answered on the
following day. After much discussion, it was unanimously agreed
to issue a proclamation of neutrality, to receive the new French
minister, and not to convene Congress in extra session. The remaining
questions were put over for further consideration.

Hamilton framed the questions, say the historians; Randolph drafted
the proclamation, says his biographer, in a very instructive and fresh
discussion of the relations between the Secretary of State and the
Attorney-General. It is interesting to know what share the President's
advisers took when he consulted them on this momentous question, but
the leading idea was his own. When the moment came, the policy long
meditated and matured was put in force. The world was told that a new
power had come into being, which meant to hold aloof from Europe,
and which took no interest in the balance of power or the fate of
dynasties, but looked only to the welfare of its own people and to the
conquest and mastery of a continent as its allotted tasks. The policy
declared by the proclamation was purely American in its conception,
and severed the colonial tradition at a stroke. In the din then
prevailing among civilized men, it was but little heeded, and even at
home it was almost totally misunderstood; yet nevertheless it did
its work. For twenty-five years afterward the American people slowly
advanced toward the ground then taken, until the ideas of the
neutrality proclamation received their final acceptance and extension
at the hands of the younger Adams, in the promulgation of the Monroe
doctrine. The shaping of this policy which was then launched was
a great work of far-sighted and native statesmanship, and it was
preëminently the work of the President himself.

Moreover, it did not stop here. A circular to the officers of the
customs provided for securing notice of infractions of the law, and
the task of enforcing the principles laid down in the proclamation
began. As it happened, the theory of neutrality was destined at once
to receive rude tests of its soundness in practice. The new French
minister was landing on our shores, and beginning his brief career in
this country, while the proclamation was going from town to town and
telling the people, in sharp and unaccustomed tones, that they were
Americans and not colonists, and must govern themselves accordingly.

Everything, in fact, seemed to conspire to make the path of the new
policy rough and thorny. In the excitement of the time a large portion
of the population regarded it as a party measure aimed against our
beloved allies, while, to make the situation worse, France on one
side and England on the other proceeded, as if deliberately, to do
everything in their power to render neutrality impossible, and to
drive us into war with some one.

The new minister, Genet, could not have been better chosen, if the
special errand for which he had been employed had been to make
trouble. Light-headed and vain, with but little ability and a vast
store of unintelligent zeal, the whirl of the French revolution flung
him on our shores, where he had a glorious chance for mischief. This
opportunity he at once seized. As soon as he landed he proceeded to
arm privateers at Charleston. Thence he took his way north, and the
enthusiastic popular acclaim which everywhere greeted his arrival
almost crazed him, and drew forth a series of high-flown and most
injudicious speeches. By the time he reached Philadelphia, and before
he had presented his credentials, he had induced enough violations of
neutrality, and sown the seeds of enough trouble, to embarrass our
government for months to come.

Washington had written to Governor Lee on May 6: "I foresaw in the
moment information of that event (the war) came to me, the necessity
for announcing the disposition of this country towards the belligerent
powers, and the propriety of restraining, as far as a proclamation
would do it, our citizens from taking part in that contest.... The
affairs of France would seem to me to be in the highest paroxysm of
disorder; not so much from the presence of foreign enemies, for in
the cause of liberty this ought to be fuel to the fire of a patriot
soldier and to increase his ardor, but because those in whose hands
the government is intrusted are ready to tear each other to pieces,
and will more than probably prove the worst foes the country has."

He easily foresaw the moment of trial, when he would be forced to
the declaration of his policy, which was so momentous for the United
States, and he also understood the condition of affairs at Paris, and
the probable tendencies and proximate results of the Revolution. It
was evident that the great social convulsion had brought forth men of
genius and force, and had maddened them with the lust of blood and
power. But it was less easy to foresee, what was equally natural, that
the revolution would also throw to the surface men who had neither
genius nor force, but who were as wild and dangerous as their betters.
No one, surely, could have been prepared to meet in the person of the
minister of a great nation such a feather-headed mischief-maker as

In everything relating to France Washington had observed the utmost
caution, and his friendliness had been all the more marked because he
had felt obliged to be guarded. He had exercised this care even in
personal matters, and had refrained, so far as possible, from seeing
the _émigrés_ who had begun to come to this country. Such men as the
Vicomte de Noailles had been referred to the State Department, and in
many cases the maintenance of this attitude had tried his feelings
severely, for the exiles were not infrequently men who had fought or
sympathized with us in our day of conflict. Now came the new minister
of the republic, a being apparently devoid of training or manners.
Before he had been received, or had appeared at the seat of
government, before he had even taken possession of his predecessor's
papers, he had behaved in a way which would not have been
inappropriate to a Roman governor of a conquered province. He had
ordered the French consuls to act as admiralty courts, he had armed
cruisers, enlisted and commissioned American citizens, and had seen
the vessels of a power with which the United States were at peace
captured in American waters, and condemned in the States by French
consular courts. Three weeks before Genet's audience Jefferson had a
memorial from the British minister, justly complaining of the injuries
done his country under cover of our flag; and while the government was
considering this pleasant incident, Genet was faring gayly northward,
fêted and caressed, cheered and applauded, the subject of ovations
and receptions everywhere. At Philadelphia he was received by a
great concourse of citizens, called together by the guns of the very
privateer that had violated our neutrality, and led by provincial
persons, who thought it fine to name themselves "citizen" Smith and
"citizen" Brown, because that particular folly was the fashion in
France. A day was passed in receiving addresses, and then Genet was
presented to the President.

A stranger contrast could not easily have been found even in that
strange time, and two men more utterly unlike probably never faced
each other as representatives of two great nations. In the difference
between them the philosopher may find, perhaps, some explanation of
the difference in the character and results of the revolutions which
came so near together in the two countries. Nothing, moreover, could
well be conceived more distasteful to Washington than the Frenchman's
conduct except the Frenchman himself. There was about the man and his
performances everything most calculated to bring one of those gusts of
passionate contempt which now and again had made things unpleasant
for some one who had failed in sense, decency, and duty. This was
impossible to a President, but nevertheless his self-restraint from
the beginning to the end of his intercourse with Genet was very
remarkable in a man of his temperament. At their first interview his
demeanor may have been a little colder than usual, and the dignified
reserve somewhat more marked, but there was no trace of any feeling.
His manner, nevertheless, chilled Genet and came upon him like a
cold bath after the warm atmosphere of popular plaudits and turgid
addresses. He went away grumbling, and complained that he had seen
medallions of the Capets on the walls of the President's room.

But although Washington was calm and polite, he was also watchful and
prepared, as he had good reason to be, for Genet immediately began,
in addition to his wild public utterances, to pour in notes upon the
State Department. He demanded money; he announced in florid style the
opening of the French ports; he wrote that he was ready to make a
new treaty; and finally he filed an answer to the complaints of the
British minister. His arguments were wretched, but they seemed to
weigh with Jefferson, although not with the President; and meantime
the dragon's teeth which he had plentifully sown began to come up and
bear an abundant harvest. More prizes were made by his cruisers, and
after many remonstrances one was ordered away, and two Americans whom
Genet had enlisted were indicted. Genet declared that this was an act
which his pen almost refused to state; but still it was done, and the
administration pushed on and ordered the seizure of privateers fitting
in American ports. Governor Clinton made a good beginning with one at
New York, and in hot haste Genet wrote another note more furious and
impertinent than any he had yet sent. He was answered civilly, and the
work of stopping the sale of prizes went on.

Meantime the opposition were not idle. The French sympathizers
bestirred themselves, and attacks began to be made even on the
President himself. The popular noise and clamor were all against the
administration, but the support of it was really growing stronger,
although the President and his secretaries could not see it.
Jefferson, on whom the conduct of foreign affairs rested, was uneasy
and wavering. He wrote able letters, as he was directed, but held, it
is to be feared, quite different language in his conversations with
Genet. Randolph argued and hesitated, while Hamilton, backed by Knox,
was filled with wrath and wished more decisive measures. Still, as we
look at it now across a century, we can observe that the policy went
calmly forward, consistent and unchecked. The French minister was held
back, privateers were stopped, the English minister's complaints were
answered, every effort was made for exact justice, and neutrality was
preserved. It was hard and trying work, especially to a man of strong
temper and fighting propensities. Still it was done, and toward the
end of June Washington went for a little rest to Mount Vernon.

Then came a sudden explosion. One July morning the rumor ran through
Philadelphia that the Little Sarah, a prize of the French man-of-war,
was fitting out as a privateer. The reaction in favor of the
administration was beginning, and men, indignant at the proceeding,
carried the news to Governor Mifflin, and also to the Secretary
of State. Great disturbance of mind thereupon ensued to these two
gentlemen, who were both much interested in France and the rights of
man. The brig would not sail before the arrival of the President, said
the Secretary of State. Still the arming went on apace, and then came
movements on the part of the governor. Dallas, Secretary of State for
Pennsylvania, went at midnight to expostulate with Genet, who burst
into a passion, and declared that the vessel should sail. This
defiance roused the governor, and a company of militia marched to
the vessel and took possession. Greatly excited, Jefferson went next
morning to Genet, who very honestly declined to promise to detain the
vessel, but said that she would not be ready to sail until Wednesday.
This announcement, which was distinctly not a promise, the Secretary
of State chose to accept as such, and as he was very far from being
a fool, he did so either from timidity, or from a very unworthy
political preference for another nation's interests to the dignity of
his own country. At all events, he had the troops withdrawn, and the
Little Sarah, now rejoicing in the name of the Petit Democrat,
dropped down to Chester. Hamilton and Knox, being neither afraid nor
un-American, were for putting a battery on Mud Island and sinking
the privateer if she attempted to go by. Great saving of trouble and
bloodshed would have been accomplished by the setting up of this
battery and the sinking of this vessel, for it would have informed the
world that though the United States were weak and young, they were
ready nevertheless to fight as a nation, a fact which we subsequently
were obliged to prove by a three years' war.

Jefferson, however, opposed decisive measures, and while the cabinet
wrangled, Washington, hurrying back from Mount Vernon, reached
Philadelphia. He was full of just anger at what had been done and left
undone. Jefferson, feeling uneasy, had gone to the country, where he
was fond of making a retreat at unpleasant moments, and Washington at
once wrote him a letter, which could not have been very agreeable
to the discoverer of diplomatic promises in a refusal to give any.
"What," said the President, "is to be done in the case of the Little
Sarah, now at Chester? Is the minister of the French Republic to set
the acts of this government at defiance _with impunity_? and then
threaten the executive with an appeal to the people? What must the
world think of such conduct, and of the government of the United
States in submitting to it?" Then came a demand for an immediate

To the tender feelings of the Secretary of State, who had not been
considering the affair from an American standpoint, this must have
seemed a violent and almost a coarse way of treating the "great
republic," and he replied that the French minister had assured him
that the vessel would not sail until the President reached a decision.
Having got the vessel to Chester, however, by telling the truth, Genet
now changed his tack. He lied about detaining her, and she went to
sea. This performance filled the cup of Washington's disgust almost to
overflowing, for he had what Jefferson seems to have totally lost at
this juncture--a keen national feeling, and it was touched to the
quick. The truth was, that in all this business Jefferson was thinking
too much of France and of the cause of human liberty in Paris, while
Washington thought of the United States alone. The result was
the escape of the vessel, owing to Washington's absence, and the
consequent humiliation to the government. To refrain from ordering
Genet out of the country at once required a strong effort of
self-control; but he wished to keep the peace as long as possible, and
he proposed to get rid of him speedily but decorously. He resolved
also that no more such outrages should be committed through his
absence, and the consequent differences among his advisers. He
continued, of course, to consult his cabinet, but he took the
immediate control, more definitely even than before, into his own
hands. On July 25 he wrote to Jefferson, whose vigor at this critical
time he evidently doubted: "As the letter of the minister of the
Republic of France, dated the 22d of June, lies yet unanswered, and
as the official conduct of that gentleman, relative to the affairs of
this government, will have to undergo a very serious consideration,
... in order to decide upon measures proper to be taken thereupon, it
is my desire that all the letters to and from that minister may
be ready to be laid before me, the heads of departments, and the
attorney-general, whom I shall advise with on the occasion." He also
saw to it that better precautions should be taken by the officers of
the customs to prevent similar attempts to break neutrality, and set
the administration and the laws of the country at defiance.

The cabinet consultations soon bore good fruit, and Genet's recall
was determined on during the first days of August. There was some
discussion over the manner of requesting the recall, but the terms
were made gentle by Jefferson, to the disgust of the Secretary of the
Treasury and the Secretary of War, who desired direct methods and
stronger language. As finally toned up and agreed upon by the
President and cabinet, the document was sufficiently vigorous to annoy
Genet, and led to bitter reproaches addressed to his friend in the
State Department. Then there was question about publishing the
correspondence, and again Jefferson intervened in behalf of mildness.
The substantive fact, however, was settled, and the letter asking
Genet's recall, as desired by Washington, went in due time, and in the
following February came a successor. Genet, however, did not go back
to his native land, for he preferred to remain here and save his head,
valueless as that article would seem to have been. He spent the rest
of his days in America, married, harmless, and quite obscure. His
noise and fireworks were soon over, and one wonders now how he could
ever have made as much flare and explosion as he did.

But even while his recall was being decided, before he knew of it
himself, and long before his successor came, Genet's folly produced
more trouble than ever, and his insolence rose to a higher pitch. The
arming of privateers had been checked, but the consuls continued to
arrogate powers which no self-respecting nation could permit, and for
some gross offense Washington revoked the _exequatur_ of Duplaine,
consul at Boston. An insolent note from Genet thereupon declared that
the President had overstepped his authority, and that he should appeal
to the sovereign State of Massachusetts. Next there was riot and the
attempted murder of a man from St. Domingo who was accused by the
refugees. Then it began to get abroad that Genet had threatened to
appeal from the President to the people, and frantic denials ensued
from all the opposition press; whereupon a card appeared from John Jay
and Rufus King, which stated that they were authority for the story
and believed it. Apologies now took the place of denial, and were
backed by ferocious attacks on the signers of the card. Unluckily,
intelligent people seemed to put faith in Jay and King rather than in
the opposition newspapers, and the tide, which had turned some time
before, now ran faster every moment against the French. To make it
flow with overwhelming force and rapidity was reserved for Genet
himself, who was furious at the Jay card, and wrote to the President,
demanding a denial of the statement which it contained. A cool note
informed him that the President did not consider it proper or material
to make denials, and pointed out to him that he must address his
communications to the State Department. This correspondence was
published, and the mass of the people were at last aroused, and turned
from Genet in disgust. The leaders tried vainly to separate the
minister from his country, and Genet himself frothed and foamed,
demanded that Randolph should sue Jay and King for libel, and declared
that America was no longer free. This sad statement had little effect.
Washington had triumphed completely, and without haste but with
perfect firmness had brought the people round to his side as that of
the national dignity and honor.

The victory had been won at no little cost to Washington himself in
the way of self-control. He had been irritated and angered at every
step, so much so that he even referred in a letter to Richard Henry
Lee to the trial of temper to which he had been put, a bit of personal
allusion in which he rarely indulged. "The specimens you have seen,"
he wrote, "of Mr. Genet's sentiments and conduct in the gazettes form
a small part only of the aggregate. But you can judge from them to
what test the temper of the executive has been put in its various
transactions with this gentleman. It is probable that the whole will
be exhibited to public view in the course of the next session of
Congress. Delicacy towards his nation has restrained the doing of
it hitherto. The best that can be said of this agent is, that he is
entirely unfit for the mission on which he is employed; unless (which
I hope is not the case), contrary to the express and unequivocal
declaration of his country made through himself, it is meant to
involve ours in all the horrors of a European war."

But there was another side to the neutrality question even more full
of difficulties and unpopularity, which began to open just as the
worst of the contests with Genet was being brought to a successful
close. Genet had not confined his efforts to the seaboard, nor been
content with civic banquets, privateers, rioting, and insolent notes
to the government. He had fitted out ships, and he intended also to
levy armies. With this end in view he had sent his agents through the
south and west to raise men in order to invade the Floridas on the
one hand and seize New Orleans on the other. To conceive of such a
performance by a foreign minister on the soil of the United States,
requires an effort of the imagination to-day almost equal to that
which would be necessary for an acceptance of the reality of the
Arabian nights. It brings home with startling clearness not merely the
crazy insolence of Genet, but a painful sense of the manner in which
we were regarded by the nations of Europe. Still worse is the fact
that they had good reason for their view. The imbecility of the
confederation had bred contempt, and it was now seen that we were
still so wholly provincial that a large part of the people was not
only ready to condone but even to defend the conduct of the minister
who engaged in such work. Worst of all, the people among whom the
French agents went received their propositions with much pleasure. In
South Carolina, where it was said five thousand men had been enlisted,
there was sufficient self-respect to stop the precious scheme. The
assembly arrested certain persons and ordered an inquiry, which
came to nothing; but the effect of their action was sufficient. In
Kentucky, on the other hand, the authorities would not interfere. The
people there were always quite ready for a march against New Orleans,
and that it did not proceed was due to Genet's inability to get money;
for the governor declined to meddle, and the democratic society of
Lexington demanded war. Matters looked so serious that the cavalry was
sent to Kentucky, and the rest of the army wintered in Ohio. It was
actually necessary to teach the American people by the presence of the
troops of the United States that they must not enroll themselves in
the army of a foreign minister.

Nothing can show more strikingly than this the almost inconceivable
difficulties with which the President was contending. To develop a
policy of wise and dignified neutrality, and to impress it upon the
world, was a great enough task in itself. But Washington was obliged
to impress it also upon his own people, and to teach them that they
must have a policy of their own toward other nations. He had to carry
this through in the teeth of an opposition so utterly colonial that
it could not grasp the idea of having any policy but that which, from
sympathy or hate, they took from foreigners. Beyond the mountains, he
had to bring this home to men to whom American nationality was such a
dead letter that they were willing to defy their own government,
throw off their allegiance, and enlist for an offensive war under the
banners of a crazy French Girondist. It is neither easy nor pleasant
to carry out a new foreign policy in time of general war, with one's
own people united in its support; but when the foreign divisions are
repeated at home, the task is enhanced in difficulty a thousand-fold.
Nevertheless, there was the work to do, and the President faced it. He
dealt with Genet, he prevailed in public opinion on the seaboard, and
in some fashion he maintained order west of the mountains.

Washington also saw, as we can see now very plainly, that, wrong and
unpatriotic as the Kentucky attitude was, there was still an excuse
for it. Those bold pioneers, to whom the country owes so much, had
very substantial grievances. They knew nothing of the laws of nations,
and did not yet realize that they had a country and a nationality; but
they had the instincts of all great conquering races. They looked upon
the Mississippi and felt that it was of right theirs, and that it must
belong to the vast empire which they were winning from the wilderness.
They saw the mighty river held and controlled by Spaniards, and they
were harassed and interfered with by Spanish officials, whom they both
hated and despised. To men of their mould and training there was but
one solution conceivable. They must fight the Spaniard, and drive him
from the land forever. Their purposes were quite right, but their
methods were faulty. Washington, born to a life of adventure and
backwoods conquest, had a good deal of real sympathy with these men,
for he knew them to be in the main right, and his ultimate purposes
were the same as theirs. But he had a nation in his charge to whom
peace was precious. To have the backwoodsmen of Kentucky go down the
river and harry the Spaniards out of the country, as their descendants
afterwards harried the Mexicans out of Texas, would have been a
refreshing sight, but it would have interfered sadly with the nation
which was rising on the Atlantic seaboard, and of which Kentucky was a
part. War was to be avoided, and above all a war into which we should
have been dragged as the vassal of France; so Washington intended to
wait, and he managed to make the Kentuckians wait too, a process by no
means agreeable to that enterprising people.

His own policy about the Mississippi, which has already been
described, never wavered. He meant to have the great river, for his
ideas of the empire of the future were quite as extended as those of
the pioneers, and much more definite, but his way of getting it was
to build up the Atlantic States and bind them, with their established
resources, to the settlers over the mountains. This done, time would
do the rest; and the sequel showed that he was right. A little more
than a year after he came to the presidency he wrote to Lafayette:
"Gradually recovering from the distresses in which the war left us,
patiently advancing in our task of civil government, unentangled in
the crooked politics of Europe, _wanting scarcely anything but the
free navigation of the Mississippi, which we must have, and as
certainly shall have, if we remain a nation_,"[1] etc.

[Footnote 1: The italics are mine.]

Time and peace, sufficient for the up-building of the nation, that is
the theme everywhere. Yet he knew that a sacrifice of everything for
peace was the surest road both to war and ruin. Peace must be kept;
yet war was still the last resort, and he was ready to go to war with
the Spaniards, as with the Indians, if all else failed. But he did
not mean to have all else fail, nor did he mean to submit to Spanish
insolence and exactions. The grievances of the pioneers of the West
were to be removed, if possible, by treaty, and if that way was
impossible, then by fighting.

Carmichael, who had been minister at Madrid under the confederation,
had been continued there by the new government. But while the
intrigues of Spain to detach Kentucky, and the interference and
exactions of Spanish officials, went on, our negotiation for the
settlement of our rights to the navigation of the Mississippi halted.
Tired of this inaction, Washington, late in 1791, united William
Short, our minister to Holland, in a commission with Carmichael, to
open a fresh and special negotiation as to the Mississippi, and at
the same time a confidential agent was sent to Florida to seek some
arrangements with the governor as to fugitive slaves, a matter of
burning interest to the planters on the border. The joint commission
bore no fruit, and the troubles in the West increased. Fostered by
Genet, they came near bringing on war and detaching the western
settlements from the Union, so that it was clearly necessary to take
more vigorous measures.

Accordingly, in 1794, after Genet had been dismissed, Washington sent
Thomas Pinckney, who for some years had been minister in London, on
a special treaty-making mission to Madrid. The first results were
vexatious and unpromising enough, and Pinckney wrote at the outset
that he had had two interviews with the Duke de Alcudia, but to no
purpose. It was the old game of delay, he said, with inquiries as to
why we had not replied to propositions, which in fact never had been
made. Even what Pinckney wrote, unsatisfactory as it was, could not be
wholly made out, for some passages were in a cipher to which the State
Department had no key. Washington wrote to Pickering, then acting as
Secretary of State: "A kind of fatality seems to have pursued this
negotiation, and, in short, all our concerns with Spain, from the
appointment of Mr. Carmichael, under the new government, as minister
to that country, to the present day.... Enough, however, appears
already to show the temper and policy of the Spanish court, and its
undignified conduct as it respects themselves, and insulting as it
relates to us; and I fear it will prove that the late treaty of peace
with France portends nothing favorable to these United States."
Washington's patience had been sorely tried by the delays and shifty
evasions of Spain, but he was now on the brink of success, just as he
concluded that negotiation was hopeless.

He had made a good choice in Thomas Pinckney, better even than he
knew. Triumphing over all obstacles, with persistence, boldness, and
good management, Pinckney made a treaty and brought it home with him.
Still more remarkable was the fact that it was an extremely good
treaty, and conceded all we asked. By it the Florida boundary was
settled, and the free navigation of the Mississippi was obtained. We
also gained the right to a place of deposit at New Orleans, a pledge
to leave the Indians alone, a commercial agreement modeled on that
with France, and a board of arbitration to settle American claims.
All this Pinckney obtained, not as the representative of a great and
powerful state, but as the envoy of a new nation, distant, unknown,
disliked, and embroiled in various complications with other powers.
Our history can show very few diplomatic achievements to be compared
with this, for it was brilliant in execution, and complete and
valuable in result. Yet it has passed into history almost unnoticed,
and both the treaty and its maker have been singularly and most
unjustly neglected. Even the accurate and painstaking Hildreth omits
the date and circumstances of Pinckney's appointment, while the last
elaborate history of the United States scarcely alludes to the matter,
and finds no place in its index for the name of its author. It was
in fact one of the best pieces of work done during Washington's
administration, and perfected its policy on a most difficult and
essential point. It is high time that justice were done to the gallant
soldier and accomplished diplomatist who conducted the negotiation and
rendered such a solid service to his country. Thomas Pinckney, who
really did something, who did work worth doing and without many words,
has been forgotten, while many of his contemporaries, who simply made
a noise, are freshly remembered in the pages of history.

There was, however, another nation out on our western and northern
border more difficult to deal with than Spain; and in this quarter
there was less evasion and delay, but more arrogance and bad temper.
It was to England that Washington turned first when he took up the
presidency, and it was in her control of the western posts and her
influence among the Indian tribes that he saw the greatest dangers
to the continental movement of our people. Morris, as we have seen,
sounded the British government with but little success. Still they
promised to send a minister, and in due time Mr. George Hammond
arrived in that capacity, and opened a long and somewhat fruitless
correspondence with the Secretary of State on the various matters of
difference existing between the two countries. This interchange of
letters went on peaceably and somewhat monotonously for many months,
and then suddenly became very vivid and animated. This was the effect
of the arrival of Genet; and at this point begins the long series of
mistakes made by Great Britain in her dealings with the United States.

The principle of the declaration of neutrality could be easily upheld
on broad political grounds, but technically its defense was by no
means so simple. By the treaty of commerce with France we were bound
to admit her privateers and prizes to our ports; and here, as any one
could see, and as the sequel amply proved, was a fertile source of
dangerous complications. Then by the treaty of alliance we guaranteed
to France her West Indian possessions, binding ourselves to aid her
in their defense; and a proclamation of neutrality when France was
actually at war with a great naval power was an immediate and obvious
limitation upon this guarantee. Hamilton argued that while France had
an undoubted right to change her government, the treaty applied to a
totally different state of affairs, and was therefore in suspense. He
also argued that we were not bound in case of offensive war, and that
this war was offensive. Jefferson and Randolph held that the treaties
were as binding and as much in force now as they had ever been; but
they both assented to the proclamation of neutrality. There can be
little question that on the general legal principle Jefferson and
Randolph were right. Hamilton's argument was ingenious and very
fine-spun. But when he made the point about the character of the war
as relieving us from the guarantee, he was unanswerable; and this of
itself was a sufficient ground. He went beyond it in order to make his
reasoning fit existing conditions consistently and throughout, and
then it was that his position became untenable. In reality the French
revolution was showing itself so wholly abnormal and was so rapid in
its changes, that as a matter of practical statesmanship it was
worse than idle even to suppose that previous treaties, made with an
established government, were in force with this ever-shifting thing
which the revolution had brought forth. Still the general doctrine as
to the binding force of treaties remained unaltered, and this conflict
between fact and principle was what constituted the great difficulty
in the way of Washington and Hamilton. The latter met it with one
clever and adroit argument which it was difficult to sustain, and
avoided it with a second, which was narrower, but at the same time
sound and all-sufficient, as to the character of the war. Jefferson
and Randolph stood by the general principle, but abandoned it in
practice under pressure of imperious facts, as men generally do, while
France herself soon removed all technical difficulties by abrogating
by her measures the treaty of commerce, an act which relieved us of
any further obligations and justified Hamilton's position. But in
the beginning this was not known, and yet action was none the less

The result was right, and Washington had his way, which it must be
confessed he had fully determined on before his cabinet supplied him
with technical arguments.

All these points must have been plain enough to Hammond and the
English ministry. They could not see the full scope of the neutrality
policy in its national meaning, and they very naturally failed to
perceive that it marked the rise of a new power wholly disconnected
from Europe, to which their own views were confined. But they were
quite able to understand the immediate aspect of the case. They saw
Washington adopt and carry out a policy of dignified impartiality;
they were well able to value rightly the technical objections which
stood in his path, and they could see also that this policy was at the
outset very unpopular in America. The remembrance of old injuries and
of the war for independence was still fresh, and the hatred of England
was well nigh universal in the United States. On the other hand, a
lively sense of gratitude to France, and a sympathy with the objects
of the revolution, made affection for that country uniform and
general. The easy and popular course was for our government to range
itself more or less directly with the French, and the refusal to do so
was bold and in the highest degree creditable to the administration.
It was, moreover, an important advantage to England that the United
States should not ally themselves with her enemy, for next to herself,
the Americans were the great seafaring people of the world, and were
in a position to ravage her commerce, and, aided by France, to break
up her West Indian possessions. If the United States had followed the
natural prejudices of the time and had espoused the cause of France,
it would have been wise and right for England to attack them and break
them down if possible. But when, from a sense of national dignity and
of fair dealing, the United States stood apart from the conflict
and placed their former foe on the same footing as their friend and
ancient ally, a very small allowance of good sense would have led
the British ministry to encourage them in so doing. By favorable
treatment, and by a friendly and conciliatory policy, they should have
helped Washington in his struggle against popular prejudices, and
endeavored by so doing to keep the United States neutral, and
lead them, if possible, to their side; but with a fatuity almost
incomprehensible they pursued an almost exactly opposite course. By
similar conduct England had brought on the war for independence, which
ended in the division of her empire. In precisely the same way she now
proceeded to make it as arduous as possible for Washington to maintain
neutrality, and thereby played directly into the hands of the party
that supported France. The true policy demanded no sacrifices on the
part of Great Britain. Civility and consideration in her dealings,
and a careful abstention from wanton aggression and insult, were
all-sufficient. But England disliked us, as was quite natural; she did
not wish us to thrive and prosper, and she knew that we were weak and
not in a position to enter upon an offensive war.

As soon as it became known that Genet's privateers, manned by seamen
enlisted in our ports, were preying on British commerce, and that the
French man-of-war L'Ambuscade had taken an English vessel, The Grange,
within the capes of the Delaware, Hammond filed a memorial in regard
to these incidents. In so doing he was of course quite right, and the
government responded immediately, and proceeded in good faith to make
every effort to repair these breaches of neutrality, and to redress
the wrongs suffered by Great Britain. Hammond, however, instead of
doing all in his power, not merely to gain his own ends, but to
make it easy for our government to satisfy him, assumed at once a
disagreeable tone with a strong flavor of bullying, which was not
calculated to conciliate the statesmen with whom he was dealing. It
was a small matter enough, but unfortunately it was an indication of
what was to come.

On November 6, 1793, a British order in council was passed, but not
immediately published, directing the seizure of all vessels carrying
the produce of the French islands, or loaded with provisions for the
use of the French colonies. The object of the order was to destroy all
neutral trade, and it was aimed particularly at the commerce of the
United States. The moment selected for its adoption was when the
troubles with Genet had culminated, when we were on the point of
getting rid of that very objectionable person, and when we had proved
that we meant to maintain an honest and a real neutrality. It was as
well calculated as any move could have been to drive us back into the
arms of France, yet the manner of executing the order was far worse
than the order itself. Our merchantmen and traders had been quick to
take advantage of the opening of the French ports, and they had gone
in swarms to the French islands. Now, without a word of warning, their
vessels were seized by the cruisers of a nation with which we were
supposed to be at peace. Every petty governor of an English island sat
as a judge in admiralty. Many of them were corrupt, all were unfit for
the duty, and our vessels were condemned and pillaged. The crews were
made prisoners, and in many cases thrown into loathsome and unhealthy
places of confinement, while the ships were left to rot in the
harbors. The tale of the outrages and miseries thus inflicted on
citizens of the United States without any warning, and by a nation
considered to be at peace with us, fills an American with shame and
anger even to-day. If our people remonstrated, they were told that
England meant to have no neutrals, and that six of their frigates
could blockade our coast. A course of kind treatment would have made
us the friends of Great Britain, but the experiment was not even
tried. The truth was that we were weak, and this was not only a
misfortune but apparently an unpardonable sin. England could not
conquer us, but she could harry our coasts, and let loose her Indians
on our borders; and we had no navy with which to retaliate. She meant
that there should be no neutrals, and so adopted a policy which would
make us the active ally of France. It was no answer to say, what was
perfectly true, that French privateers preyed upon our commerce with
that fine indifference to rights and treaties which characterized
the governments of the Revolution. If both sides maltreated us, the
natural course was to unite with the power to which we at least owed a
debt of gratitude.

About the same time a speech was reported from Quebec, in which Lord
Dorchester told the Indians that they should soon take the war-path
for England against the United States. Lord Grenville denied in
Parliament, and subsequently to Jay, that the ministry had ever taken
any step to incite the Indians against the United States, and the
authenticity of Lord Dorchester's utterances has been questioned in
later days; but it was not disavowed at the time, even by Hammond in
a sharp correspondence which he held on that and other topics with
Randolph. The speech, as is now known and proved, was probably made,
whether it was authorized or not, and it was universally accepted at
the moment as both true and authoritative.

This menace of desolating savage war in the West, in addition to the
unquestioned outrages to our seamen, the loss of our ships, and the
destruction of our commerce, with consequent ruin to all our seaboard
towns, led to a general outburst of indignation from men of all
parties, and Congress began to prepare for war. Many of the methods
suggested were feeble and inadequate, but there could be no doubt of
either the spirit or intentions which dictated them. News that an
order of January 8, 1794, modified that of November 6, and confined
the seizure to vessels carrying French property, and reports that
some of our vessels were being restored, moderated the movements of
Congress, but it was nevertheless evident that a resolution cutting
off commercial intercourse with Great Britain would soon pass. In the
existing state of things such a step in all probability meant war, and
Washington was thus brought face to face with the most serious problem
of his administration. It did not take him unawares, nor find him
unprepared, for he had anticipated the situation, and his mind was
made up. He had no intention of letting the country drift into war
without a great effort to prevent it, and the time for that effort had
now come. As in the case of Spain, he was resolved to send a special
envoy to make a treaty. His first choice for this important mission
was Hamilton, which, like most of his selections, would have been
the best choice that could have been made. Hamilton, however, was so
conspicuous as the great leader of the party which supported both the
foreign and domestic policy of the administration, and he was so hated
by the opposition, that a loud outcry was at once raised against his
appointment. At that particular juncture it was very important that
the envoy should depart with as much general good-will and public
confidence as possible, so Hamilton sacrificed himself to this
necessity, and withdrew his name voluntarily. His withdrawal was a
mistake, but it was a wholly natural one under the circumstances.
Washington then made the next best choice, and appointed John Jay,
who was a man of most spotless character, honorable, high-minded, and
skilled in public affairs. He was chief justice of the United States,
and that fact gave additional weight to the mission. The only point in
which he fell behind Hamilton was in aggressiveness of character, and
this negotiation demanded, not merely firmness and tact, which Jay
had in abundance, but a boldness verging on audacity. The immediate
purpose, however, was answered, and Jay set forth on his journey with
much good feeling toward himself, and with a very solemn sense among
the people of the gravity of his undertaking. Washington himself saw
Jay depart with many misgivings, and the act of sending such a mission
at all was very trying to him, for the conduct of England galled him
to the quick. He had long suspected Great Britain, as well as Spain,
of inciting the Indians secretly to assail our settlements, and
knowing as he did the character of savage warfare, and feeling deeply
the bloodshed and expense of our Indian wars, he cherished a profound
dislike for those who could be capable of promoting such misery to the
injury of a friendly and-civilized nation. As England became more and
more hostile, he made up his mind that she was bent on attacking us,
and in March, 1794, he wrote to Governor Clinton that he had no doubts
as to the authenticity of Lord Dorchester's speech, and that he
believed England intended war. He therefore urged the governor to
inquire carefully into the state of feeling in Canada, and as to the
military strength of the country, especially on the border. He put no
trust in the disclaimers of the ministry when he saw the long familiar
signs of hostile intrigue among the Indians, and he was quite
determined that, if war should come, all the suffering should not be
on one side.

This belief in the coming of war, however, only strengthened him in
his well-matured plans to leave nothing undone to prevent it. It was
in this spirit that he despatched the special mission, although his
first letter to Jay shows that he had no very strong hopes of peace,
and that his uppermost thoughts were of the wrongs which had been
perpetrated, and of the perils which hung over the border. He did not
wish the commissioner to mince matters at all. "There does not remain
a doubt," he wrote, "in the mind of any well-informed person in this
country, not shut against conviction, that all the difficulties we
encounter with the Indians, their hostilities, the murder of helpless
women and innocent children along our frontiers, result from the
conduct of the agents of Great Britain in this country.... Can it
be expected, I ask, so long as these things are known in the United
States, or at least firmly believed, and suffered with impunity by
Great Britain, that there ever will or can be any cordiality between
the two countries? I answer, No. And I will undertake, without the
gift of prophecy, to predict that it will be impossible to keep this
country in a state of amity with Great Britain long, if the posts are
not surrendered. A knowledge of these being my sentiments would have
little weight, I am persuaded, with the British administration, and
perhaps not with the nation, in effecting the measure; but both may
rest satisfied that, if they want to be in peace with this country,
and to enjoy the benefits of its trade, to give up the posts is the
only road to it. Withholding them, and the consequences we feel at
present continuing, war will be inevitable."

Jay meantime had been well received in England. Lord Grenville
expressed the most friendly feelings, and every desire that the
negotiation might succeed. Jay was also received at court, where he
was said to have kissed the queen's hand, a crime, so the opposition
declared, for which his lips ought to have been blistered to the bone,
a difficult and by no means common form of punishment. Receptions,
dinner parties, and a ready welcome everywhere, did not, however,
make a treaty. When it came to business, the English did not differ
materially from their neighbors whom Canning satirized.

  "The fault of the Dutch
  Is giving too little and asking too much."

So the Americans now found it with Lord Grenville. There were many
subjects of dispute, some dangerous, and all requiring settlement for
the benefit of both countries. Boundaries, negro claims, and British
debts were easily disposed of by reference to boards of arbitration.
Two others, awkward and threatening, but not immediately pressing,
were the impressment of British seamen, real or pretended, from
American ships, and the exclusion of American vessels from the trade
of the British West Indies. The latter circumstance was no doubt
disagreeable to us, and deprived us of profit; but it is difficult to
see what right we had to complain of it, for the ports of the British
West Indies belonged to Great Britain, and if she chose to close
them to us, or anybody else, she was quite within her rights. At all
events, Lord Grenville declined to let us in, except in a very limited
way and under most onerous conditions. The right of search and the
right of impressment were simply the rights of the powerful over the
weak. England wanted to get seamen where she could for her navy; and
so long as she could violate our flag and carry off as recruits any
able-bodied seaman who spoke English, she meant to do it. It was worse
than idle to negotiate about it. When we should be ready and willing
to fight we could settle that question, but not before. In due time we
were ready to fight. England defeated us in various battles, ravaged
our coasts, and burned our capital; while we whipped her frigates
and lake flotillas, and repulsed her Peninsula veterans with heavy
slaughter at New Orleans. Impressment was not mentioned in the treaty
which concluded that war, but it ended at that time. The English are a
brave and combative people, but rather than get into wars with nations
that will fight, and fight hard, they will desist from wanton and
illegal aggressions, in which they do not differ greatly from the rest
of mankind; and so the practical abandonment of impressment came with
the war of 1812. The fact was officially stated by Webster, not many
years later, when he announced that the flag covered and protected all
those who lived or traded under it.

But in 1794 impressment was a negotiable question, because we were not
ready to go to war about it then and there. So Jay, wisely enough,
allowed this especial from of bullying to drift aside, along with the
exclusion from the West India trade, and addressed himself to the
two points which it was essential to have settled at that particular
moment. These questions were: the retention of the western posts, and
neutral rights at sea. In return for the agreement on our part to pay
the British debts, as determined by arbitration, England agreed
to surrender the posts on June 1, 1796. There was to be mutual
reciprocity in inland trade on the North American continent; but
coastwise, while we opened all our harbors and rivers to the British,
they shut us out from theirs in the colonies and the territory of the
Hudson's Bay Company. In the eighteen articles, limited in duration
to two years after the conclusion of the existing war, a treaty of
commerce was practically formed and neutral rights dealt with. We were
to be admitted to British ports in Europe and the East Indies on terms
of equality with British vessels, but we were refused admission to the
East Indian coasting trade, and to that between East India and Europe.
We gained the right to trade to the West Indies, but only on condition
that we should give up the transportation from America to Europe of
any of the principal products of the colonies. These were enumerated,
and besides sugar, molasses, coffee, and cocoa, included cotton, which
had just become an export from the southern States, and which already
promised to assume the importance that it afterwards reached. The
vexed questions of privateers, prizes, and contraband of war were also
settled and determined.

The treaty as a whole was not a very brilliant one for the United
States, but its treatment was far worse than its deserts, and it was
received with such a universal outburst of indignation that even to
this day it has never freed itself from the bad name it then acquired.
Nobody, not even its supporters, liked it, and yet it may be doubted
whether anything materially better was possible at the time. The
admirers of Hamilton, from that day to this, have believed that if
he had been sent, his boldness, ability, and force would have wrung
better terms from England. This is not at all improbable; but that
they would have been materially improved, even by Hamilton, does not
seem very likely. The treaty, in reality, was by no means bad; on the
contrary, it had many good points. It disposed satisfactorily and
fairly of all the minor questions which were vexatious and threatening
to the peaceful relation of the two countries. It settled the British
debts, gave us the western posts, which was a matter of the utmost
importance, and arranged the disputed and thorny question of neutral
rights, for the time being at least. It left impressment totally
unsettled, simply because we were still too weak to be ready to fight
England profitably on that theme. It opened to us the West Indian
ports, which was the matter most nearly affecting our interests and
our pockets, but it did so under limitations and concessions which
were excessive and even humiliating. We were obliged to pay a price
far too high for this coveted privilege, and it was on this point that
the controversy finally hinged.

The treaty reached Philadelphia on March 7. Nothing was said of its
arrival, which does not seem to have been known to any one but the
President and Randolph, who had meantime succeeded Jefferson as
Secretary of State. Three months later, on June 8, the Senate was
called together in special session, and the treaty was laid before
them. Washington did not like it and never changed his feeling in that
respect, but he had made up his mind upon full reflection to accept
it; and the Senate, after most careful consideration, voted by exactly
the necessary two thirds to ratify it, provided that the objectionable
West Indian article could be modified. On no terms could we consent to
forego the exportation of cotton, and it is difficult to see how
the Senate could have taken any other ground upon this point. Their
action, however, opened some delicate questions. Washington wrote to
Randolph: "First, is or is not that resolution intended to be the
final act of the Senate; or do they expect that the new article which
is proposed shall be submitted to them before the treaty takes effect?
Secondly, does or does not the Constitution permit the President to
ratify the treaty, without submitting the new article, after it shall
be agreed to by the British King, to the Senate for their further
advice and consent?"

These questions were carefully considered, and Washington had made
up his mind to ratify conditionally on the modification of the West
Indian article, when news arrived which caused him to suspend action.
England, having made the treaty, and before any news could have been
received of our attitude in regard to it, took steps to render its
ratification both difficult and offensive, if not impossible. The mode
adopted was to renew the "provision order," as it was called, which
directed the seizure of all vessels carrying food products to France,
and thus give to the Jay treaty the interpretation it was designed to
avoid, that provisions could be declared contraband at the pleasure of
one of the belligerents. It was a stupid thing to do, for if England
desired to have peace with us, as her making the treaty indicated,
she should not have renewed the most irritating of all her past
performances before we had had opportunity even to sign and ratify.
Washington, on hearing of this move, withheld his signature, bade
Randolph prepare a strong memorial against the provision order, and
then betook himself to Mount Vernon on some urgent private business.

Before he started, however, the storm of popular rage had begun to
break. Bache had the substance of the treaty in the "Aurora" on June
29, and Mr. Stevens Thomson Mason, senator from Virginia, was so
pained by some slight inaccuracies in this version that he wrote Mr.
Bache a note, and sent him a copy of the treaty despite the injunction
of secrecy by which he as a senator was bound. Mr. Mason gained great
present glory by this frank breach of promise, and curiously enough
this single discreditable act is the only thing that keeps his name
and memory alive in history. All that he achieved at the moment was to
hurry the inevitable disclosure of the contents of a treaty which no
one desired to conceal, except in deference to official form. Mason's
note and copy of the treaty, made up into a pamphlet, were issued
from Bache's press on July 2, and hundreds of copies were soon being
carried by eager riders north and south throughout the Union.

Everywhere, as the treaty traveled, the popular wrath was kindled. The
first explosion came in Boston, Federalist Boston, devoted beyond any
other town in the country to Washington and his administration. There
was a town meeting in Faneuil Hall, violent speeches were made, and a
committee was appointed to draw up a memorial to the President against
ratification. This remonstrance was despatched at once by special
messenger, who seemed to carry the torch of Malise instead of a set of
dry resolutions. Everywhere the anger and indignation flamed forth.
The ground had been carefully prepared, for, ever since Jay sailed,
the partisans of the French had been denouncing him and his mission,
predicting failure, and, in one case at least, burning him in effigy
before it was known whether he had done anything at all. As soon as
the news spread that the treaty had actually arrived, the attacks
were multiplied in number and grew ever more bitter as the Senate
consulted. The popular mind was so worked up that in Boston a British
vessel had been burned on suspicion that she was a privateer, while in
New York there had been street fights and rioting because of an insult
to a French flag. In such a state of feeling, artificially stimulated
and ingeniously misled, the most brilliant diplomatic triumph would
have had but slight chance of approval. Jay's moderate achievement
was better than his enemies expected, but it was sufficient for their
purpose, and the popular fury blazed up and ran through the country,
like a whirlwind of fire over the parched prairie. Everywhere the
example of Boston was followed, meetings were held, committees
appointed, and memorials against the treaty sent to the President. In
New York Hamilton was stoned when he attempted to speak in favor of
ratification; and less illustrious persons, who ventured to differ
from the crowd, were ducked and otherwise maltreated. Jay was hanged
and burned in effigy in every way that imagination could devise,
and copies of his treaty suffered the same fate at the hands of the
hangman. Feeling ran highest in the larger towns where there was a
mob, but even some of the smaller places and those most Federal in
their politics were carried away. The excitement seems also to have
been confined for the most part to the seaboard, but after all that
was where the bulk of the population lived. The crowd, moreover,
was not led by obscure agitators or by violent and irresponsible
partisans. The Livingstons in New York, Rodney in Delaware, Gadsden
and the Rutledges in South Carolina, were some of the men who guided
the meetings and denounced the treaty. On the other hand, the friends
and supporters of the administration appeared stunned, and for weeks
no opposition to the popular movement except that attempted by
Hamilton was apparent. Even the administration was divided, for
Randolph was as hostile to the treaty as it was possible for a man of
his temperament to be.

The crisis was indeed a serious one. There have been worse in our
history, but this was one of the gravest; and never did a President
stand, so far as any one could see, so utterly alone. With his own
party silenced and even divided, with the opposition rampant, and with
popular excitement at fever heat, Washington was left to take his
course alone and unsupported. It was the severest trial of his
political life, but he met it, as he met the reverses of 1776,
calmly and without flinching. He was always glad to have advice and
suggestions. No man ever sought them or benefited from them more
than he; yet no man ever lived so little dependent on others and so
perfectly capable of standing alone as Washington. After the Senate
had acted, he made up his mind to conditional ratification. He
withheld his signature on hearing of the provision order, and was
ready to sign as soon as that order was withdrawn. Whether he would
make its withdrawal another condition of his signature he had not
determined when he left Philadelphia for Mount Vernon, and on his
arrival he wrote to Randolph: "The conditional ratification (if the
late order, which we have heard of, respecting provision vessels
is not in operation) may, on all fit occasions, be spoken of as my
determination. Unless, from anything you have heard or met with since
I left you, it should be thought more advisable to communicate further
with me on the subject, my opinion respecting the treaty is the same
now that it was, namely, not favorable to it; but that it is better
to ratify it in the manner the Senate have advised, and with the
reservation already mentioned, than to suffer matters to remain as
they are, unsettled." He had already received the Boston resolutions,
and had sent them to his cabinet for their consideration. He did not
for a moment underrate their importance, and he saw that they were
the harbingers of others of like character, although he could not yet
estimate the full violence of the storm of popular disapprobation. On
July 28 he sent his answer to the selectmen of Boston, and it is such
an important paper that it must be given in full. It was as follows:--

    UNITED STATES, _28th of July_, 1795.

    GENTLEMEN: In every act of my administration I have sought the
    happiness of my fellow-citizens. My system for the attainment of
    this object has uniformly been to overlook all personal, local,
    and partial considerations; to contemplate the United States
    as one great whole; to confide that sudden impressions, and
    erroneous, would yield to candid reflections; and to consult only
    the substantial and permanent interests of our country.

    Nor have I departed from this line of conduct on the occasion
    which has produced the resolutions contained in your letter of the
    13th inst.

    Without a predilection for my own judgment, I have weighed with
    attention every argument which has at any time been brought into
    view. But the Constitution is the guide which I never can abandon.
    It has assigned to the President the power of making treaties with
    the advice and consent of the Senate. It was doubtless supposed
    that these two branches of government would combine, without
    passion and with the best means of information, those facts and
    principles upon which the success of our foreign relations will
    always depend; that they ought not to substitute for their own
    convictions the opinions of others, or to seek truth through any
    channel but that of a temperate and well-informed investigation.

    Under this persuasion, I have resolved on the manner of executing
    the duty before me. To the high responsibility attached to it, I
    fully submit; and you, gentlemen, are at liberty to make these
    sentiments known as the grounds of my procedure. While I feel the
    most lively gratitude for the many instances of approbation from
    my country, I can no otherwise deserve it than by obeying the
    dictates of my conscience. With due respect, I am, etc.

It will be noticed that this letter is dated "The United States, 28th
of July," which is, I think, the only instance of the sort to be found
in his letters. In all his vast correspondence there possibly may be
other cases in which he used this method of dating, but one cannot
help feeling that on this occasion at least it had a particular
significance. It was not George Washington writing from Mount Vernon,
but the President, who represented the whole country, pointing out
to the people of Boston that the day of small things and of local
considerations had gone by. This letter served also as a model for
many others. The Boston address had a multitude of successors, and
they were all answered in the same strain. Washington was not a man to
underrate popular feeling, for he knew that the strongest bulwark of
the government was in sound public opinion. On the other hand, he
was one of the rare men who could distinguish between a temporary
excitement, no matter how universal, and an abiding sentiment. In this
case he quietly resisted the noisy popular demand, believing that the
sober second thought of the people would surely be with him; but at
the same time the outcry against the treaty, while it could not make
him waver in his determination to do what he believed to be right,
caused him deep anxiety. The day after he sent his answer to Boston he
wrote to Randolph:--

    "I view the opposition which the treaty is receiving from the
    meetings in different parts of the Union in a very serious light;
    not because there is more weight in any of the objections which
    are made to it than was foreseen at first, for there is none in
    some of them, and gross misrepresentations in others; nor as it
    respects myself personally, for this shall have no influence on
    my conduct, plainly perceiving, and I am accordingly preparing my
    mind for it, the obloquy which disappointment and malice are
    collecting to heap upon me. But I am alarmed at the effect it may
    have on and the advantage the French government may be disposed to
    make of, the spirit which is at work to cherish a belief in them
    that the treaty is calculated to favor Great Britain at their
    expense.... To sum the whole up in a few words I have never,
    since I have been in the administration of the government,
    a crisis, which, in my judgment, has been so pregnant with
    interesting events, nor one from which more is to be apprehended,
    whether viewed on one side or the other."

He already felt that it might be necessary for him to return to
Philadelphia at any moment; and, writing to Randolph to this effect
two days later, he said:--

    "To be wise and temperate, as well as firm, the present crisis
    most eminently calls for. There is too much reason to believe,
    from the pains which have been taken before, at, and since the
    advice of the Senate respecting the treaty, that the prejudices
    against it are more extensive than is generally imagined. This I
    have lately understood to be the case in this quarter from men who
    are of no party, but well-disposed to the present administration.
    Nor should it be otherwise, when no stone has been left unturned
    that could impress on the minds of the people the most arrant
    misrepresentation of facts; that their rights have not only been
    _neglected_, but absolutely _sold_; that there are no reciprocal
    advantages in the treaty; that the benefits are all on the side of
    Great Britain; and, what seems to have had more weight with them
    than all the rest, and to have been most pressed, that the treaty
    is made with the design to oppress the French, in open violation
    of our treaty with that nation, and contrary, too, to every
    principle of gratitude and sound policy. In time, when passion
    shall have yielded to sober reason, the current may possibly turn;
    but, in the mean while, this government, in relation to France and
    England, may be compared to a ship between the rocks of Scylla and
    Charybdis. If the treaty is ratified, partisans of the French, or
    rather of war and confusion, will excite them to hostile measures,
    or at least to unfriendly sentiments; if it is not, there is no
    foreseeing all the consequences which may follow, as it respects
    Great Britain.

    "It is not to be inferred from hence that I am disposed to quit
    the ground I have taken, unless circumstances more imperious than
    have yet come to my knowledge should compel it; for there is but
    one straight course, and that is to seek truth, and pursue it
    steadily. But these things are mentioned to show that a close
    investigation of the subject is more than ever necessary, and
    that there are strong evidences of the necessity of the most
    circumspect conduct in carrying the determination of government
    into effect, with prudence, as it respects our own people, and
    with every exertion to produce a change for the better from Great

    "The memorial seems well designed to answer the end proposed,
    and by the time it is revised and new-dressed, you will probably
    (either in the resolutions which are or will be handed to me, or
    in the newspaper publications, which you promise to be attentive
    to) have seen all the objections against the treaty which have
    any real force in them, and which may be fit subjects for
    representation in a memorial, or in the instructions, or both. But
    how much longer the presentation of the memorial can be delayed
    without exciting unpleasant sensations here, or involving serious
    evils elsewhere, you, who are at the scene of information and
    action, can decide better than I. In a matter, however, so
    interesting and pregnant with consequences as this treaty, there
    ought to be no precipitation; but on the contrary, every step
    should be explored before it is taken, and every word weighed
    before it is uttered or delivered in writing.

    "The form of the ratification requires more diplomatic experience
    and legal knowledge than I possess, or have the means of acquiring
    at this place, and therefore I shall say nothing about it."

Three days later, on August 3, he wrote again to Randolph to say that
the mails had been delayed, and that he had not received the Baltimore
resolutions. He then continued:--

    "The like may be expected from Richmond, a meeting having been
    had there also, at which Mr. Wythe, it is said, was seated as
    moderator; by chance more than design, it is added. A queer chance
    this for the chancellor of the state.

    "All these things do not shake my determination with respect to
    the proposed ratifications, nor will they, unless something more
    imperious and unknown to me should, in the judgment of yourself
    and the gentlemen with you, make it advisable for me to pause."

A few days later Washington was recalled by a letter from Randolph,
and also by a private note from Pickering, which said, mysteriously,
that there was a "special reason" for his immediate return. He had
been expecting to be recalled at any moment, and he now hastened to
Philadelphia, reaching there on August 11. He little dreamed, however,
of what had led his two secretaries, one ignorantly and the other
wittingly, to hasten his return. On the very day when he dated his
letter to the selectmen of Boston as from the United States, the
British minister placed in the hands of Mr. Wolcott, the Secretary of
the Treasury, an intercepted letter from Fauchet, the French minister,
to his own government. This dispatch, bearing the number 10, had come
into the possession of Mr. Hammond by a series of accidents; but the
British government and its representatives were quick to perceive that
the chances of the sea had thrown into their hands a prize of much
more value than many French merchantmen. The dispatch thus rescued
from the water, where its bearer had cast it, was filled with a long
and somewhat imaginative dissertation on political parties in the
United States, and with an account of the whiskey rebellion. It also
gave the substance of some conversations held by the writer with the
Secretary of State. This is not the place, nor would space serve, to
examine the details of this famous dispatch, with reference to the
American statesman whom it incriminated. On its face it showed that
Randolph had held conversations with the French minister which no
American Secretary of State ought to have held with any representative
of a foreign government, and it appeared further that the most obvious
interpretation of certain sentences, in view of the readiness of man
to think ill of his neighbor, was that Randolph had suggested corrupt
practices. Such was the document, implicating in a most serious way
the character of his chief cabinet officer, which Pickering and
Wolcott placed in Washington's hands on his arrival in Philadelphia.

Mr. Conway, in his biography of Randolph, devotes many pages to
explaining what now followed. His explanations show, certainly, a most
refined ingenuity, and form the most elaborate discussion of this
incident that has ever appeared. All this effort and ingenuity are
needless, however, unless the object be to prove that Randolph was
wholly without fault, which is an impossible task. There was
nothing complicated about the affair, and nothing strange about the
President's course, if we confine ourselves to the plain facts and the
order of their occurrence.

Before the treaty went to the Senate, Washington made up his mind to
sign it, and when the Senate ratified conditionally, he still adhered
to his former opinion. Then came the news of the provision order,
and thereupon he paused and withheld his signature, at the same time
ordering a memorial against the order to be prepared. But there is no
evidence whatever that he changed his mind, or that he had determined
to make his signature conditional upon the revocation of the order.
To argue that he had is, in fact, misrepresentation. In the letter
of July 22, on which so much stress was laid afterwards by Randolph,
Washington said that his intention to ratify conditionally was to be
announced, if the provision order was not in operation. Put in the
converse form, his intention was not to be announced if the order
was in operation; but this is very different from saying that his
intention had altered, and that he would not sign unless the order was
revoked. This last idea was Randolph's, but not Washington's. Indeed,
in the very next lines of the same letter he said expressly that his
opinion had not changed, that he did not like the treaty, but that
it was best to ratify. It is a fair inference, no doubt, that he
was considering whether he should change his intention and make his
signature conditional; but if this was the case, it is sure beyond a
peradventure that his original opinion was only confirmed as the days
went by.

He examined with the utmost care all the remonstrances and addresses
that were poured in upon him, and found few solid objections, and none
that he had not already weighed and disposed of. On July 31 he wrote
to Randolph that it was not to be inferred that he was disposed to
quit his ground unless more imperious circumstances than had yet come
to his knowledge should compel him to do so. The provision order was
of course within his knowledge, and therefore had not led him to
change his mind. On August 3 he wrote even more strongly that nothing
had come to his knowledge to shake his determination. In his letter to
Randolph of October 21, giving him full liberty to have and publish
everything he desired for his vindication, Washington said: "You
know that it was my determination to ratify before submission to the
Senate; that the doubts which arose proceeded from the provision
order." Doubts are mentioned here, and not changes of intention. If
he had changed his mind at any time he would have said so, for he was
neither timid nor dishonest, but as a matter of fact he never had
changed his mind. He came to Philadelphia with his mind made up to
ratify, and that being the case, it was clear that further delay would
be wrong and impolitic. The surest way to check the popular excitement
and rally the friends of the administration was to act. Suspense
fostered opposition more than ratification, for most people accept the
inevitable when the deed is done.

The Fauchet letter, therefore, although its revelations astounded and
grieved him, had no effect upon his action, which would have been the
same in any event; for he had said over and over again that he had not
changed his first opinion. In the letter to Randolph, just quoted,
he also said: "And finally you know the grounds on which my ultimate
decision was taken, as the same were expressed to you, the other
secretaries of departments, and the late attorney-general, after a
thorough investigation of the subject in all the aspects in which it
could be placed." As the Fauchet letter was not disclosed to Randolph
until after the treaty had been signed, it was impossible that it
should have been one of the grounds of the President's decision, for
Washington said to him, "You knew the grounds." If we are to suppose
that the Fauchet letter had anything to do with the ratification so
far as the President himself was concerned, we must, in the face of
this letter, set Washington down as a deliberate liar, which is so
wholly impossible that it disposes at once of the theory that he was
driven into signing by a clever British intrigue.

Here as elsewhere the simple and obvious explanation is the true one,
although the whole matter is sufficiently plain on the mere narration
of facts. The treaty was a great public question, to be decided on its
merits, and the only new point raised by the Fauchet dispatch was how
to deal with Randolph himself at this particular juncture. To have
shown the letter to him at once would have been to break the cabinet,
with the treaty unsigned. It would have resulted in much delay,
extending to weeks, unless the President was ready to have an acting
secretary sign both treaty and memorial; and it would have added
during the continued suspense a fresh subject of excitement to the
popular mind. Washington's duty plainly was to carry out his policy
and bring the matter to an immediate conclusion, and, as was his
custom, he did his duty. If, as Mr. Conway thinks, the Fauchet letter
was what compelled the ratification, Washington would have given it
to the world at once, and then, having by this means discredited the
opposition and roused a feeling against the French, would have signed
the treaty. England, of course, had taken advantage of this letter,
and equally of course her minister and his influence were against
Randolph, who was thought to be unfriendly. Hammond intrigued with our
public men just as all the French ministers did. It is humiliating
that such should have been the case, but it was due to our recent
escape from a colonial condition, and to the way in which we allowed
our politics to turn on foreign affairs. Having made up his mind to
ratify and end the question, Washington very properly kept silence
as to the Fauchet letter until the work was done. To do this, it was
necessary of course that he should make no change in his personal
attitude toward Randolph, nor was he obliged to do so, for he was too
just a man to assume Randolph's guilt until his defense had been made.
The ratification was brought before the cabinet at once. There was a
sharp discussion, in which it appeared that Randolph had advanced a
good deal in his hostility to the treaty, a fact not tending to make
the Fauchet business look better; and then ratification was voted, and
a memorial against the provision order was adopted. On August 18 the
treaty was signed, and on the 19th, Washington, in the presence of his
cabinet, placed the Fauchet letter in Randolph's hands. Randolph read
it, made some comments, and asked time to offer suitable explanations.
He then withdrew, and in a few hours sent in his resignation.

There would be no need, so far as Washington is concerned, to say more
on this unfortunate affair of the Secretary of State, were it not for
the recent statements made by Randolph's biographer. In order to clear
his hero, Mr. Conway represents that Washington, knowing Randolph to
be innocent, sacrificed him in great anguish of heart to an imperious
political necessity, while the fact was, that nobody sacrificed
Randolph except himself. He was represented in a dispatch written by
the French minister in a light which, as Washington said, gave rise to
strong suspicions; a moderate statement in which every candid man
who knew anything about the matter has agreed from that day to this.
According to Fauchet, Randolph not only had held conversations wholly
unbecoming his position, but on the same authority he was represented
to have asked for money. That the Secretary of State was corrupt, no
one who knew him, as Jefferson said, for one moment believed. Whether
he disposed of this charge or not, it was plain to his friends, as
it is to posterity, that Randolph was a perfectly honorable man. But
neither his own vindication nor that of his biographer have in the
least palliated or even touched the real error which he committed.

As Secretary of State, the head of the cabinet, and in charge of our
foreign relations, he had, according to Fauchet's dispatch and to his
own admissions, entered into relations with a foreign minister which
ought to have been as impossible as they were discreditable to an
American statesman. That Fauchet believed that Randolph deceived him
did not affect the merits of the case, nor, if true, did it excuse
Randolph, especially as everybody with whom he was brought into
close contact seems at some time or other to have had doubts of his
sincerity. As a matter of fact, Randolph could find no defense except
to attack Washington and discuss our foreign relations, and his
biographer has followed the same line. What was it then that
Washington had actually done which called for assault? He had been put
in possession of an official document which on its face implicated
his Secretary of State in the intrigues of a foreign minister, and
suggested that he was open to corruption. These were the views which
the public, having no personal knowledge of Randolph, would be sure to
take, and as a matter of fact actually took, when the affair became
known. There was a great international question to be settled, and
settled without delay. This was done in a week, during which time
Washington kept silent, as his public duty required. The moment the
treaty was signed he handed Fauchet's dispatch to Randolph and asked
for an explanation. None knew of the dispatch except the cabinet
officers, through whom it had necessarily come. Washington did not
prejudge the case; he did not dismiss Randolph with any mark of his
pleasure, as he would have been quite justified in doing. He simply
asked for explanation, and threw open his own correspondence and
the archives of the department, so that Randolph might have every
opportunity for defense. It is difficult to see how Washington could
have done less in dealing with Randolph, or in what way he could have
shown greater consideration.

Randolph resigned of his own motion, and then cried out against
Washington because he had been obliged to pay the penalty of his own
errors. When it is considered that Washington did absolutely nothing
to Randolph except to hand him Fauchet's dispatch and accept his
consequent resignation, the talk about Randolph's forgiving him
becomes simply ludicrous. Randolph saw his own error, was angry with
himself, and, like the rest of humanity, proceeded to vent his anger
on somebody else, but unfortunately he had the bad taste to turn at
the outset to the newspapers. Like Mr. Snodgrass, he took off his coat
in public and announced in a loud voice that he was going to begin.
The President's only response was to open the archives and bid him
publish everything he desired. Randolph then wrote the President a
private letter, which was angry and impertinent; "full of innuendoes,"
said the recipient. Washington drafted a sharp reply, and then out
of pure kindness withheld it, and let the private letter drop into
silence, whither the bulky "Vindication," which vindicated nobody,
soon followed it. The fact was, that Washington treated Randolph with
great kindness and forbearance. He had known him long; he was fond
of him on his own account as well as his father's; he appreciated
Randolph's talents; but he knew on reading that dispatch, if he had
never guessed it before, that Randolph, although honest and clever,
and certainly not bad, was a dangerously weak man. Others among
our public men had put themselves into relations with foreign
representatives which it is now intolerable to contemplate, but
Randolph, besides being found out at the moment, had, after the
fashion of weak natures, gone further and shown more feebleness than
any one else had. Washington's conduct was so perfectly simple, and
the facts of the case were so plain, that it would seem impossible to
complicate them. The contemporary verdict was harsh, crushing, and
unjust in many respects to Randolph. The verdict of posterity, which
is both gentler and fairer to the secretary, will certainly at the
same time sustain Washington's course at every point as sensible,
direct, and proper.

Only one question remains which demands a word before tracing briefly
the subsequent fate of the Jay treaty, and that is, to know exactly
why the President signed it. The answer is fortunately not difficult.
There was a choice of evils. When Washington determined to send a
special envoy, he said: "My objects are, to prevent a war, if justice
can be obtained by fair and strong representations (to be made by a
special envoy) of the injuries which this country has sustained from
Great Britain in various ways; to put it into a complete state
of military defense; and to provide eventually such measures for
execution as seem to be now pending in Congress, if negotiation in
a reasonable time proves unsuccessful." From these views he never
varied. The treaty was not a perfect one, but it had good features and
was probably, as has been said, the best that could then be obtained.
It settled some vexed questions, and it gave us time. If the United
States could only have time without making undue sacrifice, they could
pass beyond the stage when a foreign war with its consequent suffering
and debt would endanger our national existence. If they could only
have time to grow into a nation, there would be no difficulty in
settling all their disputes with other people satisfactorily, either
by war or negotiation. But if the national bonds were loosened, then
all was lost. It was in this spirit that Washington signed the Jay
treaty; and although there was much in it that he did not like,
and although men were bitterly divided about the ratification, a
dispassionate posterity has come to believe that he was right at the
most difficult if not the most perilous crisis in his career.

The signature of the treaty, however, did not put an end to the
attacks upon it, or upon the action of the Senate and the Executive.
Nevertheless, it turned the tide, and, as Washington foresaw, brought
out a strong movement in its favor. Hamilton began the work by the
publication of the letters of "Camillus." The opposition newspapers
sneered, but after Jefferson had read a few numbers he begged Madison
in alarm to answer them. His fears were well grounded, for the letters
were reprinted in newspapers throughout the country, and their
powerful and temperate arguments made converts and strengthened the
friends of the administration everywhere. The approaching surrender of
the posts gratified the western people when they at last stopped to
think about it. The obnoxious provision order was revoked, and the
traders and merchants found that security and commerce even under
unpleasant restrictions were a great deal better than the uncertainty
and the vexatious hostilities to which they had before been exposed.
Those who had been silent, although friendly to the policy of the
government, now began to meet in their turn and send addresses to
Congress; for in the House of Representatives the last battle was to
be fought.

That body came together under the impression of the agitation and
excitement which had been going on all through the summer. There was a
little wrangling at the opening over the terms to be employed in the
answer to the President's message, and then the House relapsed into
quiet, awaiting the formal announcement of the treaty. At last the
treaty arrived with the addition of the suspending article, and the
President proclaimed it to be the law of the land, and sent a copy to
the House. Livingston, of New York, at once moved a resolution, asking
the President to send in all the papers relating to the negotiation,
and boldly placed the motion on the ground that the House was vested
with a discretionary power as to carrying the treaty into execution.
On this principle the debate went on for three weeks, and then the
resolution passed by 62 to 37. A great constitutional question was
thus raised, for there was no pretense that the papers were really
needed, inasmuch as committees had seen them all, and they contained
practically nothing which was not already known.

Washington took the request into consideration, and asked his cabinet
whether the House had the right, as set forth in the resolutions, to
call for the papers, and if not, whether it was expedient to furnish
them. Both questions were unanimously answered in the negative. The
inquiry was largely formal, and Washington had no real doubts on the
point involved. He wrote to Hamilton: "I had from the first moment,
and from the fullest conviction in my own mind, resolved _to resist
the principle_, which was evidently intended to be established by the
call of the House of Representatives; and only deliberated on the
manner in which this could be done with the least bad consequences."
His only question was as to the method of resistance, and he finally
decided to refuse absolutely, and did so in a message setting forth
his reasons. He said that the intention of the constitutional
convention was known to him, and that they had intended to vest the
treaty-making power exclusively in the Executive and Senate. On
that principle he had acted, and in that belief foreign nations had
negotiated, and the House had hitherto acquiesced. He declared further
that the assent of the House was not necessary to the validity of
treaties; that they had all necessary information; and "as it is
essential to the due administration of the government that the
boundaries fixed by the Constitution should be preserved, a just
regard to the Constitution and to the duty of my office, under all the
circumstances of this case, forbid a compliance with your request."
The question was a difficult one, but there could be no doubt as to
Washington's opinion, and the weight of authority has sustained his
view. From the practical and political side there can be little
question that his position was extremely sound. In a letter to
Carrington he gave the reasons for his action, and no better statement
of the argument in a general way has ever been made. He wrote:--

    "No candid man in the least degree acquainted with the progress
    of this business will believe for a moment that the _ostensible_
    dispute was about papers, or whether the British treaty was a good
    one or a bad one, but whether there should be a treaty at all
    without the concurrence of the House of Representatives. This
    was striking at once, and that boldly, too, at the fundamental
    principles of the Constitution; and, if it were established, would
    render the treaty-making power not only a nullity, but such an
    absolute absurdity as to reflect disgrace on the framers of it.
    For will any one suppose that they who framed, or those who
    adopted, that instrument ever intended to give the power to the
    President and Senate to make treaties, and, declaring that when
    made and ratified they should be the supreme law of the land,
    would in the same breath place it in the power of the House of
    Representatives to fix their vote on them, unless apparent marks
    of fraud or corruption (which in equity would set aside any
    contract) accompanied the measure, or such striking evidence of
    national injury attended their adoption as to make a war or any
    other evil preferable? Every unbiased mind will answer in the

    "What the source and what the object of all this struggle is, I
    submit to my fellow-citizens. Charity would lead me to hope that
    the motives to it would be pure. Suspicions, however, speak
    a different language, and my tongue for the present shall be

No man who has ever held high office in this country had a more real
deference for the popular will than Washington. But he also had always
a keen sensitiveness to the dignity and the prerogatives of the office
which he happened to hold, whether it was that of president or general
of the armies. This arose from no personal feeling, for he was too
great a man ever to worry about his own dignity; but he esteemed the
great offices to which he was called to be trusts, which were to
suffer no injury while in his hands. He regarded the attempt of the
House of Representatives to demand the papers as a matter of right
as an encroachment on the rights of the Executive Department, and he
therefore resisted it at once, and after his usual fashion left no one
in any doubt as to his views. So far as the President was concerned,
the struggle ended here; but it was continued for some time longer in
the House, where the debate went on for a fortnight, with the hostile
majority surely and steadily declining. The current out-doors ran more
and more strongly every day in favor of the administration, until
at last the contest ended with Ames's great speech, and then the
resolution to carry out the treaty prevailed. Washington's policy had
triumphed, and was accepted by the country.

The Jay treaty and its ratification had, however, other results
than mere domestic conflicts. Spain, acting under French influence,
threatened to rescind the Pinckney treaty which had just been made
so advantageously to the United States; but, like most Spanish
performances at that time, these threats evaporated in words, and the
Mississippi remained open. With France, however, the case was very
different. Our demand for the recall of Genet had been met by a
counter-demand for the recall of Morris, to which, of course, we were
obliged to accede, and the question as to the latter's successor was
a difficult and important one. Washington himself had been perfectly
satisfied with the conduct of Morris, but he was also aware that the
known dislike of that brilliant diplomatist to the revolutionary
methods then dominant in Paris had seriously complicated our relations
with France. He wished by all fair means to keep France in good humor,
and he therefore determined that Morris's successor should be a man
whose friendship toward the French republic was well known. His first
choice was Madison, which would have answered admirably, for Madison
was preëminently a safe man. Very unluckily, however, Madison either
could not or would not go, and the President's final choice was by no
means equally good.

It was, of course, most desirable that the new minister should be
_persona grata_ to the republic, but it was vastly more important that
he should be in cordial sympathy with the administration at home,
for no administration ought ever to select for a foreign mission,
especially at a critical moment, any one outside the ranks of its own
supporters. This was the mistake which Washington, from the best of
motives, now committed by appointing James Monroe to be minister to
France. It is one of the puzzles of our history to reconcile the
respectable and common-place gentleman, who for two terms as President
of the United States had less opposition than ever fell to the lot
of any other man in that office, with the violent, unscrupulous, and
extremely light-headed politician who figured as senator from Virginia
and minister to France at the close of the last century. Monroe at
the time of his appointment had distinguished himself chiefly by his
extreme opposition to the administration, and by his intrigues against
Hamilton, which were so dishonestly conducted that they ultimately
compelled the publication of the "Reynolds Pamphlet," a sore trial to
its author, and a lasting blot on the fame of the enemy who made the
publication necessary. From such a man loyalty to the President who
appointed him was hardly to be expected. But there was no reason
to suppose that he would lose his head, and forget that he was an
American, and not a French citizen.

Monroe reached Paris in the summer of 1794. He was publicly received
by the Convention, made an undignified and florid speech, received
the national embrace from the president of the Convention, and then
effected an exchange of flags with more embracings and addresses.
But when he came to ask redress for the wrongs committed against our
merchants, he got no satisfaction. So far as he was concerned, this
appears to have been a matter of indifference, for he at once occupied
himself with the French proposition that we should lend France five
millions of dollars, and France in return was to see to it that we
obtained control of the Spanish possessions in North America. Monroe
fell in with this precious scheme to make the United States a
dependency of France, and received as a reward vast promises as to
what the great republic would do for us. Meantime he regarded with
suspicion Jay's movements in England, and endeavored to obtain
information, if not control, of that negotiation. In this he
completely failed; but he led the French government to believe, first,
that the English treaty would not be made, then that it would not be
ratified, and finally that the House would not make the appropriations
necessary to carry it into effect; and all the time he was
compromising his own government by his absurd efforts to involve it in
an offensive alliance with France. The upshot of it all was that he
was disowned at home, discredited in France, and brought our relations
with that nation into a state of dangerous complication, without
obtaining any redress for our injuries.

Washington at first, little as he liked the theatrical performances
with which Monroe opened his mission, wrote about him with great
moderation to Jay, who was naturally much annoyed by the manner in
which Monroe had tried to interfere with his negotiations. Six months
later, however, Washington saw only too plainly that he had been
mistaken in his minister to France. He wrote to Randolph on July 24,
1795: "The conduct of Mr. Monroe is of a piece with that of the other;
and one can scarcely forbear thinking that these acts are part of a
premeditated system to embarrass the executive government." When it
became clear that Monroe had omitted to explain properly our reasons
for treating with England, that he had held out hopes to the French
government which were totally unauthorized, that he had brought on a
renewal of the hostilities of that government, and that he had placed
us in all ways in the most unenviable light, Washington recalled him,
and appointed Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in his place. By this time
too he was thoroughly disgusted with Monroe's performances, and in his
letter to Pinckney, on July 8, 1796, offering him the appointment to
Paris, he said: "It is a fact too notorious to be denied that the
greatest embarrassments under which the administration of this
government labors proceed from the counter-action of people among
ourselves, who are more disposed to promote the views of another
nation than to establish a national character of their own; and that,
unless the virtuous and independent men of this country will come
forward, it is not difficult to predict the consequences. Such is my
decided opinion." He felt, as he wrote to Hamilton at the close of his
administration, that "the conduct of France towards this country is,
according to my ideas of it, outrageous beyond conception; not to
be warranted by her treaty with us, by the law of nations, by any
principle of justice, or even by a regard to decent appearances." This
was after we had begun to reap the humiliations which Monroe's folly
had prepared for us, and it is easy to understand that Washington
regarded their author with anything but satisfaction or approval.

The culprit himself took a very different view, came home presently
in great wrath, and proceeded to pose as a martyr and compile
a vindication, which he entitled "A View of the Conduct of the
Executive," and which surpassed in bulk any of the vindications in
which that period of our history was prolific. It was published after
Washington had retired to private life, and did not much disturb his
serenity. In a letter to Nicholas, on March 8, 1798, he said: "If the
executive is chargeable with 'premeditating the destruction of Mr.
Monroe in his appointment, because he was the _centre_ around which
the Republican party rallied in the Senate' (a circumstance quite new
to me), it is to be hoped he will give it credit for its lenity toward
that gentleman in having designated several others, not of the Senate,
as victims to this office _before_ the sacrifice of Mr. Monroe was
even had in contemplation. As this must be some consolation to him and
his friends, I hope they will embrace it."

Washington apparently did not think Monroe was worthy of anything more
serious than a little sarcasm, and he was quite content, as he said,
to leave the book to the tribunal to which the author himself had
appealed. He read the book, however, with care, and in his methodical
way he appended a number of notes, which are worth consideration
by all persons interested in the character of Washington. They are
especially to be commended to those who think that he was merely good
and wise and solemn, for it would be difficult to find a better piece
of destructive criticism, or a more ready and thorough knowledge of
complicated foreign relations, than are contained in these brief
notes. His own opinion of Monroe is concisely stated in one of them.
Referring to one of that gentleman's statements he said: "For this
there is no better proof than his own opinion; whilst there is
abundant evidence of his being a mere tool in the hands of the French
government, cajoled and led away always by unmeaning assurances of
friendship." With this brief comment we may leave the Monroe incident.
His appointment was a mistake, and increased existing complications,
which were not finally settled until the next administration.

Monroe's recall was the last act, however, in the long contest of the
Jay treaty, and it was also, as it happened, the last important act in
Washington's foreign policy. That policy has been traced here in its
various branches, but it is worth while to look at it as a whole
before leaving it, in order to see just what the President aimed at
and just what he effected. The guiding principle, which had been with
him from the day when he took command of the army at Cambridge, was to
make the United States independent. The war had achieved this so far
as our connection with England was concerned, but it still remained to
prove to the world that we were an independent nation in fact as well
as in name. For this the neutrality policy was adopted and carried
out. We were not only to cease from dependence on the nations of
Europe, but we were to go on our own way with a policy of our own
wholly apart from them. It was also necessary to lift up our own
politics, to detach our minds from those of other nations, and to make
us truly Americans. All this Washington's policy did so far as it was
possible to do it in the time given to him. A new generation had to
come upon the stage before our politics were finally taken out of
colonialism and made national and American, but the idea was that
of the first President. It was the foresight and the courage of
Washington which at the outset placed the United States in their
relations with foreign nations on the ground of a firm, independent,
and American policy.

His foreign policy had, however, some immediate practical results
which were of vast importance. In December, 1795, he wrote to Morris:
"It is well known that peace has been (to borrow a modern phrase)
the order of the day with me since the disturbances in Europe first
commenced. My policy has been, and will continue to be while I have
the honor to remain in the administration, to maintain friendly terms
with, but to be independent of, all the nations of the earth; to share
in the broils of none; to fulfill our own engagements; to supply the
wants and be carriers for them all; being thoroughly convinced that it
is our policy and interest to do so. Nothing short of self-respect
and that justice which is essential to a national character ought to
involve us in war; for sure I am, if this country is preserved in
tranquillity twenty years longer, it may bid defiance in a just cause
to any power whatever; such in that time would be its population,
wealth, and resources."

He wanted time, but he wanted space also for his country; and if we
look for a moment at the results of his foreign policy we see clearly
how he got both. The time gained by peace without any humiliating
concessions is plain enough. If we look a little further and a little
deeper, we can see how he compassed his other object. The true and the
first mission of the American people was, in Washington's theory, the
conquest of the continent which stretched away wild and silent behind
them, for in that direction lay the sure road to national greatness.
The first step was to bind by interest, trade, and habit of
communication the Atlantic States with the settlements beyond the
mountains, and for this he had planned canals and highways in the days
of the confederation. The next step was to remove every obstacle which
fettered the march of American settlement; and for this he rolled
back the Indian tribes, patiently negotiated with Spain until the
Mississippi was opened, and at great personal sacrifice and trial
signed the Jay treaty, and obtained the surrender of the British
posts. When Washington went out of office, the way was open to the
western movement; the dangers of disintegration by reason of foreign
intrigues on the frontier were removed; peace had been maintained; and
the national sentiment had had opportunity for rapid growth. France
had discovered that, although she had been our ally, we were not her
dependants; other nations had been brought to perceive that the United
States meant to have a foreign policy all its own; and the American
people were taught that their first duty was to be Americans and
nothing else. There is no need to comment on or to praise the
greatness of a policy with such objects and results as these. The mere
summary is enough, and it speaks for itself and for its author in a
way which makes words needless.



Washington was not chosen to office by a political party; he
considered parties to be perilous things, and he entered the
presidency determined to have nothing to do with them. Yet, as has
already been pointed out, he took the members of his cabinet entirely
from one of the two parties which then existed, and which had been
produced by the divisions over the Constitution and its adoption. To
this charge he would no doubt have replied that the parties caused
by the constitutional differences had ceased to exist when that
instrument went into operation, and that it was to be supposed that
all men were then united in support of the government. Accepting this
view of it, it only remains to see how he fared when new and purely
political parties, as was inevitable, sprang into active life.

Whatever his own opinions may have been as to parties and
party-strife, Washington was under no delusions in regard either to
human nature or to himself, and he had no expectation that everything
he said or did would meet with universal approbation. He well knew
that there would be dissatisfaction, and no man ever took high office
with a mind more ready to bear criticism and to profit by it. Three
months after his inauguration he wrote to his friend David Stuart:
"I should like to be informed of the public opinion of both men and
measures, and of none more than myself; not so much of what may be
thought commendable parts, if any, of my conduct, as of those which
are conceived to be of a different complexion. The man who means to
commit no wrong will never be guilty of enormities; consequently he
can never be unwilling to learn what are ascribed to him as foibles.
If they are really such, the knowledge of them in a well-disposed mind
will go half-way towards a reform. If they are not errors, he can
explain and justify the motives of his actions." This readiness
to hear criticism and this watching of public opinion were
characteristic, for his one desire was to know the truth and never
deceive himself. His journey through New England in the autumn of that
year, his visit to Rhode Island a year later, and his trip through the
southern States in the spring of 1791, had a double motive. He wished
to bring home to the people the existence and the character of the new
government by his appearance among them as its representative; and he
desired also to learn from his own observation, and from inquiries
made on the spot, what the people thought of the administration and
its policies, and of the doings of Congress. He was a keen observer
and a good gatherer of information; for he was patient and persistent,
and had that best of all gifts for getting at public opinion, an
absolute and cheerful readiness to listen to advice from any one. His
travels all had the same result. In the South as in New England he
found that the people were pleased with the new government, and
contented with the prosperity which began at once to flow from the
adoption of a stable national system.

More credit, if anything, was given to it than it really deserved;
for, as he had written to Lafayette before the Constitution went into
effect, "Many blessings will be attributed to our new government which
are now taking their rise from that industry and frugality into which
the people have been forced from necessity." Whether this were true or
not, the new government was entitled to the benefit of all accidents,
and Washington's correct conclusion was that the great body of the
people were heartily with him and his administration. But he was
also quite aware that all the criticism was not friendly, and as
the measures of the government one by one passed Congress, he saw
divisions of sentiment appear, slight at first, but deepening and
hardening with each successive contest. Indeed, he had not been in
office a year when he wrote a long letter to Stuart deploring the
sectionalism which had begun to show itself. The South was complaining
that everything was done in the interest of the northern and eastern
States, and against this idea Washington argued with great force. He
was especially severe on the unreasonable and childish character of
such grievances, and he attributed the feeling in certain States
largely to the outcries of persons who had come home disappointed
in some personal matter from the seat of government. "It is to be
lamented," he said, "that the editors of the different gazettes in the
Union do not more generally and more correctly (instead of stuffing
their papers with scurrility and nonsensical declamation, which few
would read if they were apprised of the contents) publish the debates
in Congress on all great national questions. And this, with no
uncommon pains, every one of them might do." Washington evidently
believed that there was no serious danger of the people going wrong
if they were only fully informed. But the able editors of that day no
doubt felt that they and their correspondents were better fitted to
enlighten the public than any one else could be, and there is no
evidence that any of them ever followed the President's suggestion.

The jealousies and the divisions in Congress, which Washington watched
with hearty dislike on account of their sectional character, began, as
is well known, with the financial measures of the Treasury. As time
went on they became steadily more marked and better defined, and at
last they spread to the cabinet. Jefferson had returned to take his
place as Secretary of State after an absence of many years, and
during that time he had necessarily dropped out of the course of
home politics. He came back with a very moderate liking for the
Constitution, and an intention undoubtedly to do his best as a member
of the cabinet. His first and most natural impulse, of course, was
to fall in with the administration of which he was a part; and so
completely did he do this that it was at his table that the famous
bargain was made which assumed the state debts and took the capital to
the banks of the Potomac.

Exactly what led to the first breach between Jefferson and Hamilton,
whose financial policy was then in the full tide of success, is not
now very easy to determine. Jefferson's action was probably due to a
mixture of motives and a variety of causes, as is generally the case
with men, even when they are founders of the democratic party. In the
first place, Jefferson very soon discovered that Hamilton was
looked upon as the leader in the cabinet and in the policies of the
administration, and this fact excited a very natural jealousy on his
part, because he was the official head of the President's advisers.
In the second place, it was inevitable that Jefferson should dislike
Hamilton, for there never were two men more unlike in character and in
their ways of looking at things. Hamilton was bold, direct, imperious,
and masculine; he went straight to his mark, and if he encountered
opposition he either rode over it or broke it down. When Jefferson
met with opposition he went round it or undermined it; he was adroit,
flexible, and extremely averse to open fighting. There was also good
ground for a genuine difference of opinion between the two secretaries
in regard to the policy of the government. Jefferson was a thorough
representative of the great democratic movement of the time. At bottom
his democracy was of the sensible, practical American type, but he
had come home badly bitten by many of the wild notions which at that
moment pervaded Paris. A man of much less insight than Jefferson would
have had no difficulty in perceiving that Hamilton and his
friends were not in sympathy with these ideas. They hoped for the
establishment of a republic, but they desired for it a highly
energetic and centralized government not devoid of aristocratic
tendencies. This fundamental difference of opinion, increased as it
was by personal jealousies, soon put Jefferson, therefore, into an
attitude of hostility to the men who were then guiding the policy of
the government. The new administration had been so successful that
there was at first practically no party of opposition, and the task
before Jefferson involved the creation of a party, the formulation of
principles, and the definition of issues, with appropriate shibboleths
for popular consumption. Jefferson knew that Hamilton and all who
fought with him were as sincerely in favor of a republic as he himself
was; but his unerring genius in political management told him that he
could never raise a party or make a party-cry out of the statement
that, while he favored a democratic republic, the men to whom he was
opposed preferred one of a more aristocratic caste. It was necessary
to have something much more highly seasoned than this. So he took the
ground that his opponents were monarchists, bent on establishing a
monarchy in this country, and were backed by a "corrupt squadron"
in Congress in the pay of the Treasury. This was of course utter
nonsense, but it served its purpose admirably. Jefferson, indeed,
shouted these cries so much that he almost came to believe in them
himself, and sympathetic writers to this day repeat them as if they
had reality instead of having been mere noise to frighten the unwary.
The prime object of it all was to make the great leaders odious by
connecting them in the popular mind with the royal government that had
been overthrown.

Jefferson's first move was a covert one. In the spring of 1791 he
received Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man," and straightway sent the
pamphlet to the printer with a note of approbation reflecting upon
John Adams. The pamphlet promptly appeared in a reprint with the
note prefixed. It made much stir, and the published approval of the
Secretary of State excited a great deal of criticism, much of which
was very hostile. Jefferson thereupon expressed extreme surprise that
his note had been printed, and on the plea of explaining the matter
wrote to Washington a letter, in which he declared that his friend
Mr. Adams, for whom he had a most cordial esteem, was an apostate to
hereditary monarchy and nobility. He further described his old friend
as a political heretic and as the bellwether Davila, upon whom and
whose writings Mr. Adams had recently been publishing some discourses.
It is but fair to say that no more ingenious attack on the
Vice-President could have been made, but the purpose of it was simply
to arrest the public attention for the real struggle which was to

The true object of all these movements was to rally a party and break
down Jefferson's great colleague in the cabinet. The "Rights of Man"
served to start the discussion; and the next step was to bring on from
New York Philip Freneau, a verse-writer and journalist, and make him
translating clerk in the State Department, and editor of an opposition
newspaper known as the "National Gazette." The new journal proceeded
to do its work after the fashion of the time. It teemed with abuse
not only of Hamilton and Adams and all the supporters of the treasury
measures, denouncing them as "monarchists," "aristocrats," and "a
corrupt squadron," but it even began a series of coarse assaults
upon the President himself. Jefferson, of course, denied that he had
anything to do with the writing in the newspaper, and Freneau made
oath at the time that the Secretary wrote nothing; but in his old age
he declared that Jefferson wrote or dictated all the most abusive
articles, and he showed a file of the "Gazette" with these articles
marked. Strict veracity was not the strongest characteristic of either
Freneau or Jefferson, and it is really of but little consequence
whether Freneau was lying in his old age or in the prime of life. The
undoubted facts of the case are enough to fix the responsibility upon
Jefferson, where it belongs. The editor of a newspaper devoted
to abusing the administration was brought to Philadelphia by the
Secretary of State, was given a place in his department, and was his
confidential friend. Jefferson himself took advantage of his
position to gather material for attacks upon his chief, and upon his
colleagues, to whom he was bound to be loyal by every rule which
dictates the conduct of honorable men. He did not, moreover, content
himself with this outside work. It has been too much overlooked that
Jefferson, in addition to forming a party and organizing attacks upon
the Secretary of the Treasury and his friends, sought in the first
instance to break down Hamilton in the cabinet, to deprive him of the
confidence of Washington, and by driving him from the administration
to get control himself. At no time did Jefferson ever understand
Washington, but he knew him well enough to be quite aware that he
would never give up a friend like Hamilton on account of any newspaper
attacks. He therefore took a more insidious method.

Knowing that Washington was in the habit of consulting with old
friends at home of all shades of opinion in regard to public affairs,
he contrived through their agency to have his own charges against
Hamilton laid before the President. He also, to make perfectly sure,
wrote himself to Washington, candidly setting forth outside criticism,
and his letter took the form of a well-arranged indictment of the
Treasury measures. This method had the advantage of assailing Hamilton
without incurring any responsibility, and the charges were skilfully
formulated and ingeniously constructed to raise in the mind of the
reader every possible suspicion. At this point Washington comes for
the first time into the famous controversy from which our two great
political parties were born. He did exactly what Jefferson would not
have done, sent the charges all duly formulated to Hamilton, and asked
him his opinion about them. As the accusations thus made against the
policies of the government and the Secretary of the Treasury were all
mere wind of the "monarchist" and "corrupt squadron" order, Hamilton
disposed of them with very little difficulty. The whole proceeding,
if Jefferson was aware of it at the time, must have been a great
disappointment to him. But his mistake was the natural error of an
ingenious man wasting his efforts on one of great directness and
perfect simplicity of character. Hamilton's answer was what Washington
undoubtedly expected. He knew the hollowness of the attack, but none
the less he was made anxious by it as an indication of the serious
party divisions rising about him. This, however, was but the
beginning, and he was soon to have much more direct evidence of the
grave nature of a political conflict, which he then could not bring
himself to believe was irrepressible.

Hamilton, on his side, was not the most patient of men, and although
he bore the attacks of Frenean for some time in silence he finally
retaliated. He did not get any one to do his fighting for him, but
under a thin disguise proceeded to answer in Fenno's newspaper the
abuse of the "National Gazette." He was the best political writer in
the country, and when he struck, his blows told. Jefferson winced and
cried out under the punishment, but it would have been more dignified
in Hamilton to have kept out of the newspapers. Still there was the
fight. It had gone from the cabinet to the press, and the public knew
that the two principal secretaries were at swords' points and were
marshaling behind them strong political forces. The point had been
reached where the President was compelled to interfere unless he
wished his administration to be thoroughly discredited by the bitter
and open conflicts of its members.

He wrote to both secretaries in a grave and almost pathetic tone of
remonstrance, urging them to abandon their quarrel, and, sinking minor
differences, to work with him for the success of the Constitution to
which they were both devoted. Each man replied after his fashion.
Hamilton's letter was short and straight-forward. He could not profess
to have changed his opinion as to the conduct or purpose of his
colleague, but he regretted the strife which had arisen, and promised
to do all that was in his power to allay it by ceasing from further
attacks. Jefferson wrote at great length, controverting Hamilton's
published letters in a way which showed that he was still smarting
from the well-aimed shafts. He also contrived to make his own defense
the vehicle for a renewal of all his accusations against the Treasury,
and he wound up by saying that he looked forward to retirement with
the longing of "a wave-worn mariner," and that he should reserve any
further fighting that he had to do until he was out of office. Soon
after he followed this letter with another, containing a collection
of extracts from his own correspondence while in Paris, to show his
devotion to the Constitution. One is irresistibly reminded by all
this of the Player Queen--"The lady protests too much, methinks."
Washington had not accused Jefferson of lack of loyalty to the
Constitution, indeed he had made no accusations against him of any
kind; but Jefferson knew that his own position was a false one, and
he could not refrain from taking a defensive tone. Washington, in his
reply, said that he needed no proofs of Jefferson's fidelity to the
Constitution, and reiterated his earnest desire for an accommodation
of all differences. "I will frankly and solemnly declare," he said,
"that I believe the views of both of you to be pure and well-meant,
and that experience only will decide with respect to the salutariness
of the measures which are the subjects of dispute.... I could, and
indeed was about to, add more on this interesting subject, but will
forbear, at least for the present, after expressing a wish that the
cup which has been presented to us may not be snatched from our
lips by a discordance of action, when I am persuaded there is no
discordance in your views."

The difficulty was that there was not only discordance in the views of
the two secretaries, but a fundamental political difference, extending
throughout the people, which they typified. The accommodation of views
and the support of the Constitution could only mean a support of
Washington's administration and its measures. Those measures not
only had the President's approval, but they were in many respects
peculiarly his own, and in them he rightly saw the success and
maintenance of the Constitution. But, unfortunately for the interests
of harmony, these measures were either devised or ardently sustained
by the Secretary of the Treasury. They were not the measures of the
Secretary of State, and received from him either lukewarm support
or active, if furtive, hostility. The only peace possible was in
Jefferson's giving in his entire adherence to the policies of
Washington and Hamilton, which were radically opposed to his own. In
one word, a real, profound, and inevitable party division had come,
and it had found the opposing chiefs side by side in the cabinet.

Against this conclusion Washington struggled hard. He had come in as
the representative and by the votes of the whole people, and he shrank
from any step which would seem to make him lean on a party for support
in his administration. He had made up his cabinet with what he very
justly considered the strongest material. He believed that a breaking
up of the cabinet or a change in its membership would be an injury to
the cause of good government, and he was so entirely single-minded
in his own views and wishes, that, with all his knowledge of human
nature, he found it difficult to understand how any one could differ
from him materially. Moreover, having started with the firm intention
of governing without party, he determined, with his usual persistence,
to carry it through, if it were possible. When party feeling had
once developed, and division had sprung up between the two principal
officers of his cabinet, no greater risk could have been run than
that which Washington took in refusing to make the changes which were
necessary to render the administration harmonious. With any lesser
man, such a perilous experiment would have failed and brought with it
disastrous consequences. There is no greater proof of the force of his
will and the weight and strength of his character than the fact that
he held in his cabinet Jefferson and Hamilton, despite their hatred
for each other and each other's principles, and that he not only
prevented any harm, but actually drew great results from the
talents of each of them. Yet, with all his strength of grasp, this
ill-assorted combination could not last, although Washington resisted
the inevitable in a surprising way, and he even begged Jefferson to
remain when the impossibility of doing so had become quite clear to
that gentleman.

The remonstrance in regard to the Freneau matter had but a temporary
effect. Hamilton stopped his attacks, it is true; but Jefferson did
not discontinue his, and he set on foot a movement which was designed
to destroy his rival's public and private reputation. Hamilton met
this attack in Congress, where he refuted it signally; and although
the ostensible movers were members of the House, the defeat recoiled
on the Secretary of State. Having failed in Congress and before the
public to ruin his opponent, and having failed equally to shake
Washington's confidence in Hamilton or the latter's influence in the
administration, Jefferson made up his mind that the cabinet was no
longer the place for him. He became more than ever satisfied that
he was a "wave-worn mariner," and after some hesitation he finally
resigned and transferred his political operations to another field. A
year later Hamilton, from very different reasons of a purely private
character, followed him.

Meantime many events had occurred which all tended to show the growing
intensity of party divisions, and which were not without their effect
upon the mind of the President. In 1792 it became necessary to
consider the question of the approaching election, and all elements
united in urging upon Washington the absolute necessity of accepting
the presidency a second time. Hamilton and the Federalists, of course,
desired Washington's reëlection, because they regarded him as their
leader, as the friend and supporter of their measures, and as the
great bulwark of the government. Jefferson, who was equally urgent,
felt that in the unformed condition of his own party the withdrawal of
Washington, in addition to its injury to the general welfare,
would leave his incoherent forces at the mercy of an avowed and
thorough-going Federalist administration.

So it came about that Washington received another unanimous election.
He had no great longing for public office, but at this time he seems
to have been not without a desire to continue President, in order that
he might carry his measures to completion. In the unanimity of the
choice he took a perfectly natural pleasure, for besides the personal
satisfaction, he could not but feel that it greatly strengthened his
hands in doing the work which he had at heart. On January 20, 1793,
he wrote to Henry Lee: "A mind must be insensible, indeed, not to be
gratefully impressed by so distinguished and honorable a testimony of
public approbation and confidence; and as I suffered my name to be
contemplated on this occasion, it is more than probable that I should,
for a moment, have experienced chagrin if my reëlection had not been
by a pretty respectable vote. But to say I feel pleasure from the
prospect of commencing another tour of duty would be a departure from
the truth." Some time was still to pass before Washington, either by
word or deed, would acknowledge himself to be the chief or even a
member of a party; but before he entered the presidency a second time,
he had no manner of doubt that a party existed which was opposed to
him and to all his measures.

The establishment of the government and the treasury measures had
very quickly rallied a strong party, which kept the name that it had
adopted while fighting the battles of the Constitution. They were
known in their own day, and have been known ever since to history, as
the Federalists. The opposition, composed chiefly of those who had
resisted the adoption of the Constitution, were discredited at the
very start by the success of the union and the new government. When
Jefferson took hold of them they were disorganized and even nameless,
having no better appellation than that of "Anti-Federalists." In
the process of time their great chief gave them a name, a set of
principles, a war-cry, an organization, and at last an overwhelming
victory. They began to take on something like form and coherence in
resisting Hamilton's financial measures; but the success of his policy
was so dazzling that they were rather cowed by it, and were left by
their defeat little better off in the way of discipline than before.
The French Revolution and its consequences, including a war with
England, gave them a much better opportunity. It is melancholy to
think that American parties should have entered upon their first
struggle purely on questions of foreign politics. The only explanation
is to repeat that we were still colonists in all but name and
allegiance, and it was Washington's task not only to establish a
dignified and independent policy of his own abroad, but to beat down
colonial politics at home.

In the first burst of rejoicing over the uprising of the French
people, no divisions were apparent; but the arrival of Genet was the
signal for their beginning. The extraordinary spectacle was then
presented of an American party arrayed against the administration
under the lead of the French minister, and with the strong, although
covert sympathy of the Secretary of State. The popular feeling in fact
was so strongly with France that the new party seemed on the
surface to have almost universal support. The firm attitude of the
administration and Washington's unyielding adherence to his policy of
neutrality gave them their first serious check, but also embittered
their attacks. In the first three years of the government almost every
one refrained from attacking Washington personally. The unlimited love
and respect in which he was held were the principal causes of this
moderation, but even those opponents who were not influenced by
feelings of respect were restrained by a wholesome prudence from
bringing upon themselves the odium of being enemies of the President.

The fiction that the king could do no wrong was carried to the last
extreme by the Long Parliament when they made war on Charles in order
to remove him from evil counselors. It was, no doubt, the exercise of
a wise conservatism in that instance; but in the United States, and
in the ordinary condition of politics, such a position was of course
untenable. The President was responsible for his cabinet and for the
measures of his administration, and it was impossible to separate them
long, even when the chief magistrate was so great and so well-beloved
as Washington. Freneau, editing his newspaper from the office of the
Secretary of State, seems to have been the first to break the line. He
passed speedily from attacks on measures to attacks on men, and among
the latter he soon included the President. Washington had had too much
experience of slander and abuse during the revolutionary war to be
worried by them. But Freneau took pains to send him copies of his
newspapers, a piece of impertinence which apparently led to a little
vigorous denunciation, the account of which seems probable, although
our only authority is in Jefferson's "Ana." As the attacks went on and
were extended, and when Bache joined in with the "Aurora," Washington
was not long in coming to the unpleasant conclusion that all this
opposition proceeded from a well-formed plan, and was the work of
a party which designed to break down his measures and ruin his
administration. All statesmen intrusted in a representative system
with the work of government are naturally prone to think that their
opponents are also the enemies of the public welfare, and Washington
was no exception to the rule. Such an opinion is indeed unavoidable,
for a public man must have faith that his own measures are the best
for the country, and if he did not, he would be but a faint-hearted
representative, unfit to govern and unable to lead. History has agreed
with Washington in his view of the work of his administration, and has
set it down as essential to the right and successful foundation of the
government. It is not to be wondered at that at the moment Washington
should regard a party swayed by the French minister and seeking to
involve us in war as unpatriotic and dangerous. He even thought that
one probable solution of Genet's conduct was that he was the tool and
not the leader of the party which sustained him. In fact, his general
view of the opposition was marked by that perfect clearness which was
characteristic of all his opinions when he had fully formed them. In
July, 1793, he wrote to Henry Lee:--

"That there are in this as well as in all other countries,
discontented characters, I well know; as also that these characters
are actuated by very different views: some good, from an opinion that
the general measures of the government are impure; some bad, and, if I
might be allowed to use so harsh an expression, diabolical, inasmuch
as they are not only meant to impede the measures of that government
generally, but more especially, as a great means toward the
accomplishment of it, to destroy the confidence which it is necessary
for the people to place, until they have unequivocal proof of demerit,
in their public servants. In this light I consider myself whilst I
am an occupant of office; and if they were to go further and call me
their slave during this period, I would not dispute the point.

"But in what will this abuse terminate? For the result, as it respects
myself, I care not; for I have a consolation within that no earthly
efforts can deprive me of, and that is, that neither ambition
nor interested motives have influenced my conduct. The arrows of
malevolence, therefore, however barbed and well pointed, never can
reach the most vulnerable part of me; though, whilst I am up as a
_mark_, they will be continually aimed. The publications in Freneau's
and Bache's papers are outrages on common decency, and they progress
in that style in proportion as their pieces are treated with contempt,
and are passed by in silence by those at whom they are aimed. The
tendency of them, however, is too obvious to be mistaken by men of
cool and dispassionate minds, and, in my opinion, ought to alarm them,
because it is difficult to prescribe bounds to the effect."

He was not much given, however, to talking about his assailants. If he
said anything, it was usually only in the way of contemptuous sarcasm,
as when he wrote to Morris: "The affairs of this country _cannot go
amiss_. There are _so many watchful guardians of them_, and such
_infallible guides_, that one is at no loss for a director at every
turn. But of these matters I shall say little." If these attacks had
any effect on him, it was only to make him more determined in carrying
out his purposes. In the first skirmish, which ended in the recall
of Genet, he not only prevailed, but the French minister's audacity
especially in venturing to appeal to the people against their
President, demoralized the opposition and brought public opinion round
to the side of the administration with an overwhelming force.

Genet's mischief, however, did not end with him. He had sown the seeds
of many troubles, and among others the idea of societies on the model
of the famous Jacobin Club of Paris. That American citizens should
have so little self-respect as to borrow the political jargon and ape
the political manners of Paris was sad enough. To put on red caps,
drink confusion to tyrants, sing _Ça ira_, and call each other
"citizen," was foolish to the verge of idiocy, but it was at least
harmless. When, however, they began to form "democratic societies"
on the model of the Jacobins, for the defense of liberty against a
government which the people themselves had made, they ceased to be
fatuous and became mischievous. These societies, senseless imitations
of French examples, and having no real cause to defend liberty, became
simply party organizations, with a strong tendency to foster license
and disorder. Washington regarded them with unmixed disgust, for he
attributed to them the agitation and discontent of the settlers beyond
the mountains, which threatened to embroil us with Spain, and he
believed also that the much more serious matter of the whiskey
rebellion was their doing. After having exhausted every reasonable
means of concession and compromise, and having concentrated the best
public opinion of the country behind him, he resolved to put down this
"rebellion" with a strong hand, and he wrote to Henry Lee, just as
he was preparing to take the last step: "It is with equal pride and
satisfaction I add that, as far as my information extends, this
insurrection is viewed with universal indignation and abhorrence,
except by those who have never missed an opportunity, by side-blows
or otherwise, to attack the general government; and even among these
there is not a spirit hardy enough yet openly to justify the daring
infractions of law and order; but by palliatives they are attempting
to suspend all proceedings against the insurgents, until Congress
shall have decided on the case, thereby intending to gain time, and,
if possible, to make the evil more extensive, more formidable, and, of
course, more difficult to counteract and subdue.

"I consider this insurrection as the first formidable fruit of the
democratic societies, brought forth, I believe, too prematurely for
their own views, which may contribute to the annihilation of them."

The insurrection vanished on the advance of the forces of the United
States. It had been formidable enough to alarm all conservative
people, and its inglorious end left the opposition, which had given it
a certain encouragement, much discredited. This matter being settled,
Washington determined to strike next at what he considered the chief
sources of the evil, the clubs, which, to use his own words, "were
instituted for the express purpose of poisoning the minds of the
people of this country, and making them discontented with the
government." Accordingly, in his speech to the next Congress he
denounced the democratic societies. After tracing the course of the
whiskey rebellion, he said:--

"And when in the calm moments of reflection they [the citizens of
the United States] shall have traced the origin and progress of the
insurrection, let them determine whether it has not been fomented by
combinations of men, who, careless of consequences, and disregarding
the unerring truth, that those who rouse cannot always appease a civil
convulsion, have disseminated, from an ignorance or perversion
of facts, suspicions, jealousies, and accusations of the whole

The opposition both in Congress and in the newspapers shrieked loudly
over this plain speaking; but when Washington struck a blow, it was
usually well timed, and the present instance was no exception. Coming
immediately after the failure of the insurrection, and the triumph of
the government, this strong expression of the President's disapproval
had a fatal effect upon the democratic societies. They withered away
with the rapidity of weeds when their roots have been skillfully cut.

After this, even if Washington still refused to consider himself the
head of a party, the opposition no longer had any doubts on that
point. They not only regarded him as the chief of the Federalists, but
also, and with perfect justice, as their own most dangerous enemy,
and the man who had dealt them and their cause the most deadly blows.
Whatever restraint they may have hitherto placed upon themselves in
dealing with him personally, they now abandoned, and the opportunity
for open war soon came to them in the vexed question of the British
treaty, where they occupied much better ground than in the Genet
affair, and commanded much more popular sympathy. Their orators did
not hesitate to say that the conduct of the President in this affair
had been improper and monarchical, and that he ought to be impeached.
After the treaty was signed, the "Aurora" declared that the President
had violated the Constitution, and made a treaty with a nation
abhorred by our people; that he answered the respectful remonstrances
of Boston and New York as if he were the omnipotent director of a
seraglio, and had thundered contempt upon the people with as much
confidence as if he sat upon the throne of "Industan."

All these remarks and many more of like tenor have been gathered
together and very picturesquely arranged by Mr. McMaster, in whose
volumes they may be studied with advantage by any one who has doubts
as to Washington's political position. It is not probable that the
writer of the brilliant diatribe just quoted had any very distinct
idea about either seraglios or "Industan," but he, and others of like
mind, probably took pleasure in the words, as did the old woman who
always loved to hear Mesopotamia mentioned. Other persons, however,
were more definite in their statements. John Beckley, who had once
been clerk of the House, writing under the very opposite signature of
"A Calm Observer," declared that Washington had been overdrawing his
salary in defiance of law, and had actually stolen in this way $4,750.
Such being the case, the "Calm Observer" very naturally inquired:
"What will posterity say of the man who has done this thing? Will it
not say that the mask of political hypocrisy has been worn by Caesar,
by Cromwell, and by Washington?" Another patriot, also of the
Democratic party, declared that the President had been false to
a republican government. He said that Washington maintained the
seclusion of a monk and the supercilious distance of a tyrant; and
that the concealing carriage drawn by supernumerary horses expressed
the will of the President, and defined the loyal duty of the people.

The support of Genet, the democratic societies, and now this concerted
and bitter opposition to the Jay treaty, convinced Washington, if
conviction were needed, that he could carry on his administration only
by the help of those who were thoroughly in sympathy with his policy
and purposes. When Jefferson left the State Department, the President
promoted Randolph, and put Bradford, a Federalist, in the place of
Attorney-General. When Hamilton left the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott,
Hamilton's right-hand man, and the staunchest of party men, was
given the position thus left vacant. If Randolph had remained in the
cabinet, he would have become a Federalist. Like all men disposed to
turn, when he was compelled to jump he sprang far, as was shown by
his signing the treaty and memorial, both of which he strongly
disapproved. He was quite ready to fall in with the rest of the
cabinet, but on account of the Fauchet dispatch he resigned. Then
Washington, after offering the portfolio to several persons known to
be in hearty sympathy with him, took the risk of giving it to Timothy
Pickering, who was by no means a safe leader, rather than take any
chance of getting another adviser who was not entirely of his own way
of thinking. At the same time he gave the secretaryship of war to
James McHenry, a most devoted personal friend and follower. He still
held back from calling himself a party chief, but he had discovered,
as William of Orange discovered, that he could not, even with his iron
will and lofty intent, overcome the impossible, alter human nature,
or carry on a successful government under a representative system,
without the assistance of a party. He stated his conclusion with his
wonted plainness in a letter to Pickering written in September, 1795,
in the midst of the struggle over the treaty. "I shall not," he said,
"whilst I have the honor to administer the government, bring a man
into any office of consequence knowingly, whose political tenets are
adverse to the measures which the general government are pursuing; for
this, in my opinion, would be a sort of political suicide. That it
would embarrass its movements is most certain." A terser statement of
the doctrine of party government it would be difficult to find, and
in the conduct of Monroe and the course of the opposition journals
Washington had ample proofs of the soundness of his theory.

If he had needed to be strengthened in his determination, his
opponents furnished the requisite aid. In February, 1796, the House
refused to adjourn on his birthday for half an hour, in order to go
and pay him their respects, as had been the pleasant custom up to that
time. The Democrats of that day were in no confusion of mind as to the
party to which Washington belonged, and they did not hesitate to put
this deliberate slight upon him in order to mark their dislike. This
was not the utterance of a newspaper editor, but the well-considered
act of the representatives of a party in Congress. Party feeling,
indeed, could hardly have gone further; and this single incident is
sufficient to dispel the pleasing delusion that party strife and
bitterness are the product of modern days, and of more advanced forms
of political organization.

Yet despite all these attacks there can be no doubt that Washington's
hold upon the masses of the people was substantially unshaken. They
would have gladly seen him assume the presidency for the third time,
and if the test had been made, thousands of men who gave their votes
to the opposition would have still supported him for the greatest
office in their gift. But this time Washington would not yield to the
wishes of his friends or of the country. He felt that he had done his
work and earned the rest and the privacy for which he longed above all
earthly things. In September, 1796, he published his farewell address,
and no man ever left a nobler political testament. Through much
tribulation he had done his great part in establishing the government
of the Union, which might easily have come to naught without his
commanding influence. He had imparted to it the dignity of his own
great character. He had sustained the splendid financial policy of
Hamilton. He had struck a fatal blow at the colonial spirit in our
politics, and had lifted up our foreign policy to a plane worthy of an
independent nation. He had stricken off the fetters which impeded the
march of western settlement, and without loss of honor had gained time
to enable our institutions to harden and become strong. He had made
peace with our most dangerous enemies, and, except in the case of
France, where there were perilous complications to be solved by his
successor, he left the United States in far better and more honorable
relations with the rest of the world than even the most sanguine would
have dared to hope when the Constitution was formed. Now from the
heights of great achievement he turned to say farewell to the people
whom he so much loved, and whom he had so greatly served. Every word
was instinct with the purest and wisest patriotism. "Be united," he
said; "be Americans. The name which belongs to you, in your national
capacity, must exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any
appellation derived from local discriminations. Let there be no
sectionalism, no North, South, East or West; you are all dependent one
on another, and should be one in union. Beware of attacks, open or
covert, upon the Constitution. Beware of the baneful effects of
party spirit and of the ruin to which its extremes must lead. Do not
encourage party spirit, but use every effort to mitigate and assuage
it. Keep the departments of government separate, promote education,
cherish the public credit, avoid debt. Observe justice and good faith
toward all nations; have neither passionate hatreds nor passionate
attachments to any; and be independent politically of all. In one
word, be a nation, be Americans, and be true to yourselves."

His admonitions were received by the people at large with profound
respect, and sank deep into the public mind. As the generations have
come and gone, the farewell address has grown dearer to the hearts of
the people, and the children and the children's children of those to
whom it was addressed have turned to it in all times and known that
there was no room for error in following its counsel.

Yet at the moment, notwithstanding the general sadness at Washington's
retirement and the deep regard for his last words of advice, the
opposition was so thoroughly hostile that they seized on the address
itself as a theme for renewed attack upon its author. "His character,"
said one Democrat, "can only be respectable while it is not known; he
is arbitrary, avaricious, ostentatious; without skill as a soldier, he
has crept into fame by the places he has held. His financial measures
burdened the many to enrich the few. History will tear the pages
devoted to his praise. France and his country gave him fame, and they
will take that fame away." "His glory has dissolved in mist," said
another writer, "and he has sunk from the high level of Solon or
Lycurgus to the mean rank of a Dutch Stadtholder or a Venetian
Doge. Posterity will look in vain for any marks of wisdom in his

To thoughtful persons these observations are not without a curious
interest, as showing that even the wisest of men may be in error. The
distinguished Democrat who uttered these remarks has been forgotten,
and the page of history on which Washington's name was inscribed is
still untorn. The passage of the address, however, which gave the most
offense, as Mr. McMaster points out, was, as might have been expected
from the colonial condition of our politics, that which declared it
to be our true policy "to steer clear of permanent alliances with any
portion of the foreign world." This, it was held, simply meant that,
having made a treaty with England, we were to be stopped from making
one with France. Another distinguished editor declared that the
farewell address came from the meanest of motives; that the President
knew he could not be reelected because the Republicans would have
united to supersede him with Adams, who had the simplicity of a
Republican, while Washington had the ostentation of an Eastern Pasha,
and it was in order to save himself from this humiliation that he had
cunningly resigned.

When Washington met his last Congress, William Giles of Virginia took
the opportunity afforded by the usual answer to the President's speech
to assail him personally. It would be of course a gross injustice to
suppose that a coarse political ruffian like Giles really represented
the Democratic party. But he represented the extreme wing, and after
he had declared in his place that Washington was neither wise nor
patriotic, and that his retirement was anything but a calamity, he got
twelve of his party friends to sustain his sentiments by voting
with him. The press was even more unbridled, and it was said in the
"Aurora" at this time that Washington had debauched and deceived
the nation, and that his administration had shown that the mask of
patriotism may be worn to conceal the foulest dangers to the liberties
of the people. Over and over again it was said by these writers that
he had betrayed France and was the slave of England.

This charge of being a British sympathizer was the only one of all the
abuse heaped upon him by the opposition that Washington seems really
to have resented. In August, 1794, when this slander first started
from the prolific source of all attacks against the government, he
wrote to Henry Lee: "With respect to the words said to have been
uttered by Mr. Jefferson, they would be enigmatical to those who are
acquainted with the characters about me, unless supposed to be spoken
ironically; and in that case they are too injurious to me, and have
too little foundation in truth, to be ascribed to him. There could not
be the trace of doubt in his mind of predilection in mine toward Great
Britain or her politics, unless, which I do not believe, he has set me
down as one of the most deceitful and uncandid men living; because,
not only in private conversations between ourselves on this subject,
but in my meetings with the confidential servants of the public, he
has heard me often, when occasions presented themselves, express very
different sentiments, with an energy that could not be mistaken by any
one present.

"Having determined, as far as lay within the power of the executive,
to keep this country in a state of neutrality, I have made my public
conduct accord with the system; and whilst so acting as a public
character, consistency and propriety as a private man forbid those
intemperate expressions in favor of one nation, or to the prejudice of
another, which may have wedged themselves in, and, I will venture to
add, to the embarrassment of government, without producing any good to
the country."

He had shown by his acts as well as by his words his real friendship
for France, such as a proper sense of gratitude required. As has been
already pointed out, rather than run the risk of seeming to reflect in
the slightest degree upon the government of the French republic, he
had refused even to receive distinguished _émigrés_ like Noailles,
Liancourt, and Talleyrand.[1] He was so scrupulous in this respect
that he actually did violence to his own strong desires in not taking
into his house at once the son of Lafayette; and when it became
necessary to choose a successor to Morris, his anxiety was so great
to select some one agreeable to France that he took such an avowed
opponent of his administration as Monroe.

[Footnote 1: See the Letter to the Due de Liancourt explaining the
reasons for his not being received by the President. (Sparks, xi.

On the other hand, he had never lost the strong feeling of hostility
toward England which he, above all men, had felt during the
Revolution. The conduct of England, when he was seeking an honorable
peace with her, tried his patience severely. He wrote to Morris in
1795: "I give you these details (and if you should again converse with
Lord Grenville on the subject, you are at liberty, unofficially,
to mention them, or any of them, according to circumstances), as
evidences of the unpolitic conduct (for so it strikes me) of the
British government towards these United States; that it may be
seen how difficult it has been for the executive, under such an
accumulation of irritating circumstances, to maintain the ground of
neutrality which had been taken; and at a time when the remembrance
of the aid we had received from France in the Revolution was fresh in
every mind, and while the partisans of that country were continually
contrasting the affections of _that_ people with the unfriendly
disposition of the _British government_. And that, too, as I have
observed before, while _their own_ sufferings during the war with the
latter had not been forgotten." The one man in the country who above
all others had the highest conception of American nationality, who
was the first to seek to lift up our politics from the low level of
colonialism, who was the author of the neutrality policy, had reason
to resent the bitter irony of an attack which represented him as a
British sympathizer. The truth is, that the only foreign party at that
time was that which identified itself with France, and which was
the party of Jefferson and the opposition. The Federalists and
the administration under the lead of Washington and Hamilton were
determined that the government should be American and not French, and
this in the eyes of their opponents was equivalent to being in the
control of England. In after years, when the Federalists fell from
power and declined into the position of a factious minority, they
became British sympathizers, and as thoroughly colonial in their
politics as the party of Jefferson had been. If they had had the
wisdom of their better days they would then have made themselves the
champions of the American idea, and would have led the country in the
determined effort to free itself once for all from colonial politics,
even if they were obliged to fight somebody to accomplish it. They
proved unequal to the task, and it fell to a younger generation led by
Henry Clay and his contemporaries to sweep Federalist and Jeffersonian
republican alike, with their French and British politics, out of
existence. In so doing the younger generation did but complete the
work of Washington, for he it was who first trod the path and marked
the way for a true American policy in the midst of men who could not
understand his purposes.

Bitter and violent as had been the attacks upon Washington while he
held office, they were as nothing compared to the shout of fierce
exultation which went up from the opposition journals when he finally
retired from the presidency. One extract will serve as an example of
the general tone of the opposition journals throughout the country. It
is to be found in the "Aurora" of March 6, 1797:--

    "'Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace,' was the
    pious ejaculation of a pious man who beheld a flood of happiness
    rushing in upon mankind. If ever there was a time that would
    license the reiteration of the ejaculation, that time has now
    arrived, for the man who is the source of all the misfortunes
    of our country is this day reduced to a level with his
    fellow-citizens, and is no longer possessed of power to multiply
    evils upon the United States. If ever there was a period for
    rejoicing, this is the moment. Every heart in unison with the
    freedom and happiness of the people ought to beat high with
    exultation that the name of Washington ceases from this day to
    give currency to political insults, and to legalize corruption. A
    new era is now opening upon us, an era which promises much to the
    people, for public measures must now stand upon their own merits,
    and nefarious projects can no longer be supported by a name. When
    a retrospect has been taken of the Washingtonian administration
    for eight years, it is a subject of the greatest astonishment
    that a single individual should have cankered the principles of
    republicanism in an enlightened people just emerged from the gulf
    of despotism, and should have carried his designs against the
    public liberty so far as to have put in jeopardy its very
    existence. Such, however, are the facts, and with these staring us
    in the face, the day ought to be a JUBILEE in the United States."

This was not the outburst of a single malevolent spirit. The article
was copied and imitated in New York and Boston, and wherever the
party that called Jefferson leader had a representative among the
newspapers. It is not probable that stuff of this sort gave Washington
himself a moment's anxiety, for he knew too well what he had done, and
he was too sure of his own hold upon the hearts of the people, to be
in the least disturbed by the attacks of hostile editors. But the
extracts are of interest as showing that the opposition party of that
time, the party organized and led by Jefferson, regarded Washington as
their worst enemy, and assailed him and slandered him to the utmost.
They even went so far as to borrow materials from the enemies of the
country with whom we had lately been at war, by publishing the forged
letters attributed to Washington, and circulated by the British in
1777, in order to discredit the American general. One of Washington's
last acts, on March 3, 1797, was to file in the State Department a
solemn declaration that these letters, then republished by an American
political party, were base forgeries, of English origin in a time of
war. His own view of this performance is given in a letter to Benjamin
Walker, in which he said: "Amongst other attempts, ... spurious
letters, known at the time of their first publication (I believe in
the year 1777) to be forgeries, are (or extracts from them) brought
forward with the highest emblazoning of which they are susceptible,
with a view to attach principles to me which every action of my life
has given the lie to. But that is no stumbling-block with the editors
of these papers and their supporters."

Two or three extracts from private letters will show how Washington
regarded the course of the opposition, and the interpretation he put
upon their attacks. After sketching in a letter to David Stuart the
general course of the hostilities toward his administration, he said:
"This not working so well as was expected, from a supposition that
there was too much confidence in, and perhaps personal regard for, the
present chief magistrate and his politics, the batteries have lately
been leveled against him particularly and personally. Although he is
soon to become a private citizen, his opinions are knocked down, and
his character reduced as low as they are capable of sinking it, even
by resorting to absolute falsehoods." Again he said, just before
leaving office: "To misrepresent my motives, to reprobate my
politics, and to weaken the confidence which has been reposed in my
administration, are objects which cannot be relinquished by those who
will be satisfied with nothing short of a change in our political
system." He at least labored under no misapprehension after eight
years of trial as to the position or purposes of the party which had
fought him and his administration, and which had savagely denounced
his measures at every step, and with ever-increasing violence.

Having defined the attitude of the opposition, we can now consider
that of Washington himself after he had retired from office, and no
longer felt restrained by the circumstances of his election to the
presidency from openly declaring his views, or publicly identifying
himself with a political party. He rightly regarded the administration
of Mr. Adams as a continuation of his own, and he gave to it a cordial
support. He was equally clear and determined in his distrust and
dislike of the opposition. Not long before leaving office he had
written a letter to Jefferson, which, while it exonerated that
gentleman from being the author of certain peculiarly malicious
attacks, showed very plainly that the writer completely understood the
position occupied by his former secretary. It was a letter which
must have been most unpleasant reading for the person to whom it
was addressed. A year later he wrote to John Nicholas in regard
to Jefferson: "Nothing short of the evidence you have adduced,
corroborative of intimations which I had received long before through
another channel, could have shaken my belief in the sincerity of a
friendship which I had conceived was possessed for me by the person to
whom you allude." There was no doubt in his mind now as to Jefferson's
conduct, and he knew at last that he had been his foe even when a
member of his political household.

When the time came to fill the offices in the provisional army made
necessary by the menace of war with France, Washington wrote to the
President that he ought to have generals who were men of activity,
energy, health, and "sound politics," carrying apparently his
suspicion of the opposition even to disbelieving in them as soldiers.
He repeated the same idea in a letter to McHenry, in which he said:
"I do not conceive that a desirable set could be formed from the old
generals, some having never displayed any talent for enterprise,
and others having shown a general opposition to the government, or
predilection to French measures, be their present conduct what it

When the question arose in regard to the relative rank of the
major-generals, Washington said to Knox: "No doubt remained in my mind
that Colonel Hamilton was designated second in command (and first, if
I should decline an acceptance) by the Federal characters of Congress;
whence alone anything like a public sentiment relative thereto could
be deduced." He was quite clear that there was no use in looking
beyond the confines of the Federal party for any public sentiment
worth considering. He had serious doubts also as to the advisability
of having the opponents of the government in the army, and wrote to
McHenry on September 30, 1798, that brawlers against the government in
certain parts of Virginia had suddenly become silent and were seeking
commissions in the army. "The motives ascribed to them are that in
such a situation they would endeavor to divide and contaminate the
army by artful and seditious discourses, and perhaps at a critical
moment bring on confusion. What weight to give to these conjectures
you can judge as well as I. But as there will be characters enough
of an opposite description who are ready to receive appointments,
circumspection is necessary. Finding the resentment of the people
at the conduct of France too strong to be resisted, they have in
appearance adopted their sentiments, and pretend that, notwithstanding
the misconduct of the government has brought it upon us, yet if an
invasion should take place, it will be found that _they_ will be among
the first to defend it. This is their story at all elections and
election meetings, and told in many instances with effect." He wrote
again in the same strain to McHenry, on October 21: "Possibly no
injustice would be done, if I were to proceed a step further, and give
it as an opinion that most of the candidates [for the army] brought
forward by the opposition members possess sentiments similar to their
own, and might poison the army by disseminating them, if they were
appointed." In this period of danger, when the country was on the
verge of war, the attitude of the opposition gave Washington much food
for thought because it appeared to him so false and unpatriotic. In
a letter to Lafayette, written on Christmas day, 1798, he gave the
following brief sketch of the opposition: "A party exists in the
United States, formed by a combination of causes, which opposed the
government in all its measures, and are determined, as all their
conduct evinces, by clogging its wheels indirectly to change the
nature of it, and to subvert the Constitution. The friends of
government, who are anxious to maintain its neutrality and to preserve
the country in peace, and adopt measures to secure these objects, are
charged by them as being monarchists, aristocrats, and infractors of
the Constitution, which according to their interpretation of it would
be a mere cipher. They arrogated to themselves ... the sole merit of
being the friends of France, when in fact they had no more regard for
that nation than for the Grand Turk, further than their own views
were promoted by it; denouncing those who differed in opinion (those
principles are purely American and whose sole view was to observe
a strict neutrality) as acting under British influence, and being
directed by her counsels, or as being her pensioners."

Shortly before this sharp definition was written, an incident had
occurred which had given Washington an opportunity of impressing his
views directly and personally upon a distinguished leader of the
opposite party. Dr. Logan of Philadelphia, under the promptings of
Jefferson, as was commonly supposed, had gone on a volunteer mission
to Paris for the purpose of bringing about peace between the two
republics. He had apparently a fixed idea that there was something
very monstrous in our having any differences with France, and being
somewhat of a busybody, although a most worthy man, he felt called
upon to settle the international complications which were then
puzzling the brains and trying the patience of the ablest men in
America. It is needless to say that his mission was not a success, and
he was eventually so unmercifully ridiculed by the Federalist editors
that he published a long pamphlet in his own defense. Upon his return,
however, he seems to have been not a little pleased with himself, and
he took occasion to call upon Washington, who was then in Philadelphia
on business. It would be difficult to conceive anything more
distasteful to Washington than such a mission as Logan's, or that he
could have a more hearty contempt for any one than for a meddler of
this description, who by his interference might help to bring his
country into contempt. He was sufficiently impressed, however, by Dr.
Logan's call to draw up a memorandum, which gave a very realistic and
amusing account of it. It may be surmised that when Washington wished
to be cold in his manner, he was capable of being very freezing, and
he was not very apt at concealing his emotions when he found himself
in the presence of any one whom he disliked and disapproved. The
memorandum is as follows:--

"_Tuesday, November_ 13, 1798.--Mr. Lear, my secretary, being from our
lodgings on business, one of my servants came into the room where
I was writing and informed me that a gentleman in the parlor below
desired to see me; no name was sent up. In a few minutes I went down,
and found the Rev. Dr. Blackwell and Dr. Logan there. I advanced
towards and gave my hand to the former; the latter did the same
towards me. I was backward in giving mine. He, possibly supposing from
hence that I did not recollect him, said his name was Logan. Finally,
in a very cold manner, and with an air of marked indifference, I gave
him my hand and asked _Dr. Blackwell to be seated_; the other _took_
a seat at the same time. I addressed _all_ my conversation to Dr.
Blackwell; the other all his to me, to which I only gave negative or
affirmative answers as laconically as I could, except asking him how
Mrs. Logan did. He seemed disposed to be very polite, and while Dr.
Blackwell and myself were conversing on the late calamitous fever,
offered me an asylum at his house, if it should return or I thought
myself in any danger in the city, and two or three rooms, by way of
accommodation. I thanked him slightly, observing there would be no
call for it."

"About this time Dr. Blackwell took his leave. We all rose from our
seats, and I moved a few paces toward the door of the room, expecting
the other would follow and take his leave also."

The worthy Quaker, however, was not to be got rid of so easily. He
literally stood his ground, and went on talking of a number of things,
chiefly about Lafayette and his family, and an interview with Mr.
Murray, our minister in Holland. Washington, meanwhile, stood facing
him, and to use his own words, "showed the utmost inattention," while
his visitor described his journey to Paris. Finally Logan said that
his purpose in going to France was to ameliorate the condition of
our relations with that country. "This," said Washington, "drew my
attention more pointedly to what he was saying and induced me to
remark that there was something very singular in this; that _he_,
who could only be viewed as a private character, unarmed with proper
powers, and presumptively unknown in France, should suppose he could
effect what three gentlemen of the first respectability in our
country, especially charged under the authority of the government,
were unable to do." One is not surprised to be then told that Dr.
Logan seemed a little confounded at this observation; but he recovered
himself, and went on to say that only five persons knew of his going,
and that his letters from Mr. Jefferson and Mr. McKean obtained for
him an interview with M. Merlin, president of the Directory, who had
been most friendly in his expressions. To this Washington replied
with some very severe strictures on the conduct of France; and the
conversation, which must by this time have become a little strained,
soon after came to an end. One cannot help feeling a good deal of
sympathy for the excellent doctor, although he was certainly a
busybody and, one would naturally infer, a bore as well. It would have
been, however, a pity to have lost this memorandum, and there is every
reason to regret that Washington did not oftener exercise his evident
powers for realistic reporting. Nothing, moreover, could bring out
better his thorough contempt for the opposition and their attitude
toward France than this interview with the volunteer commissioner.

There were, however, much more serious movements made by the
Democratic party than well-meant and meddling attempts to make
peace with France. This was the year of the Kentucky and Virginia
resolutions, the first note of that disunion sentiment which was
destined one day to involve the country in civil war and be fought out
on a hundred battlefields. Washington, with his love for the Union and
for nationality ever uppermost in his heart, was quick to take alarm,
and it cut him especially to think that a movement which he esteemed
at once desperate and wicked should emanate from his own State, and as
we now know, and as he perhaps suspected, from a great Virginian
whom he had once trusted. He straightway set himself to oppose this
movement with all his might, and he summoned to his aid that other
great Virginian who in his early days had been the first to rouse the
people against oppression, and who now in his old age, in response to
Washington's appeal, came again into the forefront in behalf of the
Constitution and the union of the States. The letter which Washington
wrote to Patrick Henry on this occasion is one of the most important
that he ever penned, but there is room to quote only a single passage

"At such a crisis as this," he said, "when everything dear and
valuable to us is assailed, when this party hangs upon the wheels of
government as a dead weight, opposing every measure that is calculated
for defense and self-preservation, abetting the nefarious views of
another nation upon our rights, preferring, as long as they dare
contend openly against the spirit and resentment of the people, the
interest of France to the welfare of their own country, justifying
the former at the expense of the latter; when every act of their own
government is tortured, by constructions they will not bear, into
attempts to infringe and trample upon the Constitution with a view to
introduce monarchy; when the most unceasing and the purest exertions
which were making to maintain a neutrality ... are charged with being
measures calculated to favor Great Britain at the expense of France,
and all those who had any agency in it are accused of being under
the influence of the former and her pensioners; when measures are
systematically and pertinaciously pursued, which must eventually
dissolve the Union or produce coercion; I say, when these things have
become so obvious, ought characters who are best able to rescue their
country from the pending evil to remain at home?...

"Vain will it be to look for peace and happiness, or for the security
of liberty or property, if civil discord should ensue. And what else
can result from the policy of those among us, who, by all the measures
in their power, are driving matters to extremity, if they cannot be
counteracted effectually? The views of men can only be known, or
guessed at, by their words or actions. Can those of the _leaders_ of
opposition be mistaken, then, if judged by this rule? That they are
followed by numbers, who are unacquainted with their designs and
suspect as little the tendency of their principles, I am fully
persuaded. But if their conduct is viewed with indifference, if there
are activity and misrepresentations on one side and supineness on
the other, their numbers accumulated by intriguing and discontented
foreigners under proscription, who were at war with their own
government, and the greater part of them with _all_ governments, they
will increase, and nothing short of omniscience can foretell the

It would have been difficult to draw a severer indictment of the
opposition party than that given in this letter, but there is one
other letter even more striking in its contents, without which no
account of the relation of Washington to the two great parties which
sprang up under his administration would be complete. It was addressed
to Governor Trumbull of Connecticut, was written on July 21, 1799,
less than six months before his death, and although printed, has
been hidden away in the appendix to the "Life of Benjamin Silliman."
Governor Trumbull, who bore the name and filled the office of
Washington's old revolutionary friend, had written to the general, as
many other Federalists were writing at that time, urging him to come
forward and stand once more for the presidency, that he might heal the
dissensions in his own party and save the country from the impending
disaster of Jefferson's election. That Washington refused all these
requests is of course well known, but his reasons as stated to
Trumbull are of great interest. "I come now," he said, "my dear sir,
to pay particular attention to that part of your letter which respects

"I remember well the conversation which you allude to. I have not
forgot the answer I gave you. In my judgment it applies with as much
force _now_ as _then_; nay, more, because at that time the line
between the parties was not so clearly drawn, and the views of the
opposition so clearly developed as they are at present. Of course
allowing your observation (as it respects myself) to be well founded,
personal influence would be of no avail.

"Let that party set up a broomstick, and call it a true son of
liberty,--a democrat,--or give it any other epithet that will suit
their purpose, and it will command their votes _in toto_![1] Will not
the Federalists meet, or rather defend, their cause on the opposite
ground? Surely they must, or they will discover a want of policy,
indicative of weakness and pregnant of mischief, which cannot be
admitted. Wherein, then, would lie the difference between the present
gentleman in office and myself?

[Footnote 1: "As an analysis of this position, look to the pending
election of governor in Pennsylvania."]

"It would be matter of grave regret to me if I could believe that a
serious thought was turned toward me as his successor, not only as
it respects my ardent wishes to pass through the vale of life in
retirement, undisturbed in the remnant of the days I have to sojourn
here, unless called upon to defend my country (which every citizen is
bound to do); but on public grounds also; for although I have abundant
cause to be thankful for the good health with which I am blessed, yet
I am not insensible to my declination in other respects. It would
be criminal, therefore, in me, although it should be the wish of my
countrymen and I could be elected, to accept an office under this
conviction which another would discharge with more ability; and this,
too, at a time when I am thoroughly convinced I should not draw a
_single_ vote from the anti-Federal side, and of course should stand
upon no other ground _than any other Federal character_[1] well
supported; and when I should become a mark for the shafts of envenomed
malice and the basest calumny to fire at,--when I should be charged
not only with irresolution but with concealed ambition, which waits
only an occasion to blaze out, and, in short, with dotage and

[Footnote 1: These italics are mine.]

"All this, I grant, ought to be like dust in the balance, when put in
competition with a _great_ public good, when the accomplishment of it
is apparent. But, as no problem is better defined in my mind than that
principle, not men, is now, and will be, the object of contention; and
that I could not obtain a _solitary_ vote from that party; _that any
other respectable Federal character could receive the same suffrages
that I should_;[1] that at my time of life (verging towards threescore
and ten) I should expose myself without rendering any essential
service to my country, or answering the end contemplated; prudence on
my part must avert any attempt of the well-meant but mistaken views of
my friends to introduce me again into the chair of government."

[Footnote 1: These italics are mine.]

It does not fall within the scope of this biography to attempt to
portray the history or weigh the merits of the two parties which came
into existence at the close of the last century, and which, under
varying names, have divided the people of the United States ever
since. But it is essential here to define the relation of Washington
toward them because one hears it constantly said and sees it as
constantly written down, that Washington belonged to no party, which
is perhaps a natural, but is certainly a complete misconception.
Washington came to the presidency by a unanimous vote. He had in his
mind very strongly the idea of the framers of the Constitution that
the President, by the method of his election and by his independence
of the other departments of government, was to be above and beyond
party, and the representative of the whole people. In addition to this
he was so absorbed by the great conception which he had of the future
of the country, and was so confident of the purity and rectitude of
his own purposes, that he was loath to think that party divisions
could arise while he held the chief magistracy. It was not long
before he was undeceived on this point, and he soon found that party
divisions sprang up from the measures of his own administration.
Nevertheless, he clung to his determination to govern without the
assistance of a party as such. When this, too, became impossible, he
still felt that the unanimity of his election required that he should
not declare himself to be the head of a party; but he had become
thoroughly convinced that under the representative system of the
Constitution party government could not be avoided. In his farewell
address he warned the people against the excesses of that party
spirit which he deplored; but he did not suggest that it could be
extinguished. Being a wise and far-seeing man, he saw that if party
government was an evil, it also was under a free representative
system, and in the present condition of human nature a necessary evil,
furnishing the only machinery by which public affairs could be carried

In a time of deep political excitement and strong party feeling,
Washington was the last man in the world not to be decidedly on one
side or the other. He was possessed of too much sense, force, and
virility to be content to hold himself aloof and croak over the
wickedness of people, who were trying to do something, even if
they did not always try in the most perfect way. He was himself
preëminently a doer of deeds, and not a critic or a phrase-maker, and
we can read very distinctly in the extracts which have been brought
together in this chapter what he thought on party and public
questions. He was opposed to the party which had resisted all the
great measures of his administration from the foundation of the
government of the United States. They had assailed and maligned him
and his ministers, and he regarded them as political enemies. He
believed in the principles of that party which had supported the
financial policy of Hamilton and his own policy of neutrality toward
foreign nations. He was opposed to the party which introduced the
interests of France as the leading issue of American politics, and
which embodied the doctrines of nullification and separatism in the
resolutions of Kentucky and Virginia. In one word, Washington, in
policies and politics, was an American and a Nationalist; and the
National and American party, from 1789 to 1801, was the Federalist
party. It may be added that it was the only party which, at that
precise time, could claim those qualities. While he remained in the
presidency he would not declare himself to be of any party; but as
soon as this fetter was removed, he declared himself freely after his
fashion, expressing in words what he had formerly only expressed in
action. His feelings warmed and strengthened as the controversy with
France deepened, and as the attitude of the opposition became more
un-American and leaned more and more to separatism. They culminated
at last in the eloquent letter to Patrick Henry, and in the carefully
weighed words with which he tells Trumbull that he can hope for no
more votes than "any other Federal character."



Washington had entered upon the presidency with the utmost reluctance,
and at the sacrifice of all he considered pleasantest and best in
life. He took it and held it for eight years from a sense of duty,
and with no desire to retain it beyond that which every man feels
who wishes to finish a great work that he has undertaken. He looked
forward to the approaching end of his second term with a feeling of
intense relief, and compared himself to the wearied traveler who sees
the resting-place where he is at length to have repose. On March 3 he
gave a farewell dinner to the President and Vice-President elect, the
foreign ministers and their wives, and other distinguished persons,
from one of whom we learn that it was a very pleasant and lively
gathering. When the cloth was removed Washington filled his glass and
said: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the last time I shall drink
your health as a public man. I do it with sincerity, wishing you all
possible happiness." The company did not take the same cheerful view
as their host of this leave-taking. There was a pause in the gayety,
some of the ladies shed tears, and the little incident only served to
show the warm affection felt for Washington by every one who came in
close contact with him.

The next day the last official ceremonies were performed. After
Jefferson had taken the oath as Vice-President and had proceeded with
the Senate to the House of Representatives, which was densely crowded,
Washington entered and was received with cheers and shouts, the waving
of handkerchiefs, and an enthusiasm which seemed to know no bounds.
Mr. Adams followed him almost immediately and delivered his inaugural
address, in which he paid a stately compliment to the great virtues of
his predecessor. It was the setting and not the rising sun, however,
that drew the attention of the multitude, and as Washington left the
hall there was a wild rush from the galleries to the corridors and
then into the streets to see him pass. He took off his hat and bowed
to the people, but they followed him even to his own door, where
he turned once more and, unable to speak, waved to them a silent

In the evening of the same day a great banquet was given to him by
the merchants of Philadelphia, and when he entered the band played
"Washington's March," and a series of emblematic paintings were
disclosed, the chief of which represented the ex-President at Mount
Vernon surrounded by the allegorical figures then so fashionable.
After the festivities Washington lingered for a few days in
Philadelphia to settle various private matters and then started for
home. Whether he was going or coming, whether he was about to take the
great office of President or retire to the privacy of Mount Vernon,
the same popular enthusiasm greeted him. When he was really brought in
contact with the people, the clamors of the opposition press and the
attacks of the Jeffersonian editors all faded away and were forgotten.
On March 12 he reached Baltimore, and the local newspaper of the next
day said:--

"Last evening arrived in this city, on his way to Mount Vernon, the
illustrious object of veneration and gratitude, GEORGE WASHINGTON. His
excellency was accompanied by his lady and Miss Custis, and by the son
of the unfortunate Lafayette and his preceptor. At a distance from
the city, he was met by a crowd of citizens, on horse and foot, who
thronged the road to greet him, and by a detachment from Captain
Hollingsworth's troop, who escorted him in through as great a
concourse of people as Baltimore ever witnessed. On alighting at the
Fountain Inn, the general was saluted with reiterated and thundering
huzzas from the spectators. His excellency, with the companions of his
journey, leaves town, we understand, this morning."

Thus with the cheers and the acclamations still ringing in his ears
he came home again to Mount Vernon, where he found at once plenty
of occupation, which in some form was always a necessity to him. An
absence of eight years had not improved the property. On April 3 he
wrote to McHenry: "I find myself in the situation nearly of a new
beginner; for, although I have not houses to build (except one, which
I must erect for the accommodation and security of my military, civil,
and private papers, which are voluminous and may be interesting),
yet I have scarcely anything else about me that does not require
considerable repairs. In a word, I am already surrounded by joiners,
masons, and painters; and such is my anxiety to get out of their
hands, that I have scarcely a room to put a friend into or to sit
in myself without the music of hammers or the odoriferous scent of
paint." He easily dropped back into the round of country duties and
pleasures, and the care of farms and plantations, which had always
had for him so much attraction. "To make and sell a little flour
annually," he wrote to Wolcott, "to repair houses going fast to ruin,
to build one for the security of my papers of a public nature, will
constitute employment for the few years I have to remain on this
terrestrial globe." Again he said to McHenry: "You are at the source
of information, and can find many things to relate, while I have
nothing to say that would either inform or amuse a secretary of war at
Philadelphia. I might tell him that I begin my diurnal course with the
sun; that if my hirelings are not in their places by that time I send
them messages of sorrow for their indisposition; that having put these
wheels in motion I examine the state of things further; that the more
they are probed the deeper I find the wounds which my buildings have
sustained by an absence and neglect of eight years; that by the time
I have accomplished these matters breakfast (a little after seven
o'clock, about the time I presume that you are taking leave of Mrs.
McHenry) is ready; that this being over I mount my horse and ride
round my farms, which employs me until it is time to dress for dinner,
at which I rarely miss seeing strange faces, come, as they say, out of
respect for me. Pray, would not the word curiosity answer as well?
And how different this from having a few social friends at a cheerful
board. The usual time of sitting at table, a walk, and tea bring me
within the dawn of candle-light; previous to which, if not prevented
by company, I resolve that as soon as the glimmering taper supplies
the place of the great luminary I will retire to my writing-table and
acknowledge the letters I have received; that when the lights
are brought I feel tired and disinclined to engage in this work,
conceiving that the next night will do as well. The next night comes
and with it the same causes for postponement, and so on. Having given
you the history of a day, it will serve for a year, and I am persuaded
you will not require a second edition of it. But it may strike you
that in this detail no mention is made of any portion of time allotted
for reading. The remark would be just, for I have not looked into a
book since I came home; nor shall I be able to do it until I have
discharged my workmen; probably not before the nights grow longer,
when possibly I may be looking in Doomsday book."

There is not much that can be added to his own concise description of
the simple life he led at home. The rest and quiet were very pleasant,
but still there was a touch of sadness in his words. The long interval
of absence made the changes which time had wrought stand out more
vividly than if they had come one by one in the course of daily life
at home. Washington looked on the ruins of Belvoir, and sighed to
think of the many happy hours he had passed with the Fairfaxes, now
gone from the land forever. Other old friends had been taken away
by death, and the gaps were not filled by the new faces of which he
speaks to McHenry. Indeed, the crowd of visitors coming to Mount
Vernon from all parts of his own country and of the world, whether
they came from respect or curiosity, brought a good deal of weariness
to a man tired with the cares of state and longing for absolute
repose. Yet he would not close his doors to any one, for the Virginian
sense of hospitality, always peculiarly strong in him, forbade such
action. To relieve himself, therefore, in this respect, he sent
for his nephew Lawrence Lewis, who took the social burden from
his shoulders. But although the visitors tired him when he felt
responsible for their pleasure, he did not shut himself up now any
more than at any other time in self-contemplation. He was constantly
thinking of others; and the education of his nephews, the care of
young Lafayette until he should return to France, as well as the
happy love-match of Nellie Custis and his nephew, supplied the human
interest without which he was never happy.

Before we trace his connection with public affairs in these
closing years, let us take one look at him, through the eyes of a
disinterested but keen observer. John Bernard, an English actor,
who had come to this country in the year when Washington left the
presidency, was playing an engagement with his company at Annapolis,
in 1798. One day he mounted his horse and rode down below Alexandria,
to pay a visit to an acquaintance who lived on the banks of the
Potomac. When he was returning, a chaise in front of him, containing a
man and a young woman, was overturned, and the occupants were thrown
out. As Bernard rode to the scene of the accident, another horseman
galloped up from the opposite direction. The two riders dismounted,
found that the driver was not hurt, and succeeded in restoring the
young woman to consciousness; an event which was marked, Bernard tells
us, by a volley of invectives addressed to her unfortunate husband.
"The horse," continues Bernard, "was now on his legs, but the vehicle
still prostrate, heavy in its frame, and laden with at least half a
ton of luggage. My fellow-helper set me an example of activity in
relieving it of the internal weight; and when all was clear, we
grasped the wheel between us, and to the peril of our spinal columns
righted the conveyance. The horse was then put in, and we lent a
hand to help up the luggage. All this helping, hauling, and lifting
occupied at least half an hour, under a meridian sun, in the middle of
July, which fairly boiled the perspiration out of our foreheads." The
possessor of the chaise beguiled the labor by a full personal history
of himself and his wife, and when the work was done invited the two
Samaritans to go with him to Alexandria, and take a drop of "something
sociable." This being declined, the couple mounted into the chaise and
drove on. "Then," says Bernard, "my companion, after an exclamation at
the heat, offered very courteously to dust my coat, a favor the return
of which enabled me to take deliberate survey of his person. He was
a tall, erect, well-made man, evidently advanced in years, but who
appeared to have retained all the vigor and elasticity resulting from
a life of temperance and exercise. His dress was a blue coat buttoned
to his chin, and buckskin breeches. Though the instant he took off his
hat I could not avoid the recognition of familiar lineaments, which
indeed I was in the habit of seeing on every sign-post and over every
fireplace, still I failed to identify him, and to my surprise I found
that I was an object of equal speculation in his eyes." The actor
evidently did not have the royal gift of remembering faces, but the
stranger possessed that quality, for after a moment's pause he said,
"Mr. Bernard, I believe," and mentioned the occasion on which he had
seen him play in Philadelphia. He then asked Bernard to go home with
him for a couple of hours' rest, and pointed out the house in the
distance. At last Bernard knew to whom he was speaking. "'Mount
Vernon!' I exclaimed; and then drawing back with a stare of wonder,
'Have I the honor of addressing General Washington?' With a smile
whose expression of benevolence I have rarely seen equaled, he offered
his hand and replied: 'An odd sort of introduction, Mr. Bernard; but
I am pleased to find you can play so active a part in private, and
without a prompter.'" So they rode on together to the house and had a
chat, to which we must recur further on.

There is no contemporary narrative of which I am aware that shows
Washington to us more clearly than this little adventure with Bernard,
for it is in the common affairs of daily life that men come nearest
to each other, and the same rule holds good in history. We know
Washington much better from these few lines of description left by
a chance acquaintance on the road than we do from volumes of state
papers. It is such a pleasant story, too. There is the great man,
retired from the world, still handsome and imposing in his old age,
with the strong and ready hand to succor those who had fallen by the
wayside; there are the genuine hospitality, the perfect manners, and
the well-turned little sentence with which he complimented the actor,
put him at his ease, and asked him to his house. Nothing can well be
added to the picture of Washington as we see him here, not long before
the end of all things came. We must break off, however, from the quiet
charm of home life, and turn again briefly to the affairs of state.
Let us, therefore, leave these two riding along the road together in
the warm Virginia sunshine to the house which has since become one of
the Meccas of humanity, in memory of the man who once dwelt in it.

The highly prized retirement to Mount Vernon did not now, more than
at any previous time, separate Washington from the affairs of the
country. He continued to take a keen interest in all that went on,
to correspond with his friends, and to use his influence for what he
thought wisest and best for the general welfare. These were stirring
times, too, and the progress of events brought him to take a more
active part than he had ever expected to play again; for France,
having failed, thanks to his policy, to draw us either by fair words
or trickery from our independent and neutral position, determined,
apparently, to try the effect of force and ill usage. Pinckney, sent
out as minister, had been rebuffed; and then Adams, with the cordial
support of the country, had made another effort for peace by sending
Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry as a special commission. The history of
that commission is one of the best known episodes in our history. Our
envoys were insulted, asked for bribes, and browbeaten, until the two
who retained a proper sense of their own and their country's dignity
took their passports and departed. The publication of the famous X, Y,
Z letters, which displayed the conduct of France, roused a storm of
righteous indignation from one end of the United States to the other.
The party of France and of the opposition bent before the storm, and
the Federalists were at last all-powerful. A cry for war went up from
every corner, and Congress provided rapidly for the formation of an
army and the beginning of a navy.

Then the whole country turned, as a matter of course, to one man to
stand at the head of the national forces of the United States,
and Adams wrote to Washington, urging him to take command of the
provisional army. To any other appeal to come forward Washington would
have been deaf, but he could never refuse a call to arms. He wrote to
Adams on July 4, 1798: "In case of _actual invasion_ by a formidable
force, I certainly should not intrench myself under the cover of age
or retirement, if my services should be required by my country to
assist in repelling it." He agreed, therefore, to take command of the
army, provided that he should not be called into active service
except in the case of actual hostilities, and that he should have the
appointment of the general's staff. To these terms Adams of course
acceded. But out of the apparently simple condition relating to the
appointment of officers there grew a very serious trouble. There were
to be three major-generals, the first of them to have also the rank of
inspector-general, and to be the virtual commander-in-chief until the
army was actually called into the field. For these places, Washington
after much reflection selected Hamilton, Pinckney, and Knox, in the
order named, and in doing so he very wisely went on the general
principle that the army was to be organized _de novo_, without
reference to prior service. Apart from personal and political
jealousies, nothing could have been more proper and more sound than
this arrangement; but at this point the President's dislike of
Hamilton got beyond control, and he made up his mind to reverse the
order, and send in Knox's name first. The Federalist leaders were of
course utterly disgusted by this attempt to set Hamilton aside, which
was certainly ill-judged, and which proved to be the beginning of the
dissensions that ended in the ruin of the Federalist party. After
every effort, therefore, to move Adams had failed, Pickering and
others, including Hamilton himself, appealed to Washington. At a
distance from the scene of action, and unfamiliar with the growth of
differences within the party, Washington was not only surprised, but
annoyed by the President's conduct. In addition to the evils which he
believed would result in a military way from this change, he felt that
the conditions which he had made had been violated, and that he had
not been treated fairly. He therefore wrote to the President with
his wonted plainness, on September 25, and pointed out that his
stipulations had not been complied with, that the change of order
among the major-generals was thoroughly wrong, and that the
President's meddling with the inferior appointments had been hurtful
and injudicious. His views were expressed in the most courteous
way, although with an undertone of severe disapproval. There was no
mistaking the meaning of the letter, however, and Adams, bold man and
President as he was, gave way at once. Mr. Adams thought at the time
that there had been about this matter of the major-generals too much
intrigue, by which Washington had been deceived and he himself made a
victim; but there seems no good reason to take this view of it, for
there is no indication whatever that Washington did not know and
understand the facts; and it was on the facts that he made his
decision, and not on the methods by which they were conveyed to him.
The propriety of the decision will hardly now be questioned, although
it did not tend to make the relations between the ex-President and
his successor very cordial. They had always a great respect for
each other, but not much sympathy, for they differed too widely in
temperament. Even if Washington would have permitted it, it would have
been impossible for the President to have quarreled with him, but at
the same time he felt not a little awkwardness in dealing with his
successor, and was inclined to think that that gentleman did not show
him all the respect that was due. He wrote to McHenry on October 1:
"As no mode is yet adopted by the President by which the battalion
officers are to be appointed, and as I think I stand on very
precarious ground in my relation to him, I am not over-zealous
in taking _unauthorized_ steps when those that I thought _were
authorized_ are not likely to meet with much respect."

[Illustration: HENRY KNOX]

There was, however, another consequence of this affair which gave
Washington much more pain than any differences with the President. His
old friend and companion in arms, General Knox, was profoundly hurt at
the decision which placed Hamilton at the head of the army. One cannot
be surprised at Knox's feelings, for he had been a distinguished
officer, and had outranked both Hamilton and Pinckney. He felt that he
ought to command the army, and that he was quite capable of doing so;
and he did not relish being told in this official manner that he had
grown old, and that the time had come for younger and abler men to
pass beyond him. The archbishop in "Gil Blas" is one of the most
universal types of human nature that we have. Nobody feels kindly to
the monitor who points out the failings which time has brought, and we
are all inclined to dismiss him with every wish that he may fare well
and have a little more taste. Poor Knox could not dismiss his Gil
Blas, and he felt the unpleasant admonition all the more bitterly from
the fact that the blow was dealt by the two men whom he most loved and
admired. Hamilton wrote him the best and most graceful of letters, but
failed to soothe him; and Washington was no more fortunate. He tried
with the utmost kindliness, and in his most courteous manner, to
soften the disappointment, and to show Knox how convincing were the
reasons for his action. But the case was not one where argument could
be of avail, and when Knox persisted in his refusal to take the place
assigned him, Washington, with all his sympathy, was perfectly frank
in expressing his views.

In a second letter, complaining of the injustice with which he had
been treated, Knox intimated that he would be willing to serve on the
personal staff of the commander-in-chief. This was all very well; but
much as Washington grieved for his old friend's disappointment, there
was to be no misunderstanding in the matter. He wrote Knox on October
21: "After having expressed these sentiments with the frankness of
undisguised friendship, it is hardly necessary to add that, if you
should finally decline the appointment of major-general, there is none
to whom I would give a more decided preference as an aide-de-camp, the
offer of which is highly flattering, honorable, and grateful to my
feelings, and for which I entertain a high sense. But, my dear General
Knox, and here again I speak to you in a language of candor and
friendship, examine well your mind upon this subject. Do not unite
yourself to the suite of a man whom you may consider as the primary
cause of what you call a degradation, with unpleasant sensations.
This, while it was gnawing upon you, would, if I should come to the
knowledge of it, make me unhappy; as my first wish would be that my
military family and the whole army should consider themselves a band
of brothers, willing and ready to die for each other."

Knox would not serve; and his ill temper, irritated still further
by the apparent preference of the President and by the talk of his
immediate circle, prevailed. On the other hand, Pinckney, one of the
most generous and patriotic of men, accepted service at once without a
syllable of complaint on the score that he had ranked Hamilton in the
former war. It was with these two, therefore, that Washington
carried on the work of organizing the provisional army. Despite his
determination to remain in retirement until called to the field, his
desire for perfection in any work that he undertook brought him out,
and he gave much time and attention not only to the general questions
which were raised, but to the details of the business, and on November
10 he addressed a series of inquiries, both general and particular,
to Hamilton and Pinckney. These inquiries covered the whole scope of
possible events, probable military operations, and the formation of
the army. They were written in Philadelphia, whither he had gone, and
where he passed a month with the two major-generals in the discussion
of plans and measures. The result of their conferences was an
elaborate and masterly report on army organization drawn up by
Hamilton, upon whom, throughout this period of impending war, the
brunt of the work fell.

Careful and painstaking, however, as Washington was in the matter of
appointments and organization, dealing with them as if he was about to
take the field at the head of the army, there was never a moment when
he felt that there was danger of actual war. He had studied foreign
affairs and the conditions of Europe too well to be much deceived
about them, and least of all in regard to France. He felt from the
beginning that the moment we displayed a proper spirit, began to arm,
and fought one or two French ships successfully, that France would
leave off bullying and abusing us, and make a satisfactory peace. The
declared adherent of the maxim that to prepare for war was the most
effectual means of preserving peace, he felt that never was it more
important to carry out this doctrine than now; and it was for this
reason that he labored so hard and gave so much thought to army
organization at a time when he felt more than ever the need of repose,
and shrank from the least semblance of a return to public life. In
all his long career there was never a better instance of his devoted
patriotism than his coming forward in this way at the sacrifice of
every personal wish after his retirement from the presidency.

Yet, although he closely watched the course of politics, and gave, as
has been said, a cordial support to the administration, his sympathies
were rather with the opponents of the President within the ranks
of their common party. The conduct of Gerry, who had been Adams's
personal selection for a commissioner, was very distasteful to
Washington, and was very far from exciting in his mind the approval
which it drew from Mr. Adams. He wrote to Pickering on October 18:
"With respect to Mr. Gerry, his own character and public satisfaction
require better evidence than his letter to the minister of foreign
relations to prove the propriety of his conduct during his envoyship."
He did not believe that we were to have war with France, but he was
very confident that a bold and somewhat uncompromising attitude was
the best one for the country, and that above all we should not palter
with France after the affronts to which we had been subjected. When
President Adams, therefore, made his sudden change of policy by
nominating Murray as a special envoy, Washington, despite his desire
for peace, was by no means enthusiastic in his approval of the methods
by which it was sought. The President wrote him announcing the
appointment of Murray, and Washington acknowledged the letter and
the information without any comment. He saw, of course, that as the
President had seen fit to take the step he must be sustained, and he
wrote to Murray to impress upon him the gravity of the mission with
which he was intrusted; but he had serious doubts as to the success of
such a mission under such conditions, and when delays occurred he was
not without hopes of a final abandonment. The day after his letter to
Murray he wrote to Hamilton: "I was surprised at the _measure_,
how much more so at the manner of it! This business seems to have
commenced in an evil hour, and under unfavorable auspices. I wish
mischief may not tread in all its steps, and be the final result of
the measure. A wide door was open, through which a retreat might have
been made from the first _faux pas_, the shutting of which, to those
who are not behind the curtain and are as little acquainted with
the secrets of the cabinet as I am, is, from the present aspect of
European affairs, quite incomprehensible." He hoped but little good
from the mission, although it had his fervent wishes for its success,
expressed repeatedly in letters to members of the cabinet; and while
he was full of apprehension, he had a firm faith that all would end

For this anxiety, indeed, there was abundant reason. A violent change
of policy toward France, the disorders occasioned by political
dissensions at home, and the sudden appearance of the deadly doctrine
of nullification, all combined to excite alarm in the mind of a man
who looked as far into the future and as deep beneath the surface of
things as did Washington. It was then that he urged Patrick Henry to
reenter public life, and exerted his own influence wherever he could
to check the separatist movement set on foot by Jefferson. He was
deeply disturbed, too, by the tendencies of the times in other
directions. The delirium of the French Revolution was not confined
to France. Her soldiers bore with them the new doctrines, while far
beyond the utmost reach of her armies flew the ideas engendered in
the fevered air of Paris. Wherever they alighted they touched men and
stung them to madness, and the madness that they bred was not confined
to those who believed the new gospel, but was shared equally by those
who resisted and loathed it. Burke, in his way, was as much crazed as
Camille Desmoulins, and it seemed impossible for people living in the
midst of that terrific convulsion of society to retain their judgment.
Nowhere ought men to have been better able to withstand the contagion
of the revolution than in America, and yet even here it produced the
same results as in countries nearly affected by it. The party
of opposition to the government became first ludicrous and then
dangerous, in their wild admiration and senseless imitation of ideas
and practices as utterly alien to the people of the United States as
cannibalism or fire-worship. Then the Federalists, on their side, fell
beneath the spell. The overthrow of religion, society, property, and
morals, which they beheld in Paris, seemed to them to be threatening
their own country, and they became as extreme as their opponents in
the exactly opposite direction. Federalist divines came to look
upon Jefferson, the most timid and prudent of men, as a Marat or
Robespierre, ready to reproduce the excesses of his prototypes; while
Pickering, Wolcott, and all their friends in public life regarded
themselves as engaged in a struggle for the preservation of order and
society and of all that they held most dear. They were in the habit of
comparing French principles to a pestilence, and the French republic
to a raging tiger. Even Hamilton was so moved as to believe that the
United States were on the verge of anarchy, and he laid down his life
at last in a senseless duel because he thought that his refusal to
fight would disable him for leading the forces of order when the final
crash came.

Washington, with his strong, calm judgment and his penetrating vision,
was less affected than any of those who had followed and sustained
him; but he was by no means untouched, and if we try to put ourselves
in his place, his views seem far from unreasonable. He had at the
outset wished well to the great movement in France, although even then
he doubted its final success. Very soon, however, doubts changed
to suspicions, and suspicions to conviction. As he saw the French
revolution move on in its inevitable path, he came to hate and dread
its deeds, its policies, and its doctrines. To a man of his temper it
could not have been otherwise, for license and disorder were above all
things detestable to him. They were the immediate fruits of the French
revolution, and when he saw a party devoted to France preaching the
same ideas in the United States, he could not but feel that there was
a real and practical danger confronting the country. This was why he
felt that we needed an energetic policy, and it was on this account
that he distrusted the President's renewed effort for peace. The
course of the opposition, as he saw it, threatened not merely the
existence of the Union, but wittingly or unwittingly struck at the
very foundations of society. His anxiety did not make him violent, as
was the case with lesser men, but it convinced him of the necessity of
strong measures, and he was not a man to shrink from vigorous action.
He was quite prepared to do all that could be done to maintain the
authority of the government, which he considered equivalent to the
protection of society, and for this reason he approved of the Alien
and Sedition acts.

In the process of time these two famous laws have come to be
universally condemned, and those who have not questioned their
constitutionality have declared them wrong, inexpedient and impolitic,
and the immediate cause of the overthrow of the party responsible for
them. Everybody has made haste to disown them, and there has been a
general effort on the part of Federalist sympathizers to throw the
blame for them on persons unknown. Biographers, especially, have tried
zealously to clear the skirts of their heroes from any connection with
these obnoxious acts; but the truth is, that, whether right or wrong,
wise or unwise, these laws had the entire support of the ruling party
from the President down. Hamilton, who objected to the first draft
because it was needlessly violent, approved the purpose and principle
of the legislation; and Washington was no exception to the general
rule. He was calm about it, but his approbation was none the less
distinct, and he took pains to circulate a sound argument, when he
met with one, in justification of the Alien and Sedition acts.[1] In
November, 1798, Alexander Spotswood wrote to him, asking his judgment
on those laws. As the writer announced himself to be thoroughly
convinced of their unconstitutionally, Washington, with a little
sarcasm, declined to enter into argument with him. "But," he
continued, "I will take the liberty of advising such as are not
'thoroughly convinced,' and whose minds are yet open to conviction,
to read the pieces and hear the arguments which have been adduced
in favor of, as well as those against, the constitutionality and
expediency of those laws, before they decide and consider to what
lengths a certain description of men in our country have already
driven, and seem resolved further to drive matters, and then ask
themselves if it is not time and expedient to resort to protecting
laws against aliens (for citizens, you certainly know, are not
affected by that law), who acknowledge no allegiance to this country,
and in many instances are sent among us, as there is the best
circumstantial evidence to prove, for the express purpose of poisoning
the minds of our people and sowing dissensions among them, in order to
alienate their affections from the government of their choice, thereby
endeavoring to dissolve the Union, and of course the fair and happy
prospects which are unfolding to our view from the Revolution."

[Footnote 1: See letter to Bushrod Washington, Sparks, vi. p. 387.]

With these strong and decided feelings as to the proper policy to
be adopted, and with such grave apprehensions as to the outcome
of existing difficulties, Washington was deeply distressed by the
divisions which he saw springing up among the Federalists. From his
point of view it was bad enough to have the people of the country
divided into two great parties; but that one of those parties, that
which was devoted to the maintenance of order and the preservation
of the Union, should be torn by internal dissensions, seemed to him
almost inconceivable. He regarded the conduct of the party and of its
leaders with quite as much indignation as sorrow, for it seemed to him
that they were unpatriotic and false to their trust in permitting for
a moment these personal factions which could have but one result. He
wrote to Trumbull on August 30, 1799:--

"It is too interesting not to be again repeated, that if principles
instead of men are not the steady pursuit of the Federalists, their
cause will soon be at an end; if these are pursued they will not
_divide_ at the next election of President; if they do divide on
so _important_ a point, it would be dangerous to trust them on any
other,--and none except those who might be solicitous to fill the
chair of government would do it."[1]

[Footnote 1: _Life of Silliman_, vol. ii. p. 385.]

He was a true prophet, but he did not live to see the verification
of his predictions, which would have been to him a source of so much
grief. In the midst of his anxieties about public affairs, and of
the quiet, homely interests which made the days at Mount Vernon so
pleasant, the end suddenly came. There was no more forewarning than if
he had been struck down by accident or violence. He had always been a
man of great physical vigor, and although he had had one or two acute
and dangerous illnesses arising from mental strain and much overwork,
there is no indication that he had any organic disease, and since his
retirement from the presidency he had been better than for many years.
There was not only no sign of breaking up, but he appeared full of
health and activity, and led his usual wholesome outdoor life with
keen enjoyment.

The morning of December 12 was overcast. He wrote to Hamilton warmly
approving the scheme for a military academy; and having finished this,
which was probably the last letter he ever wrote, he mounted his horse
and rode off for his usual round of duties. He noted in his diary,
where he always described the weather with methodical exactness, that
it began to snow about one o'clock, soon after to hail, and then
turned to a settled cold rain. He stayed out notwithstanding for about
two hours, and then came back to the house and franked his letters.
Mr. Lear noticed that his hair was damp with snow, and expressed a
fear that he had got wet; but the General said no, that his coat had
kept him dry, and sat down to dinner without changing his clothes. The
next morning snow was still falling so that he did not ride, and he
complained of a slight sore throat, but nevertheless went out in the
afternoon to mark some trees that were to be cut down. His hoarseness
increased toward night, yet still he made light of it, and read the
newspapers and chatted with Mrs. Washington during the evening.

When he went to bed Mr. Lear urged him to take something for his cold.
"No," he replied, "you know I never take anything for a cold. Let
it go as it came." In the night he had a severe chill, followed by
difficulty in breathing; and between two and three in the morning he
awoke Mrs. Washington, but would not allow her to get up and call a
servant lest she should take cold. At daybreak Mr. Lear was summoned,
and found Washington breathing with difficulty and hardly able to
speak. Dr. Craik, the friend and companion of many years, was sent
for at once, and meantime the General was bled slightly by one of the
overseers. A futile effort was also made to gargle his throat, and
external applications were tried without affording relief. Dr. Craik
arrived between eight and nine o'clock with two other physicians, when
other remedies were tried and the patient was bled again, all without
avail. About half-past four he called Mrs. Washington to his bedside
and asked her to get two wills from his desk. She did so, and after
looking them over he ordered one to be destroyed and gave her the
other to keep. He then said to Lear, speaking with the utmost
difficulty, but saying what he had to say with characteristic
determination and clearness: "I find I am going; my breath cannot last
long. I believed from the first that the disorder would prove fatal.
Do you arrange and record all my late military letters and papers.
Arrange my accounts and settle my books, as you know more about them
than any one else; and let Mr. Rawlins finish recording my other
letters, which he has begun." He then asked if Lear recollected
anything which it was essential for him to do, as he had but a very
short time to continue with them. Lear replied that he could recollect
nothing, but that he hoped the end was not so near. Washington smiled,
and said that he certainly was dying, and that as it was the
debt which we must all pay, he looked to the event with perfect

The disease which was killing him was acute oedematous laryngitis,[1]
which is as simple as it is rare and fatal,[2] and he was being
slowly strangled to death by the closing of the throat. He bore
the suffering, which must have been intense, with his usual calm
self-control, but as the afternoon wore on the keen distress and the
difficulty of breathing made him restless. From time to time Mr. Lear
tried to raise him and make his position easier. The General said,
"I fear I fatigue you too much;" and again, on being assured to the
contrary, "Well, it is a debt we must pay to each other, and I hope
when you want aid of this kind you will find it." He was courteous and
thoughtful of others to the last, and told his servant, who had been
standing all day in attendance upon him, to sit down. To Dr. Craik he
said: "I die hard, but I am not afraid to go. I believed from my first
attack that I should not survive it. My breath cannot last long." When
a little later the other physicians came in and assisted him to sit
up, he said: "I feel I am going. I thank you for your attentions, but
I pray you will take no more trouble about me. Let me go off quietly.
I cannot last long." He lay there for some hours longer, restless and
suffering, but utterly uncomplaining, taking such remedies as the
physicians ordered in silence. About ten o'clock he spoke again to
Lear, although it required a most desperate effort to do so. "I am
just going," he said. "Have me decently buried, and do not let my body
be put into the vault in less than three days after I am dead." Lear
bowed, and Washington said, "Do you understand me?" Lear answered,
"Yes." "'Tis well," he said, and with these last words again fell
silent. A little later he felt his own pulse, and, as he was counting
the strokes, Lear saw his countenance change. His hand dropped back
from the wrist he had been holding, and all was over. The end had
come. Washington was dead. He died as he had lived, simply and
bravely, without parade and without affectation. The last duties
were done, the last words said, the last trials borne with the quiet
fitness, the gracious dignity, that even the gathering mists of the
supreme hour could neither dim nor tarnish. He had faced life with a
calm, high, victorious spirit. So did he face death and the unknown
when Fate knocked at the door.

[Footnote 1: It was called at the time a quinsy.]

[Footnote 2: See Memoir on _The Last Sickness of Washington_, by James
Jackson, M.D. In response to an inquiry as to the modern treatment of
this disease, the late Dr. F.H. Hooper of Boston, well known as
an authority on diseases of the throat, wrote me: "Washington's
physicians are not to be criticised for their treatment, for they
acted according to their best light and knowledge. To treat such
a case in such a manner in the year 1889 would be little short
of criminal. At the present time the physicians would use the
laryngoscope and _look_ and _see_ what the trouble was. (The
laryngoscope has only been used since 1857.) In this disease the
function most interfered with is breathing. The one thing which saves
a patient in this disease is a _timely tracheotomy_. (I doubt if
tracheotomy had ever been performed in Virginia in Washington's time.)
Washington ought to have been tracheotomized, or rather that is the
way cases are saved to-day. No one would think of antimony, calomel,
or bleeding now. The point is to let in the air, and not to let out
the blood. After tracheotomy has been performed, the oedema and
swelling of the larynx subside in three to six days. The tracheotomy
tube is then removed, and respiration goes on again through the
natural channels."]



This last chapter cannot begin more fitly than by quoting again the
words of Mr. McMaster: "George Washington is an unknown man." Mr.
McMaster might have added that to no man in our history has greater
injustice of a certain kind been done, or more misunderstanding been
meted out, than to Washington, and although this sounds like the
merest paradox, it is nevertheless true. From the hour when the door
of the tomb at Mount Vernon closed behind his coffin to the present
instant, the chorus of praise and eulogy has never ceased, but has
swelled deeper and louder with each succeeding year. He has been set
apart high above all other men, and reverenced with the unquestioning
veneration accorded only to the leaders of mankind and the founders
of nations; and in this very devotion lies one secret at least of the
fact that, while all men have praised Washington, comparatively
few have understood him. He has been lifted high up into a lonely
greatness, and unconsciously put outside the range of human sympathy.
He has been accepted as a being as nearly perfect as it is given to
man to be, but our warm personal interest has been reserved for other
and lesser men who seemed to be nearer to us in their virtues and
their errors alike. Such isolation, lofty though it be, is perilous
and leads to grievous misunderstandings. From it has come the
widespread idea that Washington was cold, and as devoid of human
sympathies as he was free from the common failings of humanity.

Of this there will be something to say presently, but meantime there
is another more prolific source of error in regard to Washington to
be considered. Men who are loudly proclaimed to be faultless always
excite a certain kind of resentment. It is a dangerous eminence
for any one to occupy. The temples of Greece are in ruins, and her
marvelous literature is little more than a collection of fragments,
but the feelings of the citizens who exiled Aristides because they
were weary of hearing him called "just," exist still, unchanged and
unchangeable. Washington has not only been called "just," but he
has had every other good quality attributed to him by countless
biographers and eulogists with an almost painful iteration, and the
natural result has followed. Many persons have felt the sense of
fatigue which the Athenians expressed practically by their oyster
shells, and have been led to cast doubts on Washington's perfection
as the only consolation for their own sense of injury. Then, again,
Washington's fame has been so overshadowing, and his greatness so
immutable, that he has been very inconvenient to the admirers and the
biographers of other distinguished men. From these two sources, from
the general jealousy of the classic Greek variety, and the particular
jealousy born of the necessities of some other hero, much adverse and
misleading criticism has come. It has never been a safe or popular
amusement to assail Washington directly, and this course usually has
been shunned; but although the attacks have been veiled they have none
the less existed, and they have been all the more dangerous because
they were insidious.

In his lifetime Washington had his enemies and detractors in
abundance. During the Revolution he was abused and intrigued against,
thwarted and belittled, to a point which posterity in general scarcely
realizes. Final and conclusive victory brought an end to this, and
he passed to the presidency amid a general acclaim. Then the attacks
began again. Their character has been shown in a previous chapter, but
they were of no real moment except as illustrations of the existence
and meaning of party divisions. The ravings of Bache and Freneau,
and the coarse insults of Giles, were all totally unimportant in
themselves. They merely define the purposes and character of the party
which opposed Washington, and but for him would be forgotten. Among
his eminent contemporaries, Jefferson and Pickering, bitterly opposed
in all things else, have left memoranda and letters reflecting upon
the abilities of their former chief. Jefferson disliked him because he
blocked his path, but with habitual caution he never proceeded beyond
a covert sneer implying that Washington's mental powers, at no time
very great, were impaired by age during his presidency, and that he
was easily deceived by practised intriguers. Pickering, with more
boldness, set Washington down as commonplace, not original in his
thought, and vastly inferior to Hamilton, apparently because he was
not violent, and did not make up his mind before he knew the facts.

Adverse contemporary criticism, however, is slight in amount and vague
in character; it can be readily dismissed, and it has in no case
weight enough to demand much consideration. Modern criticism of the
same kind has been even less direct, but is much more serious and
cannot be lightly passed over. It invariably proceeds by negations
setting out with an apparently complete acceptance of Washington's
greatness, and then assailing him by telling us what he was not. Few
persons who have not given this matter a careful study realize how far
criticism of this sort has gone, and there is indeed no better way
of learning what Washington really was than by examining the various
negations which tell us what he was not.

Let us take the gravest first. It has been confidently asserted that
Washington was not an American in anything but the technical sense.
This idea is more diffused than, perhaps, would be generally supposed,
and it has also been formally set down in print, in which we are more
fortunate than in many other instances where the accusation has not
got beyond the elusive condition of loose talk.

In that most noble poem, the "Commemoration Ode," Mr. Lowell speaks of
Lincoln as "the first American." The poet's winged words fly far, and
find a resting-place in many minds. This idea has become widespread,
and has recently found fuller expression in Mr. Clarence King's
prefatory note to the great life of Lincoln by Hay and Nicolay.[1] Mr.
King says: "Abraham Lincoln was the first American to reach the lonely
height of immortal fame. Before him, within the narrow compass of our
history, were but two preëminent names,--Columbus the discoverer, and
Washington the founder; the one an Italian seer, the other an English
country gentleman. In a narrow sense, of course, Washington was an
American.... For all that he was English in his nature, habits, moral
standards, and social theories; in short, in all points which,
aside from mere geographical position, make up a man, he was as
thorough-going a British colonial gentleman as one could find anywhere
beneath the Union Jack. The genuine American of Lincoln's type came
later.... George Washington, an English commoner, vanquished George,
an English king."

[Footnote 1: Mr. Matthew Arnold, and more recently Professor Goldwin
Smith, have both spoken of Washington as an Englishman. I do not
mention this to discredit the statements of Mr. Lowell or Mr. King,
but merely to indicate how far this mistaken idea has traveled.]

In order to point his sentence and prove his first postulate, Mr.
King is obliged not only to dispose of Washington, but to introduce
Columbus, who never was imagined in the wildest fantasy to be an
American, and to omit Franklin. The omission of itself is fatal to Mr.
King's case. Franklin has certainly a "preëminent name." He has, too,
"immortal fame," although of course of a widely different character
from that of either Washington or Lincoln, but he was a great man
in the broad sense of a world-wide reputation. Yet no one has ever
ventured to call Benjamin Franklin an Englishman. He was a colonial
American, of course, but he was as intensely an American as any man
who has lived on this continent before or since. A man of the people,
he was American by the character of his genius, by his versatility,
the vivacity of his intellect, and his mental dexterity. In his
abilities, his virtues, and his defects he was an American, and so
plainly one as to be beyond the reach of doubt or question. There were
others of that period, too, who were as genuine Americans as Franklin
or Lincoln. Such were Jonathan Edwards, the peculiar product of New
England Calvinism; Patrick Henry, who first broke down colonial lines
to declare himself an American; Samuel Adams, the great forerunner
of the race of American politicians; Thomas Jefferson, the idol of
American democracy. These and many others Mr. King might exclude on
the ground that they did not reach the lonely height of immortal fame.
But Franklin is enough. Unless one is prepared to set Franklin down
as an Englishman, which would be as reasonable as to say that Daniel
Webster was a fine example of the Slavic race, it must be admitted
that it was possible for the thirteen colonies to produce in the
eighteenth century a genuine American who won immortal fame. If they
could produce one of one type, they could produce a second of another
type, and there was, therefore, nothing inherently impossible in
existing conditions to prevent Washington from being an American.

Lincoln was undoubtedly the first great American of his type, but that
is not the only type of American. It is one which, as bodied forth in
Abraham Lincoln, commands the love and veneration of the people of the
United States, and the admiration of the world wherever his name is
known. To the noble and towering greatness of his mind and character
it does not add one hair's breadth to say that he was the first
American, or that he was of a common or uncommon type. Greatness like
Lincoln's is far beyond such qualifications, and least of all is it
necessary to his fame to push Washington from his birthright. To say
that George Washington, an English commoner, vanquished George, an
English king, is clever and picturesque, but like many other pleasing
antitheses it is painfully inaccurate. Allegiance does not make race
or nationality. The Hindoos are subjects of Victoria, but they are not

Franklin shows that it was possible to produce a most genuine American
of unquestioned greatness in the eighteenth century, and with all
possible deference to Mr. Lowell and Mr. King, I venture the assertion
that George Washington was as genuine an American as Lincoln or
Franklin. He was an American of the eighteenth and not of the
nineteenth century, but he was none the less an American. I will go
further. Washington was not only an American of a pure and noble type,
but he was the first thorough American in the broad, national sense,
as distinct from the colonial American of his time.

After all, what is it to be an American? Surely it does not consist in
the number of generations merely which separate the individual from
his forefathers who first settled here. Washington was fourth in
descent from the first American of his name, while Lincoln was in
the sixth generation. This difference certainly constitutes no real
distinction. There are people to-day, not many luckily, whose families
have been here for two hundred and fifty years, and who are as utterly
un-American as it is possible to be, while there are others, whose
fathers were immigrants, who are as intensely American as any one can
desire or imagine. In a new country, peopled in two hundred and fifty
years by immigrants from the Old World and their descendants, the
process of Americanization is not limited by any hard and fast rules
as to time and generations, but is altogether a matter of individual
and race temperament. The production of the well-defined American
types and of the fixed national characteristics which now exist has
been going on during all that period, but in any special instance the
type to which a given man belongs must be settled by special study and

Washington belonged to the English-speaking race. So did Lincoln. Both
sprang from the splendid stock which was formed during centuries from
a mixture of the Celtic, Teutonic, Scandinavian, and Norman peoples,
and which is known to the world as English. Both, so far as we can
tell, had nothing but English blood, as it would be commonly called,
in their veins, and both were of that part of the English race which
emigrated to America, where it has been the principal factor in the
development of the new people called Americans. They were men of
English race, modified and changed in the fourth and sixth generations
by the new country, the new conditions, and the new life, and by the
contact and admixture of other races. Lincoln, a very great man, one
who has reached "immortal fame," was clearly an American of a type
that the Old World cannot show, or at least has not produced. The idea
of many persons in regard to Washington seems to be, that he was a
great man of a type which the Old World, or, to be more exact, which
England, had produced. One hears it often said that Washington was
simply an American Hampden. Such a comparison is an easy method of
description, nothing more. Hampden is memorable among men, not for
his abilities, which there is no reason to suppose were very
extraordinary, but for his devoted and unselfish patriotism, his
courage, his honor, and his pure and lofty spirit. He embodied what
his countrymen believe to be the moral qualities of their race in
their finest flower, and no nation, be it said, could have a nobler
ideal. Washington was conspicuous for the same qualities, exhibited
in like fashion. Is there a single one of the essential attributes of
Hampden that Lincoln also did not possess? Was he not an unselfish
and devoted patriot, pure in heart, gentle of spirit, high of honor,
brave, merciful, and temperate? Did he not lay down his life for
his country in the box at Ford's Theatre as ungrudgingly as Hampden
offered his in the smoke of battle upon Chalgrove field? Surely we
must answer Yes. In other words, these three men all had the great
moral attributes which are the characteristics of the English race in
its highest and purest development on either side of the Atlantic.
Yet no one has ever called Lincoln an American Hampden simply because
Hampden and Washington were men of ancient family, members of an
aristocracy by birth, and Lincoln was not. This is the distinction
between them; and how vain it is, in the light of their lives and
deeds, which make all pedigrees and social ranks look so poor and
worthless! The differences among them are trivial, the resemblances
deep and lasting.

I have followed out this comparison because it illustrates perfectly
the entirely superficial character of the reasons which have led men
to speak of Washington as an English country gentleman. It has been
said that he was English in his habits, moral standards, and social
theories, which has an important sound, but which for the most part
comes down to a question of dress and manners. He wore black velvet
and powdered hair, knee-breeches and diamond buckles, which are
certainly not American fashions to-day. But they were American
fashions in the last century, and every man wore them who could afford
to, no matter what his origin. Let it be remembered, however, that
Washington also wore the hunting-shirt and fringed leggins of the
backwoodsman, and that it was he who introduced this purely American
dress into the army as a uniform.

His manners likewise were those of the century in which he lived,
formal and stately, and of course colored by his own temperament. His
moral standards were those of a high-minded, honorable man. Are we
ready to say that they were not American? Did they differ in any vital
point from those of Lincoln? His social theories were simple in the
extreme. He neither overvalued nor underrated social conventions, for
he knew that they were a part of the fabric of civilized society, not
vitally important and yet not wholly trivial. He was a member of an
aristocracy, it is true, both by birth and situation. There was a
recognized social aristocracy in every colony before the Revolution,
for the drum-beat of the great democratic march had not then sounded.
In the northern colonies it was never strong, and in New England
it was especially weak, for the governments and people there were
essentially democratic, although they hardly recognized it themselves.
In Virginia and the southern colonies, on the other hand, there was a
vigorous aristocracy resting on the permanent foundation of slavery.
Where slaves are there must be masters, and where there are masters
there are aristocrats; but it was an American and not an English
aristocracy. Lineage and family had weight in the south as in the
north, but that which put a man undeniably in the ruling class was the
ownership of black slaves and the possession of a white skin. This
aristocracy lasted with its faults and its virtues until it perished
in the shock of civil war, when its foundation of human slavery was
torn from under it. From the slave-holding aristocracy of Virginia
came, with the exception of Patrick Henry, all the great men of that
State who did so much for American freedom, and who rendered such
imperishable service to the republic in law, in politics, and in war.
From this aristocracy came Marshall, and Mason, and Madison, the Lees,
the Randolphs, the Harrisons, and the rest. From it came also Thomas
Jefferson, the hero of American democracy; and to it was added Patrick
Henry, not by lineage or slave-holding, but by virtue of his brilliant
abilities, and because he, too, was an aristocrat by the immutable
division of race. It was this aristocracy into which Washington was
born, and amid which he was brought up. To say that it colored his
feelings and habits is simply to say that he was human; but to urge
that it made him un-American is to exclude at once from the ranks
of Americans all the great men given to the country by the South.
Washington, in fact, was less affected by his surroundings, and rose
above them more quickly, than any other man of his day, because he was
the greatest man of his time, with a splendid breadth of vision.

When he first went among the New England troops at the siege of
Boston, the rough, democratic ways of the people jarred upon him, and
offended especially his military instincts, for he was not only a
Virginian but he was a great soldier, and military discipline is
essentially aristocratic. These volunteer soldiers, called together
from the plough and the fishing-smack, were free and independent men,
unaccustomed to any rule but their own, and they had still to learn
the first rudiments of military service. To Washington, soldiers who
elected and deposed their officers, and who went home when they felt
that they had a right to do so, seemed well-nigh useless and quite
incomprehensible. They angered him and tried his patience almost
beyond endurance, and he spoke of them at the outset in harsh terms by
no means wholly unwarranted. But they were part of his problem, and he
studied them. He was a soldier, but not an aristocrat wrapped up in
immutable prejudices, and he learned to know these men, and they came
to love, obey, and follow him with an intelligent devotion far better
than anything born of mere discipline. Before the year was out, he
wrote to Lund Washington praising the New England troops in the
highest terms, and at the close of the war he said that practically
the whole army then was composed of New England soldiers. They stayed
by him to the end, and as they were steadfast in war so they remained
in peace. He trusted and confided in New England, and her sturdy
democracy gave him a loyal and unflinching support to the day of his

This openness of mind and superiority to prejudice were American in
the truest and best sense; but Washington showed the same qualities in
private life and toward individuals which he displayed in regard to
communities. He was free, of course, from the cheap claptrap which
abuses the name of democracy by saying that birth, breeding, and
education are undemocratic, and therefore to be reckoned against a
man. He valued these qualities rightly, but he looked to see what a
man was and not who he was, which is true democracy. The two men who
were perhaps nearest to his affections were Knox and Hamilton. One
was a Boston bookseller, who rose to distinction by bravery and good
service, and the other was a young adventurer from the West Indies,
without either family or money at his back. It was the same with much
humbler persons. He never failed, on his way to Philadelphia, to stop
at Wilmington and have a chat with one Captain O'Flinn, who kept a
tavern and had been a Revolutionary soldier; and this was but a single
instance among many of like character. Any soldier of the Revolution
was always sure of a welcome at the hands of his old commander.
Eminent statesmen, especially of the opposition, often found his
manner cold, but no old soldier ever complained of it, no servant ever
left him, and the country people about Mount Vernon loved him as a
neighbor and friend, and not as the distant great man of the army and
the presidency.

He believed thoroughly in popular government. One does not find in his
letters the bitter references to democracy and to the populace which
can be discovered in the writings of so many of his party friends,
legacies of pre-revolutionary ideas inflamed by hatred of Parisian
mobs. He always spoke of the people at large with a simple respect,
because he knew that the future of the United States was in their
hands and not in that of any class, and because he believed that they
would fulfill their mission. The French Revolution never carried him
away, and when it bred anarchy and bloodshed he became hostile to
French influence, because license and disorder were above all
things hateful to him. Yet he did not lose his balance in the other
direction, as was the case with so many of his friends. He resisted
and opposed French ideas and French democracy, so admired and so
loudly preached by Jefferson and his followers, because he esteemed
them perilous to the country. But there is not a word to indicate that
he did not think that such dangers would be finally overcome, even
if at the cost of much suffering, by the sane sense and ingrained
conservatism of the American people. Other men talked more noisily
about the people, but no one trusted them in the best sense more than
Washington, and his only fear was that evils might come from their
being misled by false lights.

Once more, what is it to be an American? Putting aside all the outer
shows of dress and manners, social customs and physical peculiarities,
is it not to believe in America and in the American people? Is it not
to have an abiding and moving faith in the future and in the destiny
of America?--something above and beyond the patriotism and love which
every man whose soul is not dead within him feels for the land of his
birth? Is it not to be national and not sectional, independent and not
colonial? Is it not to have a high conception of what this great new
country should be, and to follow out that ideal with loyalty and

Has any man in our history fulfilled these conditions more perfectly
and completely than George Washington? Has any man ever lived who
served the American people more faithfully, or with a higher and truer
conception of the destiny and possibilities of the country? Born of an
old and distinguished family, he found himself, when a boy just out of
school, dependent on his mother, and with an inheritance that promised
him more acres than shillings. He did not seek to live along upon what
he could get from the estate, and still less did he feel that it was
only possible for him to enter one of the learned professions. Had
he been an Englishman in fact or in feeling, he would have felt very
naturally the force of the limitations imposed by his social position.
But being an American, his one idea was to earn his living honestly,
because it was the creed of his country that earning an honest living
is the most creditable thing a man can do. Boy as he was, he went out
manfully into the world to win with his own hands the money which
would make him self-supporting and independent. His business as a
surveyor took him into the wilderness, and there he learned that the
first great work before the American people was to be the conquest of
the continent. He dropped the surveyor's rod and chain to negotiate
with the savages, and then took up the sword to fight them and the
French, so that the New World might be secured to the English-speaking
race. A more purely American training cannot be imagined. It was not
the education of universities or of courts, but that of hard-earned
personal independence, won in the backwoods and by frontier fighting.
Thus trained, he gave the prime of his manhood to leading the
Revolution which made his country free, and his riper years to
building up that independent nationality without which freedom would
have been utterly vain.

He was the first to rise above all colonial or state lines, and grasp
firmly the conception of a nation to be formed from the thirteen
jarring colonies. The necessity of national action in the army was of
course at once apparent to him, although not to others; but he carried
the same broad views into widely different fields, where at the time
they wholly escaped notice. It was Washington, oppressed by a thousand
cares, who in the early days of the Revolution saw the need of Federal
courts for admiralty cases and for other purposes. It was he who
suggested this scheme, years before any one even dreamed of the
Constitution; and from the special committees of Congress, formed for
this object in accordance with this advice, came, in the process of
time, the Federal judiciary of the United States.[1] Even in that
early dawn of the Revolution, Washington had clear in his own mind the
need of a continental system for war, diplomacy, finance, and law, and
he worked steadily to bring this policy to fulfilment.

[Footnote 1: See the very interesting memoir on this subject by the
Hon. J.C. Bancroft Davis.]

When the war was over, the thought that engaged his mind most was
of the best means to give room for expansion, and to open up the
unconquered continent to the forerunners of a mighty army of settlers.
For this purpose all his projects for roads, canals, and surveys were
formed and forced into public notice. He looked beyond the limits of
the Atlantic colonies. His vision went far over the barriers of the
Alleghanies; and where others saw thirteen infant States backed by the
wilderness, he beheld the germs of a great empire. While striving thus
to lay the West open to the march of the settler, he threw himself
into the great struggle, where Hamilton and Madison, and all who
"thought continentally," were laboring for that union without which
all else was worse than futile.

From the presidency of the convention that formed the Constitution, he
went to the presidency of the government which that convention brought
into being; and in all that followed, the one guiding thought was to
clear the way for the advance of the people, and to make that people
and their government independent in thought, in policy, and in
character, as the Revolution had made them independent politically.
The same spirit which led him to write during the war that our battles
must be fought and our victories won by Americans, if victory and
independence were to be won at all, or to have any real and solid
worth, pervaded his whole administration. We see it in his Indian
policy, which was directed not only to pacifying the tribes, but
to putting it out of their power to arrest or even delay western
settlement. We see it in his attitude toward foreign ministers, and in
his watchful persistence in regard to the Mississippi, which ended in
our securing the navigation of the great river. We see it again in his
anxious desire to keep peace until we had passed the point where war
might bring a dissolution; and how real that danger was, and how clear
and just his perception of it, is shown by the Kentucky and Virginia
Resolutions and by the separatist movement in New England during the
later war of 1812. Even in 1812 the national existence was menaced,
but the danger would have proved fatal if it had come twenty years
earlier, with parties divided by their sympathies with contending
foreign nations. It was for the sake of the Union that Washington was
so patient with France, and faced so quietly the storm of indignation
aroused by the Jay treaty.

In his whole foreign policy, which was so peculiarly his own, the
American spirit was his pole star; and of all the attacks made upon
him, the only one which really tried his soul was the accusation that
he was influenced by foreign predilections. The blind injustice, which
would not comprehend that his one purpose was to be American and to
make the people and the government American, touched him more deeply
than anything else. As party strife grew keener over the issues raised
by the war between France and England, and as French politics and
French ideas became more popular, his feelings found more frequent
utterance, and it is interesting to see how this man, who, we are now
told, was an English country gentleman, wrote and felt on this matter
in very trying times. Let us remember, as we listen to him now in his
own defense, that he was an extremely honest man, silent for the most
part in doing his work, but when he spoke meaning every word he said,
and saying exactly what he meant. This was the way in which he
wrote to Patrick Henry in October, 1795, when he offered him the
secretaryship of State:--

"My ardent desire is, and my aim has been as far as depended upon the
executive department, to comply strictly with all our engagements,
foreign and domestic; but to keep the United States free from
political connection with every other country, to see them independent
of all and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an
_American_ character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced that
we act for _ourselves_, and not for others. This, in my judgment, is
the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home; and not, by
becoming partisans of Great Britain or France, create dissensions,
disturb the public tranquillity, and destroy, perhaps forever, the
cement which binds the Union."

Not quite a year later, when the Jay treaty was still agitating the
public mind in regard to our relations with France, he wrote to

"The Executive has a plain road to pursue, namely, to fulfill all the
engagements which duty requires; be influenced beyond this by none of
the contending parties; maintain a strict neutrality unless obliged
by imperious circumstances to depart from it; do justice to all, and
never forget that we are Americans, the remembrance of which will
convince us that we ought not to be French or English."

After leaving the presidency, when our difficulties with France seemed
to be thickening, and the sky looked very dark, he wrote to a friend
saying that he firmly believed that all would come out well, and then
added: "To me this is so demonstrable, that not a particle of doubt
could dwell on my mind relative thereto, if our citizens would
advocate their own cause, instead of that of any other nation under
the sun; that is, if, instead of being Frenchmen or Englishmen in
politics they would be Americans, indignant at every attempt of either
or any other powers to establish an influence in our councils or
presume to sow the seeds of discord or disunion among us."

A few days later he wrote to Thomas Pinckney:

"It remains to be seen whether our country will stand upon independent
ground, or be directed in its political concerns by any other nation.
A little time will show who are its true friends, or, what is
synonymous, who are true Americans."

But this eager desire for a true Americanism did not stop at our
foreign policy, or our domestic politics. He wished it to enter into
every part of the life and thought of the people, and when it was
proposed to bring over the entire staff of a Genevan university to
take charge of a national university here, he threw his influence
against it, expressing grave doubts as to the advantage of importing
an entire "seminary of foreigners," for the purpose of American
education. The letter on this subject, which was addressed to John
Adams, then continued:--

"My opinion with respect to emigration is that except of useful
mechanics, and some particular descriptions of men or professions,
there is no need of encouragement; while the policy or advantage of
its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may
be much questioned; for by so doing they retain the language, habits,
and principles, good or bad, which they bring with them. Whereas by
an intermixture with our people, they or their descendants get
assimilated to our customs, measures, and laws; in a word, soon become
one people."

He had this thought so constantly in his mind that it found expression
in his will, in the clause bequeathing certain property for the
foundation of a university in the District of Columbia. "I proceed,"
he said, "after this recital for the more correct understanding of the
case, to declare that it has always been a source of serious regret
with me to see the youth of these United States sent to foreign
countries for the purposes of education, often before their minds were
formed, or they had imbibed any adequate ideas of the happiness of
their own; contracting too frequently not only habits of dissipation
and extravagance, but _principles unfriendly to republican government
and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind_, which thereafter
are rarely overcome; for these reasons it has been my ardent wish to
see a plan devised on a liberal scale, which would have a tendency
to spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising empire,
thereby to do away with local attachments and state prejudices, as
far as the nature of things would or indeed ought to admit, from our
national councils."

Were these the words of an English country gentleman, who chanced to
be born in one of England's colonies? Persons of the English country
gentleman pattern at that time were for the most part loyalists;
excellent people, very likely, but not of the Washington type. Their
hopes and ideals, their policies and their beliefs were in the mother
country, not here. The faith, the hope, the thought, of Washington
were all in the United States. His one purpose was to make America
independent in thought and action, and he strove day and night to
build up a nation. He labored unceasingly to lay the foundations of
the great empire which, with almost prophetic vision, he saw beyond
the mountains, by opening the way for the western movement. His
foreign policy was a declaration to the world of a new national
existence, and he strained every nerve to lift our politics from the
colonial condition of foreign issues. He wished all immigration to
be absorbed and moulded here, so that we might be one people, one in
speech and in political faith. His last words, given to the world
after the grave had closed over him, were a solemn plea for a home
training for the youth of the Republic, so that all men might think
as Americans, untainted by foreign ideas, and rise above all local
prejudices. He did not believe that mere material development was the
only or the highest goal; for he knew that the true greatness of a
nation was moral and intellectual, and his last thoughts were for the
up-building of character and intelligence. He was never a braggart,
and mere boasting about his country as about himself was utterly
repugnant to him. He never hesitated to censure what he believed to be
wrong, but he addressed his criticisms to his countrymen in order to
lead them to better things, and did not indulge in them in order
to express his own discontent, or to amuse or curry favor with
foreigners. In a word, he loved his country, and had an abiding faith
in its future and in its people, upon whom his most earnest thoughts
and loftiest aspirations were centred. No higher, purer, or more
thorough Americanism than his could be imagined. It was a conception
far in advance of the time, possible only to a powerful mind, capable
of lifting itself out of existing conditions and alien influences, so
that it might look with undazzled gaze upon the distant future. The
first American in the broad national sense, there has never been a man
more thoroughly and truly American than Washington. It will be a sorry
day when we consent to take that noble figure from "the forefront of
the nation's life," and rank George Washington as anything but an
American of Americans, instinct with the ideas, as he was devoted to
the fortunes of the New World which gave him birth.

There is another class of critics who have attacked Washington from
another side. These are the gentlemen who find him in the way of their
own heroes. Washington was a man of decided opinions about men as well
as measures, and he was extremely positive. He had his enemies as
well as his friends, his likes and his dislikes, strong and clear,
according to his nature. The respect which he commanded in his life
has lasted unimpaired since his death, and it is an awkward thing for
the biographers of some of his contemporaries to know that Washington
opposed, distrusted, or disliked their heroes. Therefore, in one way
or another they have gone round a stumbling-block which they could
not remove. The commonest method is to eliminate Washington by
representing him vaguely as the great man with whom every one agreed,
who belonged to no party, and favored all; then he is pushed quietly
aside. Evils and wrong-doing existed under his administration from the
opposition point of view, but they were the work of his ministers and
of wicked advisers. The king could do no wrong, and this pleasant
theory, which is untrue in fact, amounts to saying that Washington had
no opinions, but was simply a grand and imposing figure-head. The only
ground for it which is even suggested is that he sought advice, that
he used other men's ideas, and that he made up his mind slowly. All
this is true, and these very qualities help to show his greatness,
for only small minds mistake their relations with the universe, and
confuse their finite powers with omniscience. The great man, who
sees facts and reads the future, uses other men, knows the bounds of
possibility in action, can decide instantly if need be, but leaves
rash conclusions to those who are incapable of reaching any others.
In reality there never was a man who had more definite and vigorous
opinions than Washington, and the responsibility which he bore he
never shifted to other shoulders. The work of the Revolution and the
presidency, whether good or bad, was his own, and he was ready to
stand or fall by it.

There is a still further extension of the idea that Washington
represented all parties and all views, and had neither party nor
opinions of his own. This theory is to the effect that he was great by
character alone, but that in other respects he did not rise above the
level of dignified common-place. Such, for instance, is apparently the
view of Mr. Parton, who in a clever essay discusses in philosophical
fashion the possible advantages arising from the success attained by
mere character, as in the case of Washington. Mr. Parton points his
theory by that last incident of counting the pulse as death drew nigh.
How characteristic, he exclaims, of the methodical, common-place
man, is such an act. It was not common, be it said, even were it
common-place. It was certainly a very simple action, but rare enough
so far as we know on the every-day deathbed, or in the supreme hour of
dying greatness, and it was wholly free from that affectation which
Dr. Johnson thought almost inseparable from the last solemn moment.
Irregularity is not proof of genius any more than method, and of the
two, the latter is the surer companion of greatness. The last hour of
Washington showed that calm, collected courage which had never failed
in war or peace; and so far it was proof of character. But was it not
something more? The common-place action of counting the pulse was in
reality profoundly characteristic, for it was the last exhibition of
the determined purpose to know the truth, and grasp the fact. Death
was upon him; he would know the fact. He had looked facts in the face
all his life, and when the mists gathered, he would face them still.

High and splendid character, great moral qualities for after-ages to
admire, he had beyond any man of modern times. But to suppose that in
other respects he belonged to the ranks of mediocrity is not only a
contradiction in terms, but utterly false. It was not character that
fought the Trenton campaign and carried the revolution to victory.
It was military genius. It was not character that read the future of
America and created our foreign policy. It was statesmanship of the
highest order. Without the great moral qualities which he possessed,
his career would not have been possible; but it would have been quite
as impossible if the intellect had not equaled the character. There is
no need to argue the truism that Washington was a great man, for that
is universally admitted. But it is very needful that his greatness
should be rightly understood, and the right understanding of it is by
no means universal. His character has been exalted at the expense of
his intellect, and his goodness has been so much insisted upon both by
admirers and critics that we are in danger of forgetting that he had a
great mind as well as high moral worth.

This false attitude both of praise and criticism has been so persisted
in that if we accept the premises we are forced to the conclusion that
Washington was actually dull, while with much more openness it is
asserted that he was cold and at times even harsh. "In the mean time,"
says Mr. McMaster, "Washington was deprived of the services of the
only two men his cold heart ever really loved." "A Cromwell with the
juice squeezed out," says Carlyle somewhere, in his rough and summary
fashion. Are these judgments correct? Was Washington really, with
all his greatness, dull and cold? He was a great general and a great
President, first in war and first in peace and all that, says our
caviler, but his relaxation was in farm accounts, and his business war
and politics. He could plan a campaign, preserve a dignified manner,
and conduct an administration, but he could write nothing more
entertaining than a state paper or a military report. He gave himself
up to great affairs, he was hardly human, and he shunned the graces,
the wit, and all the salt of life, and passed them by on the other

That Washington was serious and earnest cannot be doubted, for no man
could have done what he did and been otherwise. He had little time
for the lighter sides of life, and he never exerted himself to say
brilliant and striking things. He was not a maker of phrases and
proclamations, and the quality of the charlatan, so often found in men
of the highest genius, was utterly lacking in him. He never talked or
acted with an eye to dramatic effect, and this is one reason for the
notion that he was dull and dry; for the world dearly loves a little
charlatanism, and is never happier than in being brilliantly duped.
But was he therefore really dull and juiceless, unlovable and
unloving? Responsibility came upon him when a boy, and he was hardly
of age when he was carrying in his hands the defense of his colony and
the heavy burden of other human lives. Experience like this makes a
man who is good for anything sober; but sobriety is not dullness, and
if we look a little below the surface we find the ready refutation of
such an idea. In his letters and even in the silent diaries we detect
the keenest observation. He looked at the country, as he traveled,
with the eye of the soldier and the farmer, and mastered its features
and read its meaning with rapid and certain glance. It was not to him
a mere panorama of fields and woods, of rivers and mountains. He
saw the beauties of nature and the opportunities of the farmer, the
trader, or the manufacturer wherever his gaze rested. He gathered
in the same way the statistics of the people and of their various
industries. In the West Indies, on the Virginian frontier, in his
journeys when he was President, he read the story of all he saw as he
would have read a book, and brought it home with him for use.

[Illustration: NATHANAEL GREENE]

In the same way he read and understood men, and had that power of
choosing among them which is essential in its highest form to the
great soldier or statesman. His selection never erred unless in a rare
instance like that of Monroe, forced on him by political exigencies,
or when the man of his choice would not serve. Congress chose Gates
for the southern campaign, but Washington selected Greene, in whom he
saw great military ability before any one else realized it. He took
Hamilton, young and unknown, from the captaincy of an artillery
company, and placed him on his personal staff. He bore with Hamilton's
outbreak of temper, kept him ever in his confidence, and finally gave
him the opportunity to prove himself the most brilliant of American
statesmen. In the crowd of foreign volunteers, the men whom he
especially selected and trusted were Lafayette and Steuben, each in
his way of real value to the service. Even more remarkable than the
ability to recognize great talent was his capacity to weigh and value
with a nice exactness the worth of men who did not rise to the level
of greatness. There is a recently published letter, too long for
quotation here, in which he gives his opinions of all the leading
officers of the Revolution,[1] and each one shows the most remarkable
insight, as well as a sharp definiteness of outline that indicates
complete mastery. These compact judgments were so sound that even the
lapse of a century and all the study of historians and biographers
find nothing in their keen analysis to alter and little to add. He did
not expect to discover genius everywhere, or to find a marshal's
baton in every knapsack, but he used men according to their value and
possibilities, which is quite as essential as the preliminary work
of selection. His military staff illustrated this faculty admirably.
Every man, after a few trials and changes, fitted his place and did
his particular task better than any one else could have done it.
Colonel Meade, loyal and gallant, a good soldier and planter, said
that Hamilton did the headwork of Washington's staff and he the
riding. When the war was drawing to a close, Washington said one day
to Hamilton, "You must go to the Bar, which you can reach in six
months." Then turning to Meade, "Friend Dick, you must go to your
plantation; you will make a good farmer, and an honest foreman of the
grand jury."[2] The prediction was exactly fulfilled, with all that it
implied, in both cases. But let it not be supposed that there was any
touch of contempt in the advice to Meade. On the contrary, there was
a little warmer affection, if anything, for he honored success in any
honest pursuit, especially in farming, which he himself loved. But he
distinguished the two men perfectly, and he knew what each was and
what each meant. It seems little to say, but if we stop to think of
it, this power to read men aright and see the truth in them and about
them is a power more precious than any other bestowed by the kindest
of fairy godmothers. The lame devil of Le Sage looked into the secrets
of life through the roofs of houses, and much did he find of the
secret story of humanity. But the great man looking with truth and
kindliness into men's natures, and reading their characters and
abilities in their words and acts, has a higher and better power than
that attributed to the wandering sprite, for such a man holds in his
hand the surest key to success. Washington, quiet and always on the
watch, after the fashion of silent greatness, studied untiringly the
ever recurring human problems, and his just conclusions were powerful
factors in the great result. He was slow, when he had plenty of time,
in adopting a policy or plan, or in settling a public question, but
he read men very quickly. He was never under any delusion as to Lee,
Gates, Conway, or any of the rest who engaged against him because they
were restless from the first under the suspicion that he knew them
thoroughly. Arnold deceived him because his treason was utterly
inconceivable to Washington, and because his remarkable gallantry
excused his many faults. But with this exception it may be safely
said that Washington was never misled as to men, either as general or
President. His instruments were not invariably the best and sometimes
failed him, but they were always the best he could get, and he knew
their defects and ran the inevitable risks with his eyes open. Such
sure and rapid judgments of men and their capabilities were possible
only to a man of keen perception and accurate observation, neither of
which is characteristic of a slow or common-place mind.

[Footnote 1: _Magazine of American History_, vol. iii., 1879, p. 81.]

[Footnote 2: _Memoir of Rt. Rev. William Meade_, by Philip Slaughter,
D.D., p. 7.]

These qualities were, of course, gifts of nature, improved and
developed by the training of a life of action on a great scale. He had
received, indeed, little teaching except that of experience, and the
world of war and politics had been to him both school and college. His
education had been limited in the extreme, scarcely going beyond the
most rudimentary branches except in mathematics, and this is very
apparent in his early letters. He seems always to have written a
handsome hand and to have been good at figures, but his spelling at
the outset was far from perfect, and his style, although vigorous, was
abrupt and rough. He felt this himself, took great pains to correct
his faults in this respect, and succeeded, as he did in most things.
Mr. Sparks has produced a false impression in this matter by smoothing
and amending in very extensive fashion all the earlier letters, so as
to give an appearance of uniformity throughout the correspondence; a
process which not only destroyed much of the vigor and force of the
early writings, but made them somewhat unnatural. The surveyor and
frontier soldier wrote very differently from the general of the army
and the President of the United States, and the improvements of Mr.
Sparks only served to hide the real man.[1]

[Footnote 1: These facts in regard to Washington's early letters,
and to his correspondence generally, were first brought to public
attention by the Reed letters, and by the controversy between Mr.
Sparks and Lord Mahon. They have, of course, been long familiar to
students of the original manuscripts. The full extent, however, of the
changes made by Mr. Sparks, and of the mischief he wrought, and of the
injustice thus done both to his hero and to posterity, has but lately
been made known generally by the new edition of Washington's papers
which have been published, under the supervision of Mr. W.C. Ford.
Washington himself, when he undertook to arrange his military and
state papers after his retirement from the presidency, began to
correct the style of some of his earlier letters. This was natural
enough, and he had a right to do what he pleased with his own, even
if he thereby injured the material of the future historian and
biographer. But he did not proceed far in his work, and the fact
that he corrected a few of his own letters gave Mr. Sparks no right
whatever to enter upon a wholesale revision.]

If Washington had been of coarse fibre and heavy mind, this lack of
education would have troubled him but little. His great success in
that case would have served only to convince him of the uselessness of
education except for inferior persons, who could not get along in the
world without artificial aids. As it was, he never ceased to regret
his deficiency in this respect, and when Humphreys urged him to
prepare a history or memoirs of the war, he replied: "In a former
letter I informed you, my dear Humphreys, that if I had talent for
it, I have not leisure to turn my thoughts to commentaries. A
consciousness of a defective education and a certainty of a want of
time unfit me for such an undertaking." He was misled by his own
modesty as to his capacity, but his strong feeling as to his lack of
schooling haunted and troubled him always, although it did not make
him either indifferent or bitter. He only admired more that which he
himself had missed. He regarded education, and especially the higher
forms, with an almost pathetic reverence, and its advancement was
never absent from his thoughts. When he was made chancellor of the
college of William and Mary, he was more deeply pleased than by any
honor ever conferred upon him, and he accepted the position with a
diffidence and a seriousness which were touching in such a man. In the
same spirit he gave money to the Alexandria Academy, and every scheme
to promote public education in Virginia had his eager support. His
interest was not confined by state lines, for there was nothing so
near his heart as the foundation of a national university. He urged
its establishment upon Congress over and over again, and, as has been
seen, left money in his will for its endowment.

All his sympathies and tastes were those of a man of refined mind, and
of a lover of scholarship and sound learning. Naturally a very modest
man, and utterly devoid of any pretense, he underrated, as a matter of
fact, his own accomplishments. He distrusted himself so much that he
always turned to Hamilton, both during the Revolution and afterwards,
as well as in the preparation of the farewell address, to aid him in
clothing his thoughts in a proper dress, which he felt himself unable
to give them. His tendency was to be too diffuse and too involved,
but as a rule his style was sufficiently clear, and he could express
himself with nervous force when the occasion demanded, and with a
genuine and stately eloquence when he was deeply moved, as in the
farewell to Congress at the close of the war. It is not a little
remarkable that in his letters after the first years there is nothing
to betray any lack of early training. They are the letters, not of a
scholar or a literary man, but of an educated gentleman; and although
he seldom indulged in similes or allusions, when he did so they were
apt and correct. This was due to his perfect sanity of mind, and to
his aversion to all display or to any attempt to shine in borrowed
plumage. He never undertook to speak or write on any subject, or to
make any reference, which he did not understand. He was a lover of
books, collected a library, and read always as much as his crowded
life would permit. When he was at Newburgh, at the close of the war,
he wrote to Colonel Smith in New York to send him the following

  "Charles the XIIth of Sweden.
  Lewis the XVth, 2 vols.
  History of the Life and Reign of the Czar Peter the Great.
  Campaigns of Marshal Turenne.
  Locke on the Human Understanding.
  Robertson's History of America, 2 vols.
  Robertson's History of Charles V.
  Voltaire's Letters.
  Life of Gustavus Adolphus.
  Sully's Memoirs.
  Goldsmith's Natural History.
  Mildman on Trees.
  Vertot's Revolution of Rome, 3 vols.
  Vertot's Revolution of Portugal, 3 vols.
  {The Vertot's if they are in estimation.}

  If there is a good Bookseller's shop in the City, I would thank
  you for sending me a catalogue of the Books and their prices that
  I may choose such as I want."

His tastes ran to history and to works treating of war or agriculture,
as is indicated both by this list and some earlier ones. It is not
probable that he gave so much attention to lighter literature,
although he wrote verses in his youth, and by an occasional allusion
in his letters he seems to have been familiar with some of the great
works of the imagination, like "Don Quixote."[1]

[Footnote 1: At his death the appraisers of the estate found 863
volumes in his library, besides a great number of pamphlets,
magazines, and maps. This was a large collection of books for those
days, and showed that the possessor, although purely a man of affairs,
loved reading and had literary tastes.]

He never freed himself from the self-distrust caused by his profound
sense of his own deficiencies in education, on the one hand, and
his deep reverence for learning, on the other. He had fought the
Revolution, which opened the way for a new nation, and was at the
height of his fame when he wrote to the French officers, who begged
him to visit France, that he was "too old to learn French or to talk
with ladies;" and it was this feeling in a large measure which kept
him from ever being a maker of phrases or a sayer of brilliant things.
In other words, the fact that he was modest and sensitive has been the
chief cause of his being thought dull and cold. This idea, moreover,
is wholly that of posterity, for there is not the slightest indication
on the part of any contemporary that Washington could not talk well
and did not appear to great advantage in society. It is posterity,
looking with natural weariness at endless volumes of official letters
with all the angles smoothed off by the editorial plane, that has
come to suspect him of being dull in mind and heavy in wit. His
contemporaries knew him to be dignified and often found him stern, but
they never for a moment considered him stupid, or thought him a man at
whom the shafts of wit could be shot with impunity. They were fully
conscious that he was as able to hold his own in conversation as he
was in the cabinet or in the field; and we can easily see the justice
of contemporary opinion if we take the trouble to break through the
official bark and get at the real man who wrote the letters. In many
cases we find that he could employ irony and sarcasm with real force,
and his powers of description, even if stilted at times, were vigorous
and effective. All these qualities come out strongly in his letters,
if carefully read, and his private correspondence in particular shows
a keenness and point which the formalities of public intercourse
veiled generally from view. We are fortunate in having the account of
a disinterested and acute observer of the manner in which Washington
impressed a casual acquaintance in conversation. The actor Bernard,
whom we have already quoted, and whom we left with Washington at the
gates of Mount Vernon, gives us the following vivid picture of what

"In conversation his face had not much variety of expression. A look
of thoughtfulness was given by the compression of the mouth and the
indentations of the brow (suggesting an habitual conflict with, and
mastery over, passion), which did not seem so much to disdain a
sympathy with trivialities as to be incapable of denoting them. Nor
had his voice, so far as I could discover in our quiet talk,
much change or richness of intonation, but he always spoke with
earnestness, and his eyes (glorious conductors of the light within)
burned with a steady fire which no one could mistake for mere
affability; they were one grand expression of the well-known line: 'I
am a man, and interested in all that concerns humanity.' In one hour
and a half's conversation he touched on every topic that I brought
before him with an even current of good sense, if he embellished it
with little wit or verbal elegance. He spoke like a man who had felt
as much as he had reflected, and reflected more than he had spoken;
like one who had looked upon society rather in the mass than in
detail, and who regarded the happiness of America but as the first
link in a series of universal victories; for his full faith in the
power of those results of civil liberty which he saw all around him
led him to foresee that it would, erelong, prevail in other countries,
and that the social millennium of Europe would usher in the political.
When I mentioned to him the difference I perceived between the
inhabitants of New England and of the Southern States, he remarked: 'I
esteem those people greatly; they are the stamina of the Union and its
greatest benefactors. They are continually spreading themselves too,
to settle and enlighten less favored quarters. Dr. Franklin is a New
Englander.' When I remarked that his observations were flattering to
my country, he replied, with great good-humor, 'Yes, yes, Mr. Bernard,
but I consider your country the cradle of free principles, not their
armchair. Liberty in England is a sort of idol; people are bred up in
the belief and love of it, but see little of its doings. They walk
about freely, but then it is between high walls; and the error of its
government was in supposing that after a portion of their subjects had
crossed the sea to live upon a common, they would permit their friends
at home to build up those walls about them.' A black coming in at this
moment with a jug of spring water, I could not repress a smile, which
the general at once interpreted. 'This may seem a contradiction,' he
continued, 'but I think you must perceive that it is neither a crime
nor an absurdity. When we profess, as our fundamental principle, that
liberty is the inalienable right of every man, we do not include
madmen or idiots; liberty in their hands would become a scourge. Till
the mind of the slave has been educated to perceive what are the
obligations of a state of freedom, and not confound a man's with a
brute's, the gift would insure its abuse. We might as well be asked
to pull down our old warehouses before trade has increased to demand
enlarged new ones. Both houses and slaves were bequeathed to us by
Europeans, and time alone can change them; an event, sir, which, you
may believe me, no man desires more heartily than I do. Not only do I
pray for it, on the score of human dignity, but I can already foresee
that nothing but the rooting out of slavery can perpetuate the
existence of our Union, by consolidating it in a common bond of

"I now referred to the pleasant hours I had passed in Philadelphia,
and my agreeable surprise at finding there so many men of talent, at
which his face lit up vividly. 'I am glad to hear you, sir, who are an
Englishman, say so, because you must now perceive how ungenerous are
the assertions people are always making on your side of the water.
One gentleman, of high literary standing,--I allude to the Abbé
Raynal,--has demanded whether America has yet produced one great
poet, statesman, or philosopher. The question shows anything but
observation, because it is easy to perceive the causes which have
combined to render the genius of this country scientific rather than
imaginative. And, in this respect, America has surely furnished her
quota. Franklin, Rittenhouse, and Rush are no mean names, to which,
without shame, I may append those of Jefferson and Adams, as
politicians; while I am told that the works of President Edwards of
Rhode Island are a text-book in polemics in many European colleges.'

"Of the replies which I made to his inquiries respecting England, he
listened to none with so much interest as to those which described the
character of my royal patron, the Prince of Wales. 'He holds out every
promise,' remarked the general, 'of a brilliant career. He has been
well educated by _events_, and I doubt not that, in his time, England
will receive the benefit of her child's emancipation. She is at
present bent double, and has to walk with crutches; but her offspring
may teach her the secret of regaining strength, erectness, and
independence.' In reference to my own pursuits he repeated the
sentiments of Franklin. He feared the country was too poor to be a
patron of the drama, and that only arts of a practical nature
would for some time be esteemed. The stage he considered to be an
indispensable resource for settled society, and a chief refiner; not
merely interesting as a comment on the history of social happiness
by its exhibition of manners, but an agent of good as a school for
poetry, in holding up to honor the noblest principles. 'I am too old
and too far removed,' he added, 'to seek for or require this pleasure
myself, but the cause is not to droop on my account. There's my friend
Mr. Jefferson has time and taste; he goes always to the play, and I'll
introduce you to him,' a promise which he kept, and which proved to me
the source of the greatest benefit and pleasure."

This is by far the best account of Washington in the ordinary converse
of daily life that has come down to us. The narrator belonged to the
race who live by amusing their fellow-beings, and are in consequence
quick to notice peculiarities and highly susceptible to being bored.
Bernard, after the first interest of seeing a very eminent man had
worn off, would never have lingered for an hour and a half of chat and
then gone away reluctantly if his host had been either dull of speech
or cold and forbidding of manner. It is evident that Washington talked
well, easily, and simply, ranging widely over varied topics with a
sure touch, and that he drew from the ample resources of a well-stored
and reflective mind. The scraps of conversation which Bernard
preserves are interesting and above the average of ordinary talk,
without manifesting any attempt to be either brilliant or striking,
and it is also apparent that Washington had the art of putting his
guest entirely at his ease by his own pleasant and friendly manner. He
had picked up the English actor on the road, liked his readiness to
be helpful (always an attraction to him in any one), found him
well-mannered and intelligent, and brought him home to rest and chat
in the pleasant summer afternoon. To Bernard he was simply the plain
Virginia gentleman, with a liberal and cultivated interest in men and
things, and not a trace of oppressive and conscious greatness about
him. It is to be suspected that he was by no means equally genial to
the herd of sight-seers who pursued him in his retirement, but in this
meeting he appeared as he must always have appeared to his family and

We get the same idea from the scattered allusions that we have to
Washington in private life. Although silent and reserved as to
himself, he was by no means averse to society, and in his own house
all his guests, both great and small, felt at their ease with him,
although with no temptation to be familiar. We know from more than
one account that the dinners at the presidential house, as well as at
Mount Vernon, were always agreeable. It was his wont to sit at table
after the cloth was removed sipping a glass of wine and eating nuts,
of which he was very fond, while he listened to the conversation and
caused it to flow easily, not so much by what he said as by the kindly
smile and ready sympathy which made all feel at home. We can gather
an idea also of the charm which he had in the informal intercourse of
daily life from some of his letters on trifling matters. Here is a
little note written to Mrs. Stockton in acknowledgment of a pastoral
poem which she had sent him:--

  "MOUNT VERNON, February 18, 1784.

  "Dear Madam: The intemperate weather and very great care which the
  post riders take of themselves prevented your letter of the 4th of
  last month from reaching my hands till the 10th of this. I was then in
  the very act of setting off on a visit to my aged mother, from whence
  I am just returned. These reasons I beg leave to offer as an apology
  for my silence until now.

  "It would be a pity indeed, my dear madam, if the muses should be
  restrained in you; it is only to be regretted that the hero of your
  poetical talents is not more deserving their lays. I cannot, however,
  from motives of pure delicacy (because I happen to be the principal
  character in your Pastoral) withhold my encomiums on the performance;
  for I think the easy, simple, and beautiful strain with which the
  dialogue is supported does great justice to your genius; and will not
  only secure Lucinda and Amista from wits and critics, but draw from
  them, however unwillingly, their highest plaudits; if they can
  relish the praises that are given, as they must admire the manner of
  bestowing them.

  "Mrs. Washington, equally sensible with myself of the honor you have
  done her, joins me in most affectionate compliments to yourself, and
  the young ladies and gentlemen of your family.

  "With sentiments of esteem, regard and respect,
  I have the honor to be
  ---- ----"

This is not a matter of "great pith or moment," but it shows how
pleasantly he could acknowledge a civility. The turn of the sentences
smacks of the formality of the time. They sound a little labored,
perhaps, to modern ears, but they were graceful according to the
standard of his day, and they have a gentle courtesy which can never
be out of fashion.

He had the power also of paying a compliment in an impressive and
really splendid manner whenever he felt it to be deserved. When
Charles Thomson, who for fifteen years had been the honored secretary
of the Continental Congress, wrote to announce his retirement,
Washington replied: "The present age does so much justice to the
unsullied reputation with which you have always conducted yourself in
the execution of the duties of your office, and posterity will find
your name so honorably connected with the verification of such a
multitude of astonishing facts, that my single suffrage would add
little to the illustration of your merits. Yet I cannot withhold any
just testimonial in favor of so old, so faithful, and so able a
public officer, which might tend to soothe his mind in the shades of
retirement. Accept, then, this serious declaration, that your services
have been important, as your patriotism was distinguished; and enjoy
that best of all rewards, the consciousness of having done your duty

Dull men do not write in this fashion. It is one thing to pay a
handsome compliment, although even that is not by itself easy, but to
give it in addition the note of sincerity which alone makes it of real
value demands both art and good feeling. Let us take one more example
of this sort before we drop the subject. When the French officers were
leaving America Washington wrote to De Chastellux to bid him farewell.
"Our good friend, the Marquis of Lafayette," he said, "prepared me,
long before I had the honor to see you, for those impressions of
esteem which opportunities and your own benevolent mind have since
improved into a deep and lasting friendship; a friendship which
neither time nor distance can eradicate. I can truly say that never in
my life have I parted with a man to whom my soul clave more sincerely
than it did to you. My warmest wishes will attend you in your voyage
across the Atlantic to the rewards of a generous prince, the arms of
affectionate friends; and be assured that it will be one of my highest
gratifications to keep up a regular intercourse with you by letter."

These letters exhibit not only the grace and point born of
intelligence, but also the best of manners; by which I mean private
manners, not those of the public man, of which there will be something
to say hereafter. The attraction of Washington's society as a private
gentleman lay in his good sense, breadth of knowledge, and good
manners. Now the essence of good manners of the highest and most
genuine kind is good feeling, which is thoughtful of others, and which
is impossible to a cold, hard, or insensible nature. Such manners as
we see in Washington's private letters and private life would have
been strange offspring from the cold heart attributed to him by Mr.
McMaster. In justice to Mr. McMaster, however, be it said, the charge
is not a new one. It has been hinted at and spoken of elsewhere, and
many persons have suspected that such was the case from the well-meant
efforts of what may be called the cherry-tree school to elevate
Washington's character by depicting him as a soulless, bloodless prig.
The blundering efforts of the latter need not be noticed, but the
reflections of serious critics cannot be passed by. The theory of the
cold heart and the unfeeling nature seems to proceed in this wise.
Washington was silent and reserved, he did not wear his heart upon his
sleeve for daws to peck at, therefore he was cold; just as if mere
noise and chatter had any relation to warm affections. He would take
no salary from Congress, says Mr. McMaster, in fine antithesis, but
he exacted his due from the family of the poor mason. This has an
unpleasant sound, and suggests the man who is generous in public, and
hard and grasping in private. Mr. McMaster in this sentence, however,
whether intentionally or not, is not quite accurate in his facts, and
conveys by his mode of statement an entirely false impression. The
story to which he refers is given by Parkinson, who wrote a book about
his experiences in America in 1798-1800. Parkinson had the story from
one General Stone, and it was to this effect:[1] A room was plastered
at Mount Vernon on one occasion, and was paid for during the owner's
absence. When Washington returned he examined the work and had it
measured, as was his habit. It then appeared that an error had been
made, and that fifteen shillings too much had been paid. Meantime the
plasterer had died. His widow married again, and her second husband
advertised in the newspapers that he was prepared to pay the debts of
his predecessor and collect all moneys due him. Thereupon Washington
put in his claim, which was paid as a matter of course. He did not
extort the debt from the family of the poor mason, but collected it
from the second husband of the widow, in response to a voluntary
advertisement. It was very careful and even close dealing, but it was
neither harsh nor unjust, and the writer who has preserved the story
would be not a little surprised at the interpretation that has
been put upon it, for he cited it, as he expressly says, merely
to illustrate the extraordinary regularity and method to which he
attributed much of Washington's success.

[Footnote 1: Parkinson's _Tour in America_, 1798-1800, 437 and ff.]

Parkinson, in this same connection, tells several other stories,
vague in origin, and sounding like mere gossip, but still worthy of
consideration. According to one of them, Washington maintained a
public ferry, which was customary among the planters, and the public
paid regular tolls for its use. On one occasion General Stone, the
authority for the previous anecdote, crossed the ferry and offered
a moidore in payment. The ferryman objected to receiving it, on the
ground that it was short weight, but Stone insisted, and it was
finally accepted. On being given to Washington it was weighed, and
being found three half-pence short, the ferryman was ordered to
collect the balance due. On another occasion a tenant could not make
the exact change in paying his rent, and Washington would not accept
the money until the tenant went to Alexandria and brought back
the precise sum. There is, however, still another anecdote, which
completes this series, and which shows a different application of the
same rule. Washington, in traveling, was in the habit of paying at
inns the same for his servants as for himself. An innkeeper once
charged him three shillings and ninepence for himself, and three
shillings for his servant. Thereupon Washington sent for his host,
said that his servant ate as much as he, and insisted on paying the
additional ninepence.

This extreme exactness in money matters, down even to the most
trifling sums, was no doubt a foible, but it is well to observe that
it was not a foible which sought only a selfish advantage, for the
rule which he applied to others he applied also to himself. He meant
to have his due, no matter how trivial, and he meant also that
others should have theirs. In trifles, as in greater things, he was
scrupulously just, and although he was always generous and ready to
give, he insisted rigidly on what was justly his. A gift was one
thing, a business transaction was another. The man himself who told
these very stories was a good example of the kindliness which went
hand in hand with this exactness in business affairs. Parkinson was
an Englishman, of great narrowness of mind, who came out here to be a
farmer, failed, and went home to write a book in denunciation of the
country. America never had a more hostile critic. According to
this profound observer, there was no good land in America, and no
possibility of successful agriculture. The horses were bad, the cattle
were bad, and sheep-raising was impossible. There was no game, the
fish and oysters were poor and watery, and no one could ever hope in
this wretchedly barren land for either wealth or comfort. It was a
country fit only for the reception of convicts, and the cast-off
mistress of an Englishman made a good wife for an American. A person
who held such views as these was not likely to be biased in favor of
anything American, and his evidence as to Washington may be safely
trusted as not likely to be unduly favorable. He tells us that on his
arrival at Mount Vernon, with letters of introduction, he was kindly
received; that this hospitality was never relaxed; and that the
general lent him money. He was at least grateful, and these are his
last words as to Washington:--

"To me he appeared a mild, friendly man, in company rather reserved,
in private speaking with candor. His behavior to me was such that I
shall ever revere his name.

"General Washington lived a great man, and died the same.

"I am of opinion that the general never knowingly did anything wrong,
but did to all men as he would they should do to him."

Evidently he appeared to Mr. Parkinson kindly and generous, as well
as exactly just. It is well to have the truth about Washington, and
nothing but the truth. Yet in escaping from the falsehoods of the
eulogist and the myth-maker, let us beware of those which spring from
the reaction against the current and accepted views. I have quoted
the Parkinson stories at length, because they enforce this point
admirably. No _a priori_ theory is safe, and to assume that Washington
must have committed grave errors and been guilty of mean actions
because they are common to humanity, and have not been admitted in his
case, is just as misleading as to assume, as is usually done, that he
was absolutely perfect and without fault.

Let it be admitted that Washington, ever ready to pay his own dues,
was strict, and sometimes severe, in demanding them of others; but
let it be also remembered, this is the worst that can be said. He was
always ready to overlook faults of omission or commission; he would
pardon easily mismanagement or extravagance on his estate or in
his household; but he had no mercy for anything that savored of
ingratitude, treachery, or dishonesty, and he carried this same
feeling into public as well as private affairs. No officer who had
bravely done his best had anything to fear in defeat from Washington's
anger. He was never unjust, and he was always kind to misfortune or
mistake, but to the coward or the traitor he was entirely unforgiving.
This it was which made Arnold's treason so bitter to him. Not only had
he been deceived, but the country as well as himself had been most
basely betrayed; and for this reason he was relentless to André, whom
it is said he never saw, living or dead. The young Englishman had
taken part in a wretched piece of treachery, and for the sake of the
country, and as a warning to traitors, Washington would not spare him.
He would never have ordered a political prisoner to be taken out and
shot in a ditch, after the fashion of Napoleon; nor would he have
dealt with any people as the Duke of Cumberland dealt with the
clansmen after Culloden. Such performances would have seemed to him
wanton as well as cruel, and he was too wise and too humane a man
to be either. Indian atrocities, for instance, with which he was
familiar, never led him to retaliate in kind. But he was perfectly
prepared to exact the extremest penalty by just and recognized
methods; and had it not been for the urgent entreaties of his friends,
he would have sent Asgill to the scaffold, repugnant as it was to his
feelings, because he felt that the murder of Huddy was a crime for
which the English army was responsible, and which demanded a just and
striking vengeance. He was, it may be freely confessed, of anything
but a tame nature. There was a good deal of Berserker in his make-up,
and he was fierce in his anger when he believed that a great wrong had
been done. But because he was stern and unrelenting when he felt that
justice and his duty required him to be so, no more proves that he had
a cold heart than does the fact that he was silent, dignified, and
reserved. Cold-blooded men are not fierce in seeking to redress the
wrongs of others, nor are the fluent of speech the only kind and
generous members of the human family.

Washington's whole life, indeed, contradicts the charge that he was
cold of heart and sluggish of feeling. The man who wrote as he did in
his extreme youth, when Indians were harrying the frontier where he
commanded, was not lacking in humanity or sympathy; and such as he
then was he remained to the end of his life. A soldier by instinct and
experience, he never grew indifferent to the miseries of war. Human
suffering always appealed to him and moved him deeply, and when it was
wantonly inflicted stirred him to anger and to the desire for the wild
justice of revenge.

The goodness and kindness of man's heart, however, are much more truly
shown in the little details of life than in the great matters which
affect classes or communities. Washington was considerate and helpful
to all men, and if he was ever cold and distant in his manner, it was
to the great, and not to the poor or humble. As has been indicated by
his recognition of the actor Bernard, he had in high degree the royal
gift of remembering names and faces. When he was at Senator Dalton's
house in Newburyport, on his New England tour of 1789, he met an
old servant whom he had not seen since the French war, thirty years
before. He knew the man at once, spoke to him, and welcomed him. So it
was with the old soldiers of the Revolution, who were always sure of a
welcome, and, if he had ever seen them, of a recognition. No man ever
turned from his presence wounded by a cold forgetfulness. When he was
at Ipswich, on this same journey, Mr. Cleaveland, the minister of the
town, was presented to him. As he approached, hat in hand, Washington
said, "Put on your hat, parson, and I will shake hands with you." "I
cannot wear my hat in your presence, general," was the reply, "when I
think of what you have done for this country." "You did as much as I."
"No, no," protested the parson. "Yes," said Washington, "you did what
you could, and I've done no more." What a gracious, kindly courtesy is
this, and not without the salt of wit! Does it not show the perfection
of good manners which deals with all men for what they are, and is
full of a warm sympathy born of a good heart? He was criticised
for coldness and accused of monarchical leanings, because, at Mrs.
Washington's receptions and his own public levees, he stood, dressed
in black velvet, with one hand on the hilt of his sword and the other
behind his back, and shook hands with no one, although he talked with
all. He did this because he thought it became the President of the
United States upon state occasions, and his sense of the dignity of
his office was always paramount. But away from forms and ceremonies,
with the old servant or the old soldier, or the country parson, his
hand was never behind his back, and his manners were those of a great
but simple gentleman, and came straight from a kind heart, full of
sympathy and good feeling.

He was, too, the most hospitable of men in the best sense, and his
house was always open to all who came. When he was away during the war
or the presidency, his instructions to his agents were to keep up the
hospitality of Mount Vernon, just as if he had been there himself; and
he was especially careful in directing that, if there were general
distress, poor persons of the neighborhood should have help from his
kitchen or his granaries.

His own more immediate hospitality was of the same kind. He always
entertained in the most liberal manner, both as general and President,
and in a style which he thought befitted the station he occupied. But
apart from all this, his table, whether at home or abroad, was never
without its guest. "Dine with us," he wrote to Lear on July 31, 1797,
"or we shall do what we have not done for twenty years, dine alone."
The real hospitality which opens the door and spreads the board for
the friend or stranger, admitting them to the family without form or
ceremony, was his also. "My manner of living is plain," he wrote to
a friend after the Revolution; "I do not mean to be put out of it. A
glass of wine and a bit of mutton are always ready; and such as will
be content to partake of them are always welcome. Those who expect
more will be disappointed, but no change will be effected by
it." Genuine hospitality as unstinted as it was sincere was not
characteristic of a cold man, or of one who sought to avoid his
fellows. It is one of the lighter graces of life, perhaps, but when it
comes freely and simply, and not as a vehicle for the display or the
aggrandizement of its dispenser, it is not without a meaning to the
student of character.

Washington was not much given to professions of friendship, nor was he
one of the great men who keep a circle of intimates and sometimes of
flatterers about them. He was extremely independent of the world and
perfectly self-sufficing, but it is a mistake to suppose that because
he unbosomed himself to scarcely any one, and had the loneliness of
greatness and of high responsibilities, he was therefore without
friends. He had as many friends as usually fall to the lot of any man;
and although he laid bare his inmost heart to none, some were very
close and all were very dear to him. In war and politics, as has
already been said, the two men who came nearest to him were Hamilton
and Knox, and his diary shows that when he was President he consulted
with them nearly every day wholly apart from the regular cabinet
meetings. They were the two advisers who were friends as well as
secretaries, and who followed and sustained him as a matter of
affection as much as politics. At home his neighbor, George Mason,
although they came to differ, was a strong friend whom he liked and
respected, and whose opinion, whether favorable or adverse, he always
sought. His feeling to Patrick Henry was much deeper than mere
political or official acquaintance, and the lovable qualities of the
brilliant orator, clear even now across the gulf of a century, were
evidently strongly felt by Washington. They differed about the
Constitution, but Washington was eager at a later day to have Henry by
his side in the cabinet, and in the last years they stood shoulder to
shoulder in defense of the Union with a personal sympathy deeper than
any born of a mere similarity of opinion. Henry Lee, the son of his
old sweetheart, he loved with a tender and peculiar affection. He
watched over him and helped him, rejoiced in the dashing gallantry
which made him famous as Light-horse Harry, and, when he had won civil
as well as military distinction, trusted him and counseled with him.
Dr. Craik, the companion of his youth and his life-long physician, was
always a dear and close friend, and the regard between the two is very
pleasant to look at, as we see it glancing out here and there in the
midst of state papers and official cases. For the officers of the army
he had a peculiarly warm feeling, and he had among them many close
friends, like Carrington of Virginia, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
of South Carolina. His immediate staff he regarded with especial
affection, and it is worthy of notice that they all not only admired
their great chief, but followed him with a personal devotion which is
not a little curious if Washington was cold of heart and distant of
manner in the intimate association of a military family.

This feeling for his soldiers and his officers extended also to those
civilians who had stood by him and the army, and who had labored
for victory in all those trying years. Such a one was old Governor
Trumbull, "Brother Jonathan," who never failed to respond when a call
was made for men and money, and upon whose friendship and advice
Washington always leaned. Such, too, were Robert and Gouverneur
Morris. The sacrifices and energy of the one and the zeal and
brilliant abilities of the other endeared both to him, and his
friendship for them never wavered when misfortune overtook the elder,
and when the younger was driven by malice, both foreign and domestic,
from the place he had filled so well. Another, again, of this kind was
Franklin. In the dark days of the old French war, Washington had seen
displayed for the first time the force and tact of Franklin, which
alone obtained the necessary wagons and enabled Braddock's army
to move. The early impression thus obtained was never lost, and
Franklin's patriotism, his sympathy for the general and the army in
the Revolution, as well as the stanch support he gave them, aroused in
Washington a sense of obligation and friendship of the sincerest kind.
In proportion as he loathed ingratitude was he grateful himself. He
loved Franklin for his friendship and support, he admired him for
his successful diplomacy, and he reverenced him for his scientific
attainments. The only American whose fame could for a moment come
in competition with his own, he regarded the old philosopher with
affectionate veneration, and when, after his own fashion, and not at
all after the fashion of the time, he arrived in Philadelphia on the
exact day set for the Constitutional Convention, his first act was to
call upon Dr. Franklin and pay his respects to him. The courtesy and
kindliness of this little act on the part of a man who had come to the
town in the midst of shouting crowds, with joy bells ringing above his
head, speak well for the simple, honest heart that dictated it.

After all, it may be said that a passing civility of this sort
involved but little trouble, and was more a matter of good-breeding
than anything else. Let us look, then, at another and widely different
case. Of all the men whom the fortunes of war brought across
Washington's path there was none who became dearer to him than
Lafayette, for the generous, high-spirited young Frenchman, full of
fresh enthusiasm and brave as a lion, appealed at once to Washington's
heart. He quickly admitted him to his confidence, and the excellent
service of Lafayette in the field, together with his invaluable
help in securing the French alliance, deepened and strengthened the
sympathy and affection which were entirely reciprocal. After Lafayette
departed, a constant correspondence was maintained; and when the
Bastille fell, it was to Washington that Lafayette sent its key, which
still hangs on the wall of Mt. Vernon. As Lafayette rose rapidly to
the dangerous heights of revolutionary leadership, he had at every
step Washington's advice and sympathy. Then the tide turned; he fell
headlong from power, and brought up in an Austrian prison. From that
moment Washington spared no pains to help his unhappy friend, although
his own position was one of extreme difficulty. Lafayette was not only
the proscribed exile of one country, but also the political prisoner
of another, and the President could not compromise the United States
at that critical moment by showing too much interest in the fate of
his unhappy friend. He nevertheless went to the very edge of prudence
in trying to save him, and the ministers of the United States were
instructed to use every private effort to secure Lafayette's release,
or at least the mitigation of his confinement. All these attempts
failed, but Washington was more successful in other directions. He
sent money to Madame de Lafayette, who was absolutely beggared at the
moment, and represented to her that it was in settlement of an account
which he owed the marquis. When Lafayette's son and his own namesake
came to this country for an asylum, he had him cared for in Boston and
New York by his personal friends; George Cabot in the one case, and
Hamilton in the other. As soon as public affairs made it proper for
him to do it, he took the lad into his own household, treated him like
a son, and kept him near him until events permitted the boy to return
to Europe and rejoin his father. The sufferings and dangers of
Lafayette and his family were indeed a source of great unhappiness
to Washington, and we have the authority of Bradford, his
attorney-general, that when the President attempted to talk about
Lafayette he was so much affected that he shed tears,--a very rare
exhibition of emotion in a man so intensely reserved.

Absence had as little effect upon his memory of old friends as
misfortune. The latter stimulated recollection, and the former could
not dim it. He found time, in the very heat and fire of war and
revolution, to write to Bryan Fairfax lamenting the death of "the good
old lord" whose house had been open to him, and whose hand had ever
helped him when he was a young and unknown man just beginning his
career. When he returned to Mount Vernon after the presidency, full of
years and honors, one of his first acts was to write to Mrs. Fairfax
in England to assure her of his lasting remembrance, and to breathe
a sigh over the changes time had brought, and over the by-gone years
when they had been young together.

The loyalty of nature which made his remembrance of old friends so
real and lasting found expression also in the thoughtfulness which he
showed toward casual acquaintances, and this was especially the case
when he had received attention or service at any one's hands, or when
he felt that he was able to give pleasure by a slight effort on his
own part. A little incident which occurred during the first year of
his presidency illustrates this trait in his character very well.
Uxbridge was one among the many places where he stopped on his New
England tour, and when he got to Hartford he wrote to Mr. Taft, who
had been his host in the former town, and who evidently cherished for
him a very keen admiration, the following note:--

    "November 8, 1789.

    "Sir: Being informed that you have given my name to one of your
    sons, and called another after Mrs. Washington's family, and being
    moreover very much pleased with the modest and innocent looks of
    your two daughters, Patty and Polly, I do for these reasons send
    each of these girls a piece of chintz; and to Patty, who bears the
    name of Mrs. Washington, and who waited more upon us than Polly
    did, I send five guineas, with which she may buy herself any
    little ornament she may want, or she may dispose of them in any
    other manner more agreeable to herself. As I do not give these
    things with a view to having it talked of, or even to its being
    known, the less there is said about the matter the better you will
    please me; but, that I may be sure the chintz and money have got
    safe to hand, let Patty, who I dare say is equal to it, write me
    a line informing me thereof, directed to 'The President of the
    United States at New York.' I wish you and your family well, and
    am," etc.

Let us turn now from friendship to nearer and closer relations.
Washington was not only too reserved, but he had too much true
sentiment, to leave his correspondence with Mrs. Washington behind
him; for he knew that his vast collection of papers would become the
material of history, and he had no mind that strangers should look
into the sacred recesses of his private life. Only one letter to
Mrs. Washington apparently has survived. It is simple and full of
affection, as one would expect, and tells, as well as many volumes
could, of the happy relations between husband and wife. Washington had
many love affairs in his youth, but he proved in the end a constant
lover. His wife was a high-bred, intelligent woman, simple and
dignified in her manners, efficient in all ways to be the helpmate of
her husband in the high places to which he was called. No shadow ever
rested on their married life, and when the end came Mrs. Washington
only said, "All is over now. I shall soon follow him." She could not
conceive of life without the presence of the unchanging love and noble
character which had been by her side so long.

Children were denied to Washington, but although this was a
disappointment it did not chill him nor narrow his sympathies, as is
so often the case. He took to his heart his wife's children as if
they were his own. He watched over them and cared for them, and their
deaths caused him the deepest sorrow. He afterwards adopted his wife's
two grandchildren, and watched over them, too, in the same way. In the
midst of all the cares of the presidency, Washington found time always
to write to George Custis, a boy at school or at college; while Nellie
Custis was as dear to him as his own daughter, and her marriage a
source of the most affectionate interest. Indeed, it is evident from
various little anecdotes that he was much less strict with these
children than was Mrs. Washington, and much more disposed to condone
faults. Certain it is that they loved him tenderly, and in a way that
only long years of loving-kindness could have made possible.

He showed the same feeling to all his own kindred. His mother was ever
the object of the most loyal affection, and even at the head of the
armies he would turn aside to visit her with the same respect and
devotion as when he was a mere boy. He was ever mindful of his
brothers and sisters, and their fortunes. None of them were ever
forgotten, and he was especially kind to the children of those who
had been least fortunate and most needed his help. He educated and
counseled his favorite nephew Bushrod, and did the same for the sons
of George Steptoe Washington. Nothing is pleasanter than to read in
the midst of official papers the long letters in which he gave these
boys great store of wise and kindly advice, guided their education,
strove to form their characters, and traced for them the honorable
careers which he wished them to pursue. Very few men who had risen to
the heights reached by Washington would have found time, in the midst
of engrossing cares, to write such letters as he wrote to friends and
kinsmen. A kind heart prompted them, but they were much more than
merely kind, for when Washington undertook to do anything he did it
thoroughly. Whether it was a treaty with England, the education of a
boy, or the service of a friend, he gave it his best thought and his
utmost care. Where those he loved were concerned, he was never too
busy to think of them, and he spared no pains to help them; censuring
faults where they existed, and giving praise in generous manner where
praise was due.

To any one who carefully studies his life, it is evident that
Washington was as warm-hearted and affectionate as he was great in
character and ability, and that he was so without noise or pretense.
This really only amounts to saying that he was a well-balanced man,
and yet even this cannot be said without admitting still another
quality. The sanest of all senses is the sense of humor, and the
nature in which it is wholly lacking cannot be thoroughly rounded and
complete. Humor is not the most lofty of qualities, but it is one of
the most essential, and it is generally assumed that Washington
was very deficient in humor. This idea has arisen from a hasty
consideration of the subject, and from a superficial conception of
humor itself. To utter jests, or to say or write witty, brilliant, or
amusing things, no doubt implies the possession of humor, but they are
not the whole of it, for a man may have a fine sense of humor, and yet
never make a joke nor utter a sarcasm. The distinction between humor
and the want of it lies much deeper than word of mouth. The man
without a sense of humor is sure to make a certain number of solemn
blunders. They may be in matters of importance or in the merest
trifles, but they are blunders none the less, and come from
insensibility to the incongruous, the ludicrous, or the impossible. It
may be said that common sense suffices to avoid these pitfalls, but
this is really begging the question, inasmuch as common sense of a
high order amounting almost to genius cannot exist without humor, for
humor is the root and foundation of common sense. Let us apply this
test to Washington and we shall find that there never was a man who
made fewer mistakes than he, down even to matters of the smallest
detail. Search his career from beginning to end, and there is not a
solemn blunder to be found in it. He was attacked and assailed both as
general and President, but he was never laughed at. In other words,
he had a sense of humor which made it impossible for him to blunder
solemnly, or to do or say anything which ridicule could touch.

It is not, however, necessary to leave his possession of a sense of
humor to inference from his career and his freedom from blunders. That
he had humor strong, sane, and abundant is susceptible of much more
direct proof; and the idea that he was lacking in this respect arose
undoubtedly from the gravity of demeanor which was characteristic of
the man. He had assumed the heavy responsibilities of an important
military command in the French war at an age when most men are just
leaving college and beginning to study a profession. This of itself
sobered him, and added to his natural quiet and reserve, so that in
estimating him in after-life this early and severe discipline at a
most impressionable age ought never to be overlooked, for it had a
very marked effect upon his character.

He was not perhaps exactly joyous or gay of nature, but he had a
contented and happy disposition, and, like all robust, well-balanced
men, he possessed strong animal spirits and a keen sense of enjoyment.
He loved a wild, open-air life, and was devoted to rough out-door
sports. He liked to wrestle and run, to shoot, ride or dance, and
to engage in all trials of skill and strength, for which his great
muscular development suited him admirably. With such tastes, it
followed almost as a matter of course that he loved laughter and fun.
Good, hearty, country fun, a ludicrous mishap, a practical joke, all
merriment of a simple, honest kind, were highly congenial to him,
especially in his youth and early manhood. Here is the way, for
example, in which he described in his diary a ball he attended in
1760: "In a convenient room, detached for the purpose, abounded great
plenty of bread and butter, some biscuits, with tea and coffee which
the drinkers of could not distinguish from hot water sweetened. Be
it remembered that pocket handkerchiefs served the purposes of
tablecloths, and that no apologies were made for them. I shall
therefore distinguish this ball by the style and title of the
bread-and-butter ball." The wit is not brilliant, but there was a good
hearty laugh in the young man who jots down this little memorandum in
his diary.

The years after the French war were happy years, free from care and
full of simple pleasures. Then came the Revolution, bringing with it a
burden such as has seldom been laid upon any man, and the seriousness
bred by earlier experiences, came back with tenfold force. The popular
saying was that Washington never smiled during the war, and, roughly
speaking, this was quite true. In all those years of danger and trial,
inasmuch as he was a man big of heart and brain, he had the gravity
and the sadness born of responsibility, and the suffering sure to come
to an unselfish mind. It was at this time that he began to be most
closely observed of men, and hence came the idea that he never
laughed, and therefore was a being devoid of humor, the most
sympathetic of gifts. But as a matter of fact, the old sense of fun
never left him. It would come to his aid at the most serious moments,
just as an endless flow of stories brought relief to Lincoln and
carried him round many jagged corners. With Washington it was hearty,
laughing mirth at some ludicrous incident. Putnam riding into
Cambridge with an old woman clinging behind him; Greene searching for
his wig while it was on his head; a young braggart flung over the head
of an unbroken colt; or a good, rollicking story from Colonel Seammel
or Major Fairlie,--all these would delight Washington, and send him
off into peals of inextinguishable laughter. It was ever the old,
hearty love of fun born of animal spirits, which never left him, and
which would always break out on sufficient provocation. Mr. Parton
would have us believe that this was all, and that the common-place
hero whom he describes never rose above the level of the humor
conveyed by grinning through a horse-collar. Even admitting the truth
of this, a real love of honest fun and of a hearty laugh is a kindly
quality that all men like.

But was this all? Is it quite true that Washington had only a love of
boisterous fun, and nothing else? It is worth looking a little deeper
than the current stories of the camp to find out, and yet one of these
very camp-stories raises at once a strong suspicion that Mr. Parton's
conclusion in this regard, like so many conclusions about Washington,
is unfounded. When General Lee took the oath of allegiance to the
United States, he remarked, in making abjuration of his former
allegiance, that he was perfectly ready to abjure the king, but could
not bring himself to abjure the Prince of Wales, at which bit of irony
Washington was greatly amused. The wit of the remark is a little cold
to-day, but at the moment, accompanying as it did a solemn act of
abjuration, it was keen enough. Washington himself, moreover, was
perfectly capable of good-natured banter. Colonel Humphreys challenged
him one day to jump over a hedge. Washington, always ready to accept
a challenge where riding was concerned, told the colonel to go on.
Humphreys put his horse at the hedge, cleared it, and landed in
a quagmire on the other side up to his horse's girths; whereupon
Washington rode up, stopped, and looking blandly at his struggling
friend, remarked, "Ah, colonel, you are too deep for me." "Take care,"
he wrote to young Custis, when he sent him money for his college gown,
"not to buy without advice; otherwise you may be more distinguished by
your folly than your dress."

We find in his letters here and there a good-natured raillery, and
jesting, which show a sense of humor that goes beyond the limits of
mere fun and horse-play. Here is a letter he wrote toward the close of
the war, asking some ladies to dine with him in his quarters at West

    "WEST POINT, August 16, 1779.

    "Dear Doctor: I have asked Mrs. Cochran and Mrs. Livingston to
    dine with me to-morrow; but ought I not to apprise you of their
    fare? As I hate deception, even where imagination is concerned, I

    "It is needless to premise that my table is large enough to hold
    the ladies: of this they had ocular demonstration yesterday. To
    say how it is usually covered is rather more essential, and this
    shall be the purport of my letter.

    "Since my arrival at this happy spot, we have had a ham, sometimes
    a shoulder of bacon, to grace the head of the table. A piece
    of roast beef adorns the foot, and a small dish of green
    beans--almost imperceptible--decorates the centre. When the cook
    has a mind to cut a figure,--and this I presume he will attempt
    to-morrow,--we have two beefsteak pies, or dishes of crabs, in
    addition, one on each side of the centre dish, dividing the space,
    and reducing the distance between dish and dish to about six feet,
    which without them would be nearly twelve feet apart. Of late he
    has had the surprising luck to discover that apples will make
    pies; and it is a question if, amidst the violence of his efforts,
    we do not get one of apples instead of having both of beef.

    "If the ladies can put up with such entertainment, and submit to
    partake of it on plates once tin, but now iron, not become so by
    the labor of hard scouring, I shall be happy to see them."

We may be sure that the ladies found their dinner a pleasant one, and
that the writer of the note was neither a stiff nor unsocial host. A
much more charming letter is one to Nellie Custis, on the occasion of
her first ball. It is too long for quotation, but it is a model of
affectionate wisdom tinged with a gentle humor, and designed to guide
a young girl just beginning the world of society.

Here, however, is another extract from a letter to Madame de
Lafayette, of rather more serious purport, but in the same strain, and
full of a simple and, as we should call it, an old-fashioned grace. He
was replying to an invitation to visit France, which he felt obliged
to decline. After giving his reasons, he said: "This, my dear
Marchioness (indulge the freedom), is not the case with you. You have
youth (and, if you should incline to leave your children, you can
leave them with all the advantages of education), and must have a
curiosity to see the country, young, rude, and uncultivated as it is,
for the liberties of which your husband has fought, bled, and acquired
much glory, where everybody admires, everybody loves him. Come, then,
let me entreat you, and call my cottage your home; for your own doors
do not open to you with more readiness than mine would. You will see
the plain manner in which we live, and meet with rustic civility; and
you shall taste the simplicity of rural life. It will diversify the
scene, and may give you a higher relish for the gayeties of the court
when you return to Versailles."

There is also apparent in many of his letters a vein of worldly
wisdom, shrewd but kindly, too gentle to be called cynical, and yet
touched with the humor which reads and appreciates the foibles of
humanity. Of an officer who grumbled at disappointments during the war
he wrote: "General McIntosh is only experiencing upon a small scale
what I have had an ample share of upon a large one; and must, as I
have been obliged to do in a variety of instances, yield to necessity;
that is, to use a vulgar phrase, 'shape his coat according to his
cloth,' or in other words, if he cannot do as he wishes, he must do
what he can." The philosophy is homely and common enough, but the
manner in which the reproof was administered shows kindly tact, one
of the most difficult of arts. Here is another passage, touching on
something outside the range of war and politics. He was writing to
Lund Washington in regard to Mrs. Washington's daughter-in-law, Mrs.
Custis, who was contemplating a second marriage. "For my own part," he
said, "I never did, nor do I believe I ever shall, give advice to a
woman who is setting out on a matrimonial voyage: first, because I
never could advise one to marry without her own consent; and secondly,
because I know it is to no purpose to advise her to refrain when she
has obtained it. A woman very rarely asks an opinion or requires
advice on such an occasion till her resolution is formed; and then it
is with the hope and expectation of obtaining a sanction, not that she
means to be governed by your disapprobation, that she applies. In a
word, the plain English of the application may be summed up in these
words: 'I wish you to think as I do; but if unhappily you differ from
me in opinion, my heart, I must confess, is fixed, and I have gone too
far _now_ to retract.'"

In the same spirit, but this time with a lurking smile at himself,
did he write to the secretary of Congress for his commission: "If my
commission is not necessary for the files of Congress, I should be
glad to have it deposited among my own papers. It may serve _my
grandchildren_, some fifty or a hundred years hence, for a theme to
ruminate upon, if _they_ should be contemplatively disposed."

He knew human nature well, and had a smile for its little weaknesses
when they came to his mind. It was this same human sympathy which made
him also love amusements of all sorts; but he was as little their
slave as their enemy. No man ever carried great burdens with a higher
or more serious spirit, but his cares never made him forbidding, nor
rendered him impatient of the pleasure of others. He liked to amuse
himself, and knew the value of a change of thought and scene, and he
was always ready, when duty permitted, for a chat. He liked to take a
comfortable seat and have his talk out, and he had the talent so rare
in great men of being a good and appreciative listener. We hear of him
playing cards at Tappan during the war, and he was always fond of a
game in the evening, realizing the force of Talleyrand's remark to the
despiser of cards: "Quelle triste vieillesse vous vous préparez." In
1779 it is recorded that at a party he danced for three hours with
Mrs. Greene without sitting down or resting, which speaks well for
the health and spirits both of the lady and the gentleman. Even after
Yorktown, he was ready to walk a minuet at a ball, and to the end
he liked to see young people dance, as he had danced himself in his
youth. As has been seen from his treatment of Bernard, he liked the
theatre and the actors, and when he was in Philadelphia he was a
constant attendant at the play, as he had been ever since he went to
see "George Barnwell" in the Barbadoes. His love of horses stayed with
him to the last. He not only rode and drove and trained horses,[1] but
he enjoyed the sport of the race-course. He was probably aware, like
the Shah of Persia who declined to go to the Derby, that one horse
could run faster than another, but nevertheless he liked to see them
run, and we hear of him, after he had reached the presidency, acting
as judge at a race, and seeing his own colt Magnolia beaten, which he
no doubt considered the next best thing to winning.

[Footnote 1: The Marquis de Chastelleux speaks of the perfect training
of Washington's saddle horses, and says the general broke them
himself. He adds "He (the general) is an excellent and bold horseman,
leaping the highest fences and going extremely quick, without standing
upon his stirrups, bearing on the bridle or letting his horse run
wild; circumstances which our young men look upon as so essential a part
of English horsemanship, that they would rather break a leg or an arm
than renounce them."]

He had, indeed, in all ways a thoroughly well-balanced mind and
temper. In great affairs he knew how to spare himself the details to
which others could attend as well as he, and yet he was in no wise
a despiser of small things. Before the Revolution, there was a warm
discussion in the Truro parish as to the proper site for the Pohick
Church. Washington and George Mason led respectively the opposing
forces, and each confidently asserted that the site he preferred was
the most convenient for the largest number of parishioners. Finally,
after much debate and no conclusion, Washington appeared at a vestry
meeting with a collection of statistics. He had measured the distance
from each proposed site to the house of each parishioner, and found,
as he declared, that his site was nearer to more people than the
other. It is needless to add that he carried his point, and that the
spot he desired for the church was the one chosen.

The fact was that, if he confided a task of any sort to another, he
let it go on without meddling; but if he undertook anything himself,
he did it with the utmost thoroughness, and there is much success
in this capacity to take pains even in small things. He managed his
plantations entirely himself when he was at home, and did it well. He
knew the qualities of each field, and the rotation of its crops. No
improvement in agriculture and no ingenious invention escaped his
attention, although he was not to be carried away by mere novelty,
which had such a fascination for his ex-secretary at Monticello. Every
resource of his estate was turned to good use, and his flour and
tobacco commanded absolute confidence with his brand upon them. He
followed in the same painstaking way all his business affairs, and his
accounts, all in his own hand, are wonderfully minute and accurate. He
was very exact in all business as well as very shrewd at a bargain,
and the tradition is that his neighbors considered the general a
formidable man in a horse-trade, that most difficult of transactions.
Parkinson mentions that everything purchased or brought to the house
was weighed, measured, or counted, generally in the presence of the
master himself. Some of his letters to Lear, his private secretary,
show that he looked after his china and servants, the packing and
removal of his furniture with great minuteness. To some persons this
appears evidence of a petty mind in a great man, but to those who
reflect a little more deeply it will occur that this accuracy and
care in trifles were the same qualities which kept the American army
together, and enabled their owner to arrive on time and in full
preparation at Yorktown and Trenton. The worst that can be said is
that from his love of perfection and completeness he may in this
respect have wasted time and strength, but his untiring industry and
his capacity for work were so great that he accomplished so far as we
can see all this drudgery without ever neglecting in the least more
important duties. It was a satisfaction to him to do it; for he was
methodical and exact to the last degree, and he was never happy unless
he held everything in which he was concerned easily within his grasp.

He had the same attention to details in external things, and he wished
everything about him to be of the best, if not "express'd in fancy."
He had the handsomest carriages and the finest horses always in his
stables. It was necessary that the furniture of his house should be as
good as could be procured, and he was most particular in regard to it.
When he was preparing as President to move to Philadelphia, he made
the most searching inquiries as to horses, stables, servants, schools
for young Custis, and everything affecting the household. He sent at
the same time most minute directions to his agents as to the furniture
of his house, touching upon everything, down to the color of the
curtains and the form of his wine-coolers. He had a like feeling in
regard to dress. His fancy for handsome and appropriate dress in his
youth has already been alluded to, but he never ceased to take an
interest in it; and in a letter to McHenry, written in the last year
of his life, he discusses with great care the details of the uniform
to be prescribed for himself as commander-in-chief of the new army. It
would be a mistake, of course, to infer that he was a dandy, or that
he gave to dress and furniture the importance set upon them by shallow
minds. He simply valued them rightly, and enjoyed the good things of
this world. He had the best possible taste and the keenest sense of
what was appropriate, and it was this good taste and sense of fitness
which saved him from blundering in trifles, as much as his ability and
his sense of humor preserved him from error in the conduct of great

The value of all this to the country he served cannot be too often
reiterated, for ridicule was a real danger to the Revolutionary cause
when it started. The raw levies, headed by volunteer officers from the
shop, the plough, the work-bench, or the trading vessel, despite their
patriotism and the nobility of their cause, could easily have been
made subjects of derision, a perilous enemy to all new undertakings.
Men prefer to be shot at, if they are taken seriously, rather than to
be laughed at and made objects of contempt. The same principle holds
true of a revolution seeking the sympathy of a hostile world. When
Washington drew his sword beneath the Cambridge elm and put himself at
the head of the American army, effective ridicule became impossible,
for the dignity of the cause was seen in that of its leader. The
British generals soon found that they not only had a dangerous enemy
to encounter, but that they were dealing with a man whose pride in his
country and whose own sense of self-respect reduced any assumption of
personal superiority on their part to speedy contempt. In the same way
he brought dignity to the new government of the Constitution when
he was placed at its head. The confederation had excited the just
contempt of the world, and Washington as President, by the force of
his own character and reputation, gave the United States at once the
respect not only of the American people, but of those of Europe as
well. Men felt instinctively that no government over which he presided
could ever fall into feebleness or disrepute.

In addition to the effect on the popular mind of his character and
services was that of his personal presence. If contemporary testimony
can be believed, few men have ever lived who had the power to impress
those who looked upon them so profoundly as Washington. He was richly
endowed by nature in all physical attributes. Well over six feet
high,[1] large, powerfully built, and of uncommon muscular strength,
he had the force that always comes from great physical power. He had
a fine head, a strong face, with blue eyes set wide apart in deep
orbits, and beneath, a square jaw and firm-set mouth which told of a
relentless will. Houdon the sculptor, no bad judge, said he had no
conception of the majesty and grandeur of Washington's form and
features until he studied him as a subject for a statue. Pages might
be filled with extracts from the descriptions of Washington given by
French officers, by all sorts of strangers, and by his own countrymen,
but they all repeat the same story. Every one who met him told of the
commanding presence, and noble person, the ineffable dignity, and
the calm, simple, and stately manners. No man ever left Washington's
presence without a feeling of reverence and respect amounting almost
to awe.

[Footnote 1: Lear in his memoranda published recently in full in
McClure's Magazine for February, 1898, states that Washington measured
after death six feet three and one half inches in height, a foot
and nine inches across the shoulders, two feet across the elbows;
evidently a spare man with muscular arms, which we know to have been
also of unusual length.]

I will quote only a single one of the numerous descriptions of
Washington, and I select it because, although it is the least
favorable of the many I have seen, and is written in homely phrase, it
displays the most evident and entire sincerity. The extract is from
a letter written by David Ackerson of Alexandria, Va., in 1811, in
answer to an inquiry by his son. Mr. Ackerson commanded a company in
the Revolutionary war.

"Washington was not," he wrote, "what ladies would call a pretty man,
but in military costume a heroic figure, such as would impress the
memory ever afterward."

The writer had a good view of Washington three days before the
crossing of the Delaware.

"Washington," he says, "had a large thick nose, and it was very red
that day, giving me the impression that he was not so moderate in the
use of liquors as he was supposed to be. I found afterward that this
was a peculiarity. His nose was apt to turn scarlet in a cold wind.
He was standing near a small camp-fire, evidently lost in thought
and making no effort to keep warm. He seemed six feet and a half in
height, was as erect as an Indian, and did not for a moment relax from
a military attitude. Washington's exact height was six feet two inches
in his boots. He was then a little lame from striking his knee against
a tree. His eye was so gray that it looked almost white, and he had
a troubled look on his colorless face. He had a piece of woolen tied
around his throat and was quite hoarse. Perhaps the throat trouble
from which he finally died had its origin about then. Washington's
boots were enormous. They were number 13. His ordinary walking-shoes
were number 11. His hands were large in proportion, and he could not
buy a glove to fit him and had to have his gloves made to order.
His mouth was his strong feature, the lips being always tightly
compressed. That day they were compressed so tightly as to be painful
to look at. At that time he weighed two hundred pounds, and there was
no surplus flesh about him. He was tremendously muscled, and the fame
of his great strength was everywhere. His large tent when wrapped up
with the poles was so heavy that it required two men to place it in
the camp-wagon. Washington would lift it with one hand and throw it in
the wagon as easily as if it were a pair of saddle-bags. He could hold
a musket with one hand and shoot with precision as easily as other men
did with a horse-pistol. His lungs were his weak point, and his voice
was never strong. He was at that time in the prime of life. His hair
was a chestnut brown, his cheeks were prominent, and his head was not
large in contrast to every other part of his body, which seemed large
and bony at all points. His finger-joints and wrists were so large as
to be genuine curiosities. As to his habits at that period I found
out much that might be interesting. He was an enormous eater, but was
content with bread and meat, if he had plenty of it. But hunger seemed
to put him in a rage. It was his custom to take a drink of rum or
whiskey on awakening in the morning. Of course all this was changed
when he grew old. I saw him at Alexandria a year before he died. His
hair was very gray, and his form was slightly bent. His chest was very
thin. He had false teeth, which did not fit and pushed his under lip

[Footnote 1: This letter, recently printed, is in the collection of
Dr. Toner, at Washington. It contains some obvious errors, as
in regard to the color of the eyes, but it is nevertheless very
interesting and valuable.]

This description is certainly not a flattering one, and all other
accounts as well as the best portraits prove that Washington was a
much handsomer man than this letter would indicate. Yet the writer,
despite his freedom from all illusions and his readiness to state
frankly all defects, was profoundly impressed by Washington's
appearance as he watched him meditating by the camp-fire at the crisis
of the country's fate, and herein lies the principal interest of his

This personal impressiveness, however, affected every one upon all

Mr. Rush, for instance, saw Washington go on one occasion to open
Congress. He drove to the hall in a handsome carriage of his own,
with his servants dressed in white liveries. When he had alighted
he stopped on the step, and pausing faced round to wait for his
secretary. The vast crowd looked at him in dead silence, and then,
when he turned away, broke into wild cheering. At his second
inauguration he was dressed in deep mourning for the death of his
nephew. He took the oath of office in the Senate Chamber, and Major
Forman, who was present, wrote in his diary: "Every eye was on him.
When he said, 'I, George Washington,' my blood seemed to run cold and
every one seemed to start." At the inauguration of Adams, another
eye-witness wrote that Washington, dressed in black velvet, with a
military hat and black cockade, was the central figure in the scene,
and when he left the chamber the crowds followed him, cheering and
shouting to the door of his own house.

There must have been something very impressive about a man who, with
no pretensions to the art of the orator and with no touch of the
charlatan, could so move and affect vast bodies of men by his presence
alone. But the people, with the keen eye of affection, looked beyond
the mere outward nobility of form. They saw the soldier who had given
them victory, the great statesman who had led them out of confusion
and faction to order and good government. Party newspapers might rave,
but the instinct of the people was never at fault. They loved, trusted
and well-nigh worshiped Washington living, and they have honored and
reverenced him with an unchanging fidelity since his death, nearly a
century ago.

But little more remains to be said. Washington had his faults, for
he was human; but they are not easy to point out, so perfect was his
mastery of himself. He was intensely reserved and very silent, and
these are the qualities which gave him the reputation in history
of being distant and unsympathetic. In truth, he had not only warm
affections and a generous heart, but there was a strong vein of
sentiment in his composition. At the same time he was in no wise
romantic, and the ruling element in his make-up was prose, good solid
prose, and not poetry. He did not have the poetical and imaginative
quality so strongly developed in Lincoln. Yet he was not devoid of
imagination, although it was here that he was lacking, if anywhere. He
saw facts, knew them, mastered and used them, and never gave much play
to fancy; but as his business in life was with men and facts, this
deficiency, if it was one, was of little moment. He was also a man of
the strongest passions in every way, but he dominated them; they never
ruled him. Vigorous animal passions were inevitable, of course, in a
man of such a physical make-up as his. How far he gave way to them in
his youth no one knows, but the scandals which many persons now desire
to have printed, ostensibly for the sake of truth, are, so far as
I have been able to learn, with one or two dubious exceptions, of
entirely modern parentage. I have run many of them to earth; nearly
all are destitute of contemporary authority, and they may be relegated
to the dust-heaps.[1] If he gave way to these propensities in his
youth, the only conclusion that I have been able to come to is that he
mastered them when he reached man's estate.

[Footnote 1: The charge in the pamphlet purporting to give an account
of the trial of the New York conspirators in 1776 is of such doubtful
origin and character that it hardly merits consideration, and the only
other allusion is in the well-known intercepted letter of Harrison,
which is of doubtful authenticity in certain passages, open to
suspicion from having been intercepted and published by the enemy and
quite likely to have been at best merely a coarse jest of a character
very common at that period and entirely in keeping with the notorious
habits of life and speech peculiar to the writer. (See Life of John
Adams, iii. 35.)]

He had, too, a fierce temper, and although he gradually subdued it, he
would sometimes lose control of himself and burst out into a tempest
of rage. When he did so he would use strong and even violent language,
as he did at Kip's Landing and at Monmouth. Well-intentioned persons
in their desire to make him a faultless being have argued at great
length that Washington never swore, and but for their argument the
matter would never have attracted much attention. He was anything but
a profane man, but the evidence is beyond question that if deeply
angered he would use a hearty English oath; and not seldom the action
accompanied the word, as when he rode among the fleeing soldiers at
Kip's Landing, striking them with his sword, and almost beside himself
at their cowardice. Judge Marshall used to tell also of an occasion
when Washington sent out an officer to cross a river and bring back
some information about the enemy, on which the action of the morrow
would depend. The officer was gone some time, came back, and found
the general impatiently pacing his tent. On being asked what he had
learned, he replied that the night was dark and stormy, the river full
of ice, and that he had not been able to cross. Washington glared at
him a moment, seized a large leaden inkstand from the table, hurled it
at the offender's head, and said with a fierce oath, "Be off, and send
me a _man_!" The officer went, crossed the river, and brought back the

But although he would now and then give way to these tremendous bursts
of anger, Washington was never unjust. As he said to one officer, "I
never judge the propriety of actions by after events;" and in that
sound philosophy is found the secret not only of much of his own
success, but of the devotion of his officers and men. He might be
angry with them, but he was never unfair. In truth, he was too
generous to be unjust or even over-severe to any one, and there is not
a line in all his writings which even suggests that he ever envied any
man. So long as the work in hand was done, he cared not who had the
glory, and he was perfectly magnanimous and perfectly at ease about
his own reputation. He never showed the slightest anxiety to write his
own memoirs, and he was not in the least alarmed when it was proposed
to publish the memoirs of other people, like General Charles Lee,
which would probably reflect upon him.

He had the same confidence in the judgment of posterity that he had in
the future beyond the grave. He regarded death with entire calmness
and even indifference not only when it came to him, but when in
previous years it had threatened him. He loved life and tasted of it
deeply, but the courage which never forsook him made him ready to face
the inevitable at any moment with an unruffled spirit. In this he was
helped by his religious faith, which was as simple as it was profound.
He had been brought up in the Protestant Episcopal Church, and to that
church he always adhered; for its splendid liturgy and stately forms
appealed to him and satisfied him. He loved it too as the church of
his home and his childhood. Yet he was as far as possible from being
sectarian, and there is not a word of his which shows anything but
the most entire liberality and toleration. He made no parade of his
religion, for in this as in other things he was perfectly simple and
sincere. He was tortured by no doubts or questionings, but believed
always in an overruling Providence and in a merciful God, to whom he
knelt and prayed in the day of darkness or in the hour of triumph with
a supreme and childlike confidence.

       *       *       *       *       *

As I bring these volumes to a close I am conscious that they speak, so
far as they speak at all, in a tone of almost unbroken praise of the
great man they attempt to portray. If this be so, it is because I
could come to no other conclusions. For many years I have studied
minutely the career of Washington, and with every step the greatness
of the man has grown upon me, for analysis has failed to discover
the act of his life which, under the conditions of the time, I could
unhesitatingly pronounce to have been an error. Such has been my
experience, and although my deductions may be wrong, they at least
have been carefully and slowly made. I see in Washington a great
soldier who fought a trying war to a successful end impossible without
him; a great statesman who did more than all other men to lay the
foundations of a republic which has endured in prosperity for more
than a century. I find in him a marvelous judgment which was never at
fault, a penetrating vision which beheld the future of America when it
was dim to other eyes, a great intellectual force, a will of iron,
an unyielding grasp of facts, and an unequaled strength of patriotic
purpose. I see in him too a pure and high-minded gentleman of
dauntless courage and stainless honor, simple and stately of manner,
kind and generous of heart. Such he was in truth. The historian and
the biographer may fail to do him justice, but the instinct of mankind
will not fail. The real hero needs not books to give him worshipers.
George Washington will always hold the love and reverence of men
because they see embodied in him the noblest possibilities of

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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