ePub 版

2. You have conducted the great military contest with wisdom and fortiuude, invariably regarding the rights of the civil power, through all disasters and changes; you have, by the love and confidence of your fellow-citizens, enabled them to display their martial genius, and transmit their fame to posterity ; you have persevered till these United States, aided by a magnani. mous king and nation, have been enabled, under a just Providence, to close the war in freedom, safety, and independence ; on which happy event we sincerely join you in congratulations.

3. Having defended the standard of liberty, in this new world having taught a lesson useful to those who inflict, and to those who feel oppression, you retire froin the great theatre of action, with the blessings of your fellowcitizens; but the glory of your virtues will not terminate with your military command; it will continue to animate remotest ages.

We feel, with you, our obligations to the army in general, and will particularly charge ourselves with the interests of those confidential officers, who have attended your person to this affecting moment.

4. We join with you in commending the interests of our country to the protection of ALMIGHTY GOD, besecching him to dispose the hearts and ininds of its citizens to improve the opportunity afforded them, of becoming a happy and respectable nation; and for you, we address to him our earnest prayers, that a life so beloved, may be fostered with all his care; that your days may be happy as they have been illustrious ; and that he will finally give you that reward which this world cannot give.

Character of Washington. 1. GENERAL WASHINGTON, was in his 68th year when he died. The height of his person was about five feet eleven inches; his chest full ; and his limbs, though rather slender, well shaped and muscular. His head was small, in which respect he resembled the make of a great number of his countrymen. His eyes were of a light grey colour ; and, in proportion to the length of his face, his nose was long. Mr. STUART, the eminent portrait painter, used to say, there were features in his face, totally different from what he had ever observed in that of any other human being; the sockets for the eyes, for instance, were larger than what he ever met with before, and the upper part of the nose broader. All his features he observed, were indicative of the strongest passions ; yet, like SOCRATES, his judgment, and great self-command, have always made him appear a man of a different cast, in the eyes of the world.

2. He always spoke with great diffidence, and sometimes hesitated for a word; but it was always to find one particularly well adapted to his meaning. His language was manly and expressive. At levee, his discourse with strangers turned principally upon the subject of America; and if they had been through any remarkable places, his conversation was free and particularly interesting, for he was intimately acquainted with every part of the country. He was much more open and free in his behaviour at tevee than in private, and in the company of ladies still more so than when solely with men.

3. Few persons ever found themselves for the first time in the presence of General WASHINGTON, without being impressed with a - certain degrerinte

of veneration and awe; por did those emotions subside on a ance on the contrary, his person and deportment were such as rather tended to augment them. The hard service he had seen, the important and Laborious offices he had filled, gave a kind of austerity to his countenance,

and a reserve to his manners; yet he was the kindest husband, the test humane master, the steadiest friend.

4. The whole range of history does not present to our view a character upon which we can dwell with such entire and unmixed admiration. The long life of General WASHINGTON is not stained with a single blot

He was indeed a man of such rare endowments, and such fortunate temperament, that every action he performed was equally exempted from the charge of vice or weakness. Whatever he said or did, or wrote, was stamped with a striking and peculiar propriety. His qualities were so happily blended, and so nicely harmonized, that the result was a great and perfect whole. The powers of his mind, and the dispositions of his heart, were admirably suited to each other. It was the union of the most consummate prudence with the most perfect moderation. His views, though large and liberal, were never extravagant; his virtues, though comprehensive and beneficent, were discriminating, judicious and practical.

5. Yet his character, though regular and uniform, possessed none of the Jittleness, which may sometimes belong to these descriptions of men. It formed a majestic pile, the effect of which was not impaired, but improved, by order and symmetry: There was nothing in it to dazzle by wildness, and surprise by eccentricity. It was of a higher species of moral beauty. It contained every thing great and elevated, but had no false and tinsel aire nament. It was not the model cried by fashion and circumstance ; its eltcellence was adapted to the true and just moral taste, incapable of changi'e from the varying accidents of manners, of opinion and times. General WASHINGTON is not the idol of a day, but the hero of ages!

6. Placed in circumstances of the most difficulty, at the commencement of the American contest, he accepted that situation, which was pre-eminenit in danger and responsibility. His perseverance overcame every obstacle ; his moderation conciliated every opposition; his genius supplied every ru. source; his enlarged view could plan, revise, and improve, every branch of civil and military operation. He had the superiour courage, which can acı, or forbear to act, as true policy dictates, careless of the reproaches of ignorance, either in power, or out of power. He knew how to conquer by waiting, in spite of obloquy, for the moment of victory; and he merited true praise, by despising undeserved censure. In the most arduous moments of the contest, his prudent firmness proved the salvation of the cause which hc supported.

7. His conduct was, on all occasions, guided by the most pure disinterestedness. Far superiour to low grovelling motives, he seemed even to be uninfluenced by that ambition, which has justly been called the instinct of great souls. He acted ever, as if his country's welfare, and that alone, was the moving spring. His excellent mind needed not even the stimulus of ambition, or the prospect of fame. Glory was but a secondary consideration. He performed great actions, he persevered in a course of laborious utility, with an equanimity, that neither sought distinction, nor was flattered by it. His reward was in the consciousness of his own rectitude, and in the success of his patriotic efforts.

8. As the elevation to the chief power was the unbiassed choice of his countrymen, his exercise of it was agreeable to the purity of its origin. As he had neither solicited, nor usurped dominion, he had neither to contend with the opposition of rivals, nor the revenge of enemies. As his authority was undisputed, so it required no jealous precautions, no rigorous severity His government was mild and gentle ; it was beneficent and liberal; it was wise and just. His prudent administration consolidated and enlarged the dominion of an infant Republic. In voluntarily resiguing the magistracy, which he had filled with such distinguished honour, he enjoyed the une qualled satisfaction of leaving to the State, he had contributed to establish, the fruits of his wisdom, and the example of his virtues.

9. It is some consolation, amidst the violence of ambition, and the crimi nal thirst of power, of which so many instances occur around us, to find a character, whom it is honourable to admire, and virtuous to imitate, A conqueror for the freedom of his country ! A Legislator for security! A Magistrate for its happiness! His glories were never sullied by those excesses, into which the highest qualities are apt to degenerate. With the greatest virtues, he was exempt from the corresponding vices. He was a man, in whom the elements were so mixed, that “ Nature might have stood up to all the world," and owned him as her work. His fame, bounded by no country, will be confined to no age. The character of WASHINGTON, which his cotemporaries admire and venerate, will be transmitted to posterity; and the memory of his virtues, while patriotism and virtue are held sacred amorrg men, will remain undiminished.

Tomb of Washington. Mount VERNON, the late residence of our imunortal WASHINGTON, is beautifully situated on the banks of the Potomac, about eight miles below the city of Alexandria. The river glides majestically along, in a meandering course, till it approaches the territory of Washington; here it forns a kind of semi circle, within which, on an elevated ground, stands the mansion of the departed hero. The external appearance of the edifice is by ro ineanis prepossessing; but the spacious apartments, decorated with the most superb furniture, combined with a collection of rare curiosities, excitcd my admiration. My attention was next called to the garden. So great a collection of plants, flowers, and shrubs, I never before witnessed. They were transported from the four quarters of the globe, and seem to vie with each other in fragrance, beauty, and loveliness. Most of the tropical fruits are brought to perfection here, hy the aid of the hot house, which protects them froin the chilling frost of winter

In this little kingdom of vegetables, I could have passed days, nay weeks, pleasantly; but my conductor, eager to show all, leads me to the tomb. Who cari view this interesting spot without dropping a tear of syinpathy over the manes of departed greatness? My conductor removed the double bolt, and forced open the door, which creaked on its turning hinges, as if unwilling to admit a worthless stranger. I entered the solemn silent house. No regularity was visible in the arrangement of the dead ; the coffins were promiscuously heaped together. “ There," said my guide, “is the General”-by his side sleeps the partner of his joys and sorrows beneath, in a more humble posture, (if possible) rests bis aged sire--there, a beloved brother, who had treated him with parental affection. My stay in the dreary bode was short. No insignia, designating the patriot from the lowest branch in the family. From the surface of the tomb I plucked a flowermit was emblematical of the man. It had already faded-its fragrance parted its loveliness vanished. But never, no, never will I forget the sensation it occasioned. The top of the tomb, is covered with grass and trees, of considerable magnitude-the willow weeps the cypress mourns the hemlock sighs, but sighs in vain. Every zephyr wafts a sigh-every stranger drops

In life the patriot preferred the rural field, the solitary shades of Vernon, to the gilded palace. So in death he sleeps in obscurity. No sculptured stone-no monumental brass, tells where the veteran lies. But his name shall live in the memory of every American.

a ear.


Extract from General Washington's Will. 1. llem.- To my dearly beloved wife, Martha IVashinglon, I give and be queath the use, profit, and benefit of my whole estate, real and personal, for the term of her natural life, except such parts thereof, as are specially disposed of hereafter. My improved farm in the town of Alexandria, situated on Pitt and Cameron streets, I give to her, and her heirs forever ; as I also do my household and kitchen furniture, of every sort and kind, with the tiquors and groceries, which may be on hand, at the tiine of my decease, to be used and disposed of, as she may think proper.

2. Item.- To the trustees, governors, or by whatsoever other name they inay be designated, of the academy in the town of Alexandria, I give and bequeath, in trust, 4000 dollars, or in other words, twenty of the shares which I hold in the bank of Alexandria, towards the support of a free school, esit tablished at, and annexed to, the said academy, for the purpose of educatingorphan children, or the children of such other poor and indigent persons, as are unable to accomplish it with theirown means, and who, in the judgment of the trustees of the said seminary, are best entitled to the benefit of this donatiois

3. Whereas it has always been a source of serious regret with me, to se e the youth of these United States sent to foreign countries, for the purpose s of education, often before their minds were formed, or they had imbibed an. adequate ideas of the happiness of their own; contracting, too frequently, not only habits of dissipation, and extravagance, but principles unfriendly t» republican government, and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind, which, thereafter, are rarely overcome. For these reasons, it has been mor. ardent wish, to see a plan devised, on a liberal scale, which would have i tendency to spread systematic ideas, through all parts of this rising empire, thereby to do away local attachinents, and state prejudices, as far as the nature of things would, or indeed ought to admit, from our national councils. Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object, as this is, in my estimation, my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan, more likely to effect the measure, than the establishment of a Univer. sity, in a central part of the United States, to which the youths of fortuns and talents, from all parts thereof, might be sent for the completion of their education, in all the branches of polite literature, in the arts and sciences, in acquiring knowledge in the principles of politics and good government; and, as a matter of infinite importance, in my judgment, by associating with each other, and forming friendships in juvenile years, be enabled to free thenselves, in a proper degree, from those local prejudices, and habitual jea lousies, which have just been mentioned, and which, when carried to ex cess, are never failing sources of disquietude to the public mind, and pres. nant of mischievous consequences to the country. Under these impressions,

4. Item. I give and bequeath, in perpetuity, the fifty shares which I hold in the Potowmac Company, towards the endowment of a University, to be established within the limits of Columbia, under the auspices of the general government; and until such semivary is established, my further will and deşire is, that the profit accruing therefrom, shall be laid out in purchasing stock in the bank of Columbia, or some other bank, at the discretion of my executors ; and the dividends proceeding from the purchase of such stock are to be vested in more stock, and so on, until a sum adequate to the accomplishment of the object is obtained.

5. Item.-The hundred shares which I hold in the James River Company, I have given, and now confirm, in perpetuity, to, and for the use, an benefit of Liberty Hall Academy, in the county of Rockbridge, in the commonwealth of Virginia.

The Defender of his Country, the Founder of Liberty,

History and Tradition are explored in vain for a parallel to his character.

In the annals of modern greatness,

And the noblest names of antiquity lose their lustre in his
presence. Born the Benefactor of Mankind, he
united all the qualities necessary to an

illustrious career. Nature made him great: He made himself virtuous. ('alled by his Country to the defence of her Liberties, he triumphantly vindicated the rights of humanity; and on the pillars of

laid the foundation of a Great

Twice invested with Supreme
Magistracy, by the voice of a Free People,
He surpassed in the Cabinet the glories of the Field;
And voluntarily resigning the sceptre, and the sword, retired
to the shades of private life. A spectacle so new,
and so sublime, was contemplated with the most
profound admiration ; And the name of


Adding new lustre to humanity,
resounded to the remotest regions of the Earth.
Magnanimous in Youth, glorious through Life;
Great in Death; his highest ambition,

His noblest victory,
Bequeathing to posterity the inheritance of his
fame, and building his monument in the
hearts of his countrymen,

The Ornament of the Eighteenth Century:

Regretted by a Mourning World.

[ocr errors]
« 上一頁繼續 »